For zoning enforcement officers: No more triple damages

The Connecticut Legislature passed a bill the governor is expected to sign that will eliminate civil and triple damages against zoning enforcement officials (ZEOs). By eliminating the penalty, the bill returns ZEOs to the same liability exposure as other municipal officials and employees should a court find that the ZEO acted improperly.

“I’m really excited,” said Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein. “This has been one of our region’s main legislative priorities this year.”

Weston State Rep. John Shaban (R-135) proposed, help draft and supported the bill throughout the legislative process. Mr. Shaban and Ms. Weinstein, as well as Weston P&Z Commissioner Britta Lerner, testified in front of the legislature’s Planning and Development committee to voice their support of the bill and to suggest improvements to the original draft.

“I’ve heard from numerous town executives and ZEOs in my district and around the state calling for the repeal of this double standard because it has had a chilling effect on our ZEOs’ ability and willingness to do their jobs,” Mr. Shaban said. “I am happy my legislative colleagues and I were able to work in a bipartisan manner to make the necessary fix.”

“We strongly believe that Zoning Enforcement Officers should not be subject to an additional penalty that is not applied to building inspectors, sanitarians, or wetland enforcement officers,” Ms. Weinstein said in her testimony to the committee earlier this year.

Both Mr. Shaban and Ms. Weinstein agreed the repeal of the current law will improve towns’ ability to manage zoning.

Editor Kimberly Donnelly

contributed to this story.

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