Published September 20, 2017. Last updated 01:13 p.m., September 19, 2017
Reading the article “PZC Asked to Rescind One-Year Extension to Develop at I-95 Exit 56” in the Sept. 14 issue of The Sound about the challenge to the decision of Branford’s Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) to grant a one-year extension to the 24-month period allowed for achieving an approved site plan for the Exit 56 Planned Development District (PDD), it seems clear that under the most straightforward reading of the regulations, the PDD and its master plan became null and void on July 30 when the 24-month period ended regardless of the PZC’s vote. The regulations define “shall” as “mandatory and not discretionary,” and the PDD section of the regulations state that the master plan “shall become null and void” if a site plan isn’t approved by the 24-month deadline.
What is not clear is why it matters if the PZC has the authority to rescind the vote taken on July 27. The master plan automatically became null and void on July 30; “shall” is mandatory, not discretionary. The PDD no longer exists. The PZC vote is irrelevant, because it contravened the zoning regulations. The PZC and the applicants’ attorney should acknowledge that fact and move on. If the applicants are in fact in a position to submit a site plan that corresponds to the expired master plan and get it approved within the requested one-year time period, they could resubmit the master plan at the same time. The July 27 vote by the PZC suggests that the resubmitted master plan would be approved and a new 24-month clock would start running.