Figarsky v. Historic District Commission

368 A.2d 163 (1976)

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Figarsky v. Historic District Commission

Connecticut Supreme Court
368 A.2d 163 (1976)

  • Written by Galina Abdel Aziz , JD

Facts

The city of Norwich, Connecticut established the Norwich historic district in 1967. Abraham A. Figarsky and his wife (plaintiffs) owned an unoccupied, dilapidated two-story building zoned for commercial use inside the district. The city’s building inspector ordered the Figarskys to repair the building, but the Figarskys wanted to demolish the building. The Figarskys applied for a demolition permit, but the building inspector told the Figarskys that they would need a certificate of appropriateness first. The Figarskys applied to the Historic District Commission (the commission) (defendant) for the certificate. The commission held a public hearing, but of the more than 100 attendees, only the Figarskys and their lawyer argued that the application should be granted. The commission also received opinions from several people who said that the Figarskys’ property was important to maintaining the character of the historic district because it separated the town green from the commercial district. The Figarskys offered testimony that the total cost of repairing the building would be prohibitive at between $15,000 and $18,000. The commission unanimously denied the application. The Figarskys appealed to the Court of Common Pleas, which dismissed the appeal. The Figarskys then appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court, alleging that the inability to demolish their building would force them to suffer economic hardship and loss in maintaining the property and that the denial of the certificate of appropriateness thus amounted to a taking of their property for public use without just compensation. The Figarskys also argued that the commission’s denial of their application was illegal, arbitrary, and an abuse of discretion.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Barber, J.)

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