[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Clinton 3-22-2014. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to establish penalties for violations of Clinton Zoning Regulations, to enable the Zoning Enforcement Officer (the ZEO) to issue citations for the types of zoning violations hereinafter specified, and to establish a citation hearing procedure in accordance with C.G.S. §§ 8-12a and 7-152c.
The owner or agent of any building or premises where a violation of any provision of the regulations under § 265-2 above has been committed or exists, or the lessee or tenant of an entire building or entire premises where such violation has been committed or exists, or the owner, agent, lessee or tenant of any part of the building or premises in which such violation has been committed or exists, or the agent, architect, builder, contractor or any other person who commits, takes part or assists in any such violation and/or who maintains any building or premises in which any such violation exists, shall be issued a citation for such violation in accordance with the procedures herein.
In those instances where the ZEO deems that there is time to do so and where the ZEO determines that a continuing violation is not causing immediate or significant harm, a written warning in the form of a notice of violation shall be sent prior to issuing the citation sent by regular mail and certified return receipt. In the case where a notice of violation is sent to a party other than the owner of the property, then a copy of the notice may be sent to the owner of the property as shown on the Town's Assessor's field card.
Such notice of violation shall provide:
Details of the specific violation.
Instructions on how to remedy the violation.
A ten-day period of abatement within which no fine shall accrue.
That the alleged violator may contest his liability at a hearing before a hearing officer by delivering, in person or by mail, written notice of such intent within 10 days of the date of notice of violation to said violator.
If the violation continues after the period of abatement specified within the notice of violation, a citation may be issued in accordance with the provisions herein.
A violation of the same character that is repeated within 24 months after the notice of violation is deemed a continuing violation and a new citation may be issued without a new notice of violation.
No fine imposed under the authority of this section may exceed $150 for each day a violation continues.
In addition to the imposition of a fine, the ZEO may take such other enforcement action as the circumstances warrant.
The alleged violator shall be responsible for reporting, in writing, subsequent compliance to the ZEO. Until such time, the fine(s) shall continue to be imposed on a daily basis.
For any violation that is not timely abated or is a continuing violation, a citation may be issued by the ZEO, which shall contain the following:
The detail of the unabated or continuing violation.
The amount of the fine due.
The fine shall accrue on a daily basis from two days following the date of the citation, and the citation shall so state.
That the alleged violator may contest his liability at a hearing before a hearing officer by delivering, in person or by mail, written notice of such intent within 10 days of the date of citation to said violator.
That if the alleged violator does not demand such a hearing, an assessment and judgment shall be entered against him.
That such judgment may issue without further notice.
The citation shall be sent by both certified mail and regular USPS mail.
If the alleged violator or other person to whom a citation has been sent pursuant to § 265-6 above wishes to admit liability for any alleged violation, he may, without requesting a hearing, pay the full amount of the fine in person or by mail to the Zoning Enforcement Officer at the Land Use Office.
Any alleged violator or other person who does not deliver or mail a written demand for a hearing to the Clinton Land Use Office within 10 days of the date of the citation provided in § 265-6 above shall be deemed to have admitted liability, and the Zoning Enforcement Officer shall certify such person's failure to respond to the hearing officer.
The First Selectman of the Town of Clinton shall appoint one or more citation hearing officers, who shall be other than police officers or employees or persons who issue citations, to conduct the hearings authorized by this section.
No ZEO, building inspector or employee of the municipal body exercising zoning authority may be appointed to be a hearing officer.
Any person who requests a hearing shall be given written notice of the date, time and place for the hearing.
Such hearing shall be held not less than 15 days nor more than 30 days from the date of the mailing of such notice, provided that the hearing officer shall grant, upon good cause shown, any reasonable request by an interested party for postponement or continuance.
An original or certified copy of the initial notice of violation issued by a police officer or other issuing officer shall be filed and retained by the Town, shall be deemed to be a business record within the scope of C.G.S. § 52-180 and evidence of the facts contained therein.
The presence of the Zoning Enforcement Officer shall be required at the hearing if such person so requests.
The alleged violator or other person wishing to contest liability shall appear at the hearing and may present evidence in his behalf. The hearing officer may accept from such alleged violator copies of documents by mail and may determine thereby that the appearance of such person is unnecessary. If the alleged violator fails to appear, the hearing officer may enter an assessment of the fine by default against him upon a finding of proper notice and liability under this chapter.
The Zoning Enforcement Officer, or his designated representative other than the hearing officer, may present evidence on behalf of the Zoning Enforcement Officer.
The hearing officer shall conduct the hearing in the order and form and with such methods of proof as he deems fair and appropriate. The rules regarding the admissibility of evidence shall not be strictly applied, but all testimony shall be given under oath or affirmation.
The hearing officer shall announce his decision at the end of the hearing. If he determines that the alleged violator or other person is not liable, he shall dismiss the matter and enter his determination in writing accordingly. If he determines that the person is liable for the violation, he shall forthwith enter and assess the fine against such person as provided by this chapter.
If such fine assessment is not paid on the date of its entry, the hearing officer shall:
Send by first-class mail a notice of the fine assessment to the person found liable; and
Shall file, not less than 30 days nor more than 12 months after such mailing, a certified copy of the notice of fine assessment with the Clerk of the Superior Court for the Judicial District of Middlesex, together with an entry fee of $8.
The certified copy of the notice of fine assessment shall constitute a record of the fine assessment.
Within such twelve-month period, fine assessments against the same person may be accrued and filed as one record of fine assessment.
The Clerk of the Court shall enter judgment in the amount of such record of fine assessment and court costs of $8 against such person in favor of the Town.
Notwithstanding any other provision of the General Statutes, the hearing officer's fine assessment, when so entered as a judgment, shall have the effect of a civil money judgment and a levy of execution on such judgment may issue without further notice to such person.
The person against whom an assessment has been entered pursuant to this chapter is entitled to judicial review by way of appeal.
An appeal shall be instituted within 30 days of the mailing of notice of such fine assessment by filing a petition to reopen the fine assessment, together with an entry fee in an amount equal to the entry fee for a small claims case pursuant to C.G.S. § 52-259, in the Superior Court for the Judicial District of Middlesex, which shall entitle such person to a hearing in accordance with the rules of the judges of the Superior Court.
All monies received pursuant to the procedure set forth herein shall be payable to the treasurer of the Town of Clinton.