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On March 23, members of the Killingworth Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) attended the biennial Connecticut Land Use Law for Municipal Land Use Agencies, Boards, and Commissions held at the Exley Science Center at Wesleyan University in Middletown. The event is sponsored by the Connecticut Bar Association.
More than a dozen attorneys specializing in land use law volunteered their time to train local officials and staff at the all-day event. The event was coordinated by Atty Mark Branse of Halloran Sage law firm headquartered in Hartford. Branse has organized the event for the past 10 years. This event was a sell out with 379 participants from 101 out of the 169 municipalities in Connecticut. There was an overflow room where the event was televised to accommodate the crowd.
“I look forward to this event to stay current on case law and best practices in land use. Our commission is all volunteer so to receive this level of training is really helpful so we can make good decisions”, said PZC Vice Chairman David Gross.
Each participant receives a text book of recent court decisions and related statutes making for useful case studies of significant issues in land use.
“The members of the planning and zoning section of the Connecticut Bar Association represent all sides of the land use discussion: developers, land use agencies, and concerned residents,” Branse said. “So we want the local land use review process to work for everyone. We know that these local agencies are made up of volunteers, and we want them to understand both their authority and their obligations. We also want staff to understand their functions so that volunteer commissions get the kind of support that they need. The $55 per person that we charge barely covers the printing costs of the 400-plus page book that we hand out. The speakers all donate their time to update the outlines and present their topics, and the section subsidizes other aspect of the program. We appreciate the dedication of local volunteers and staff and we want to help them to be effective. Without the local land use review process, our section members would not have jobs!”
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