[HISTORY: Adopted by the Representative Town Meeting of the Town of Branford as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the purpose of this article to provide for the levying of unit benefit assessments upon land and/or buildings in the Town of Branford which are benefited by the extension of water mains which are funded, in whole or in part, by the Town of Branford. When appropriating funds for the extension of water mains and levying assessments for such extensions, the procedures herein set forth shall be followed.
The Branford Representative Town Meeting shall act on water assessments on the recommendation of the Branford Water Commission.
For the purpose of this article, the following terms shall be defined as follows:
- COMMERCIAL USE
- Any use of a structure as a place for the exchange of commodities, services or commercial recreation activities.
- DWELLING UNIT
- A building, or portion thereof, providing housekeeping facilities for one family.
- INDUSTRIAL OR RESEARCH LABORATORY USE
- Any use of a structure as a place to manufacture, fabricate, repair, build, package, assemble, store, demolish, process or transform the quality or state of any goods.
- OFFICE USE
- Any use of a structure as a place where a business is transacted or service is supplied, including medical offices and laboratories visited by clients/patients.
- RESIDENTIAL USE
- A use of any structure as the living quarters of any person or group of persons.
Word usage. Whenever herein used and the context so permits, the singular shall be construed to include the plural and the masculine or neuter shall be construed to include both and the feminine gender; and each owner or owners and their respective heirs, successors and assigns shall be jointly and severally bound.
Before the Representative Town Meeting shall appropriate any funds to extend or cause to be extended any water mains, at least 10 days' written notice of the proposed extension shall be given by mail to each known owner or owners of any land or buildings upon which the cost of such water mains may be assessed and of the time and place when objections to such extension shall be heard. Notice shall also be published not less than 10 days prior to such meeting in a newspaper with a circulation within the Town of Branford. Such notice shall generally outline the scope of the construction project and shall inform such property owner or owners that he will be required to make payment to the Town of Branford for his equitable share of the cost of such water main extension and that such owner or owners may have to pay to the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority for connection to or use of such water main.
Any owner or owners of lands or buildings which abut such main shall reimburse the Town of Branford his proportionate share as determined in accordance with this article; except that where the Town of Branford and the Commissioner of Environmental Protection concur that the need for such extension is in response to a community pollution problem as defined by Section 22a-423 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Town of Branford may waive such reimbursement.
All costs shall be proportioned in such a way as to ultimately leave the Town of Branford free of any cost of the extension of the water main and expenses incidental thereto except where any portion of such water service is to be used for a municipal purpose, in which instance the municipality shall contribute a fair portion of the expense representing such municipal share. In the case of land zoned for other than commercial or industrial purposes or classified as farmland, forest land or open space land on the last completed Grand List of the Town of Branford, which exceeds by more than 100% the size of the smallest lot permitted in the lowest density residential zone allowed under the Town of Branford Zoning Regulations, such assessment shall be deferred until such time as such land shall be built upon or a certificate of occupancy is issued, whichever event occurs first. The Town of Branford shall place a caveat on the land records in each instance where an assessment is deferred.
Subject to reasonable allowances by the Representative Town Meeting for particular situations, the number of units recovered from each piece or parcel of land abutting said water main shall be determined as follows:
Residential uses. One unit shall be recovered from each dwelling unit.
Office uses. A minimum of one unit shall be recovered from each office structure. An additional unit shall be recovered for each additional increment of 5,000 square feet or portion thereof of office floor space located in that structure.
Commercial uses. A minimum of one unit shall be recovered from each commercial structure. An additional unit shall be recovered for each additional increment of 5,000 square feet or portion thereof of commercial floor space located in that structure.
Industrial uses. A minimum of one unit shall be recovered from each industrial unit located in a structure utilized for industrial use. An additional unit shall be recovered for each additional increment of 7,500 square feet or portion thereof of industrial floor space located in any individual industrial use in that structure.
Open space or farmland uses. Any parcel that has been designated as open space or farmland on the Grand List shall not be considered as a unit as long as it is so designated. When this designation is no longer in effect, the piece or parcel of land shall be assessed benefits in conformance with the procedures set forth herein.
If any parcel is developed with a multiple use (commercial-residential or office-residential), then the units to be recovered from that parcel shall be the total of the units derived in conformance with the procedures for each individual use.
Such shares shall represent a reasonable proportion of the total cost of such water mains, including but not limited to materials, installations, pumping stations, service connections, curb, sidewalk and highway repairs and the cost of installation of gate-valves or shutoff, if any.
If residential or agricultural property or property zoned for residential or agricultural use abuts lines of construction of water mains to be used for industrial or commercial purposes or partly for industrial or commercial purposes, and such property is not being used for such purposes, the proportionate share of the owners of such property shall be computed on a front-foot basis for a standard or minimum size main.
Subject to reasonable allowances by the Representative Town Meeting, the basis for unit charges will be the lesser of the benefits that accrue to the property by the installation of a water main; or the quotient derived by dividing the total cost to be recovered by the total number of units abutting such a main and subject to this article; provided, however, that the Town of Branford will be left free from any cost of the extension of the water main unless provided otherwise by this article.
The owner of real property subject to such a water main assessment shall be liable for and shall be billed for payment of such assessment. Such assessment, together with interest thereon, as defined by the Connecticut General Statutes, shall constitute a lien upon the property being assessed, and such lien may be foreclosed, and such charges may be collected in the manner provided in Section 7-137d of the Connecticut General Statutes and such other statutes which are applicable.
Notice of assessment.
When the Representative Town Meeting has determined the amount of assessment to be levied, whether installment payments shall be permitted and the rate of interest on the outstanding balance of said installments, it shall file a copy thereof in the office of the Town Clerk.
Not later than 45 days after the filing by the Representative Town Meeting of its assessment with the Town Clerk, the Branford Tax Collector shall cause a copy of such assessment to be published in a newspaper having a circulation in the Town, and it shall mail a copy of such assessment to the owner of any property as of the most recent Grand List affected thereby. Said assessment shall be mailed to the owner's address as shown in the last completed Grand List of the Town.
Installment payments or assessments. The Representative Town Meeting may allow assessments to be paid in installments over a period not exceeding 20 years or such lesser period as the Representative Town Meeting shall determine. The Branford Representative Town Meeting shall fix the rate of interest to be paid on the outstanding balance of said installments. Any such interest charge shall not exceed the maximum rate the Town is obligated to pay on any of its then pending bonds and notes.
Interest payments. Any installment payment due upon any such assessment and any interest on the outstanding balance of such assessment which is not paid when due shall bear interest, until paid, at the maximum rate, from time to time, permitted by law for unpaid property taxes.
Collection. The water main assessment shall be collected by the Tax Collector of the Town of Branford.
This article may be amended by the Representative Town Meeting from time to time and at any time as it deems necessary subject to the Charter of the Town of Branford and the statutes of the State of Connecticut.