Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 5793

Public Act No. 03-131

AN ACT CONCERNING WEST ROCK RIDGE STATE PARK.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 4 of special act 75-80 is amended to read as follows (Effective from passage):

(a) Before any transfer, development or change in use, including proposals for changes in use which necessitate the approval of any state or local board or agency, of real property or interests therein within the above West Rock Ridge conservation area may be undertaken, the owner of such property or interests therein shall first notify in writing, by [registered or] certified mail, return receipt requested, the commissioner of environmental protection of such intention to transfer, develop or change the use of such property. Such notice shall include a description of the property and a price at which the state may purchase the property. Such notice shall be recorded on the land records in the town in which such property is located. For the purposes of this section, "transfer" shall include the selling, leasing or otherwise disposing of such property or any interest therein. No transfer, development or change of use of such property may be entered into except as hereinafter provided. Any development or change of use which occurs, and any purchaser, other than the state, who acquires property within said conservation area without proper notice having been given to the state and without prior waiver by the state of its right to acquire, shall remain subject to the state's right to acquire by eminent domain.

(b) An owner of real property within the boundaries of said conservation area who is under an option, contract or bond for deed to sell, lease or otherwise dispose of such property shall be subject to subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 2. Section 5 of special act 75-80, as amended by section 2 of special act 76-47, is amended to read as follows (Effective from passage):

(a) Within ninety days after such notice has been so given, the commissioner of environmental protection shall give written notice to the property owner by [registered or] certified mail, return receipt requested, of the state's desire to acquire such land and the state shall have the right to acquire the interest, or any mutually agreeable lesser interest, in the land which such property owner has declared his intent to transfer, develop, or change the use thereof, provided such acquisition procedures shall commence within a reasonable time thereof not to exceed two years.

(b) If the commissioner of environmental protection fails to give notice, as provided in subsection (a) of this section, or gives notice to the property owner by [registered or] certified mail, return receipt requested, of the state's desire not to acquire such land, the state shall have waived its right to acquire such land at that time in accordance with the provisions of this act, subject to subsections (d) and (e) of this section. Such waiver of the right to acquire the land shall terminate one hundred eighty days following the expiration of the ninety-day period or following receipt by the property owner of notice of the state's desire not to purchase pursuant to this section. The landowner shall record the state's notice or an affidavit attesting to the state's failure to provide timely notice on the land records of the town in which the property is located.

(c) Within six months after notice has been given by the state, of its desire to acquire such land, as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the property owner shall sell the land to the state, or, if the parties cannot agree upon the amount to be paid therefor, the state may proceed to acquire the land by eminent domain in accordance with the procedure prescribed in section 48-12 of the general statutes.

(d) If the state fails to acquire the land or to file a statement of compensation within two years after notice has been given by the state of its desire to acquire the land, as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the state shall have waived its rights to acquire such land in accordance with the terms of this act, with regard to such transfer, development or change of use, provided any subsequent transfer, development, or change in use shall be subject to the provisions of this act.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of [subsection] subsections (b) and (d) of this section, if the property owner [thereafter] proposes to transfer, develop or change the use upon terms different than those described in its notice to the state or at a price less than the price contained in the notice to the state, such property owner shall first notify the commissioner of environmental protection of such proposal, in the manner provided in subsection (a) of this section, and the terms of such proposed transfer or development, and the state shall have the option to acquire such land upon such terms and may thereupon, in the same manner and within the same time limitations as are provided in subsections (a) to (c), inclusive, of this section, proceed to acquire such land.

Sec. 3. Section 6 of special act 75-80 is amended to read as follows (Effective from passage):

The failure to send any notice in writing required under sections 4 and 5 of [this act by registered or] special act 75-80, as amended by this act, by certified mail, return receipt requested, shall not constitute noncompliance with the provisions of said sections if such failure is waived by the addressee either expressly or by such addressee's actions evidencing receipt of such written notice.

Sec. 4. Section 7 of special act 75-80 is amended to read as follows (Effective from passage):

[(a) A copy of each notice required by sections 4 and 5 of this act shall be sent by the party giving such notice to the town clerk of the municipality in which the land is situated and such town clerk shall make all such notices part of the appropriate land records. ]

(a) The failure to [send] record on the land records the notice or affidavit required under [this subsection] sections 4 and 5 of special act 75-80, as amended by this act, may be cured at any time by the state or the property owner, provided any third party purchasing such real property, or any interest therein, where a copy of the notice has not been filed in the appropriate town clerk's office shall have the right to maintain any legal or equitable action against the party failing to file the required notice in the town clerk's office.

[(b) The secretary of the state shall direct the town clerk of the municipality in which the land is situated to record notice of this act in the appropriate land records within thirty days from the effective date of this act. ]

(b) No state or municipal board or agency may approve any application for development, transfer or change in use for any land governed by this special act unless the applicant provides copies of the notices or affidavit required pursuant to sections 4 and 5 of special act 75-80, as amended by this act.

(c) Any person who develops, transfers or changes the use of, including obtaining approval from a state or local board or agency for a change in use of any property in the West Rock Ridge conservation area without complying with the notice provisions of subsection (a) of section 4 of special act 75-80, as amended by this act, shall be liable for a civil penalty (1) in the case of a development or change in use, in an amount equivalent to three times the difference between the fair market value of such property immediately prior to any development, change in use or approval for a change in use occurring prior thereto, whichever is earlier, and the present fair market value of such property, or (2) in the case of a transfer of such property, in an amount equivalent to twenty-five per cent of the consideration for such transfer. The Attorney General at the request of the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, shall bring an action in the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford to enforce the provisions of this subsection and any such action shall have precedence in the order of trial as provided in section 52-191 of the general statutes.

Sec. 5. Section 4 of special act 79-92 is amended to read as follows (Effective from passage):

(a) Before any transfer, development or change in use, including proposals for changes in use which necessitate the approval of any state or local board or agency, of real property or interests therein within the above West Rock Ridge conservation area supplement may be undertaken, the owner of such property or interests therein shall first notify in writing, by [registered or] certified mail, return receipt requested, the commissioner of environmental protection of such intention to transfer, develop or change the use of such property. Such notice shall include a description of the property and a price at which the state may purchase the property. Such notice shall be recorded on the land records in the town in which such property is located. For the purposes of this section, "transfer" shall include the selling, leasing or otherwise disposing of such property or any interest therein. No transfer, development or change of use of such property may be entered into except as hereinafter provided. Any development or change of use which occurs, and any purchaser, other than the state, who acquires property within said conservation area without proper notice having been given to the state and without prior waiver by the state of its right to acquire, shall remain subject to the state's right to acquire by eminent domain.

(b) An owner of real property within the boundaries of said conservation area supplement who is under an option, contract or bond for deed to sell, lease or otherwise dispose of such property shall be subject to subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 6. Section 5 of special act 79-92 is amended to read as follows (Effective from passage):

(a) Within ninety days after such notice has been so given, the commissioner of environmental protection shall give written notice to the property owner by [registered or] certified mail, return receipt requested, of the state's desire to acquire such land and the state shall have the right to acquire the interest, or any mutually agreeable lesser interest, in the land which such property owner has declared his intent to transfer, develop, or change the use thereof, provided such acquisition procedures shall commence within a reasonable time thereof not to exceed two years.

(b) If the commissioner of environmental protection fails to give notice, as provided in subsection (a) of this section, or gives notice to the property owner by [registered or] certified mail, return receipt requested, of the state's desire not to acquire such land, the state shall have waived its right to acquire such land at that time in accordance with the provisions of this act, subject to subsections (d) and (e) of this section. Such waiver of the right to acquire the land shall terminate one hundred eighty days following the expiration of the ninety-day period or following receipt by the property owner of notice of the state's desire not to purchase pursuant to this section. The landowner shall record the state's notice, or an affidavit attesting to the state's failure to provide timely notice, on the land records of the town in which the property is located.

(c) Within six months after notice has been given by the state, of its desire to acquire such land, as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the property owner shall sell the land to the state, or, if the parties cannot agree upon the amount to be paid therefor, the state may proceed to acquire the land by eminent domain in accordance with the procedure prescribed in section 48-12 of the general statutes.

(d) If the state fails to acquire the land or to file a statement of compensation within two years after notice has been given by the state of its desire to acquire the land, as provided in subsection (a) of this section, the state shall have waived its rights to acquire such land in accordance with the terms of this act, with regard to such transfer, development or change of use, provided any subsequent transfer, development, or change in use shall be subject to the provisions of this act.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of [subsection] subsections (b) and (d) of this section, if the property owner [thereafter] proposes to transfer, develop or change the use upon terms different than those described in its notice to the state or at a price less than the price contained in the notice to the state, such property owner shall first notify the commissioner of environmental protection of such proposal, in the manner provided in subsection (a) of this section, and the terms of such proposed transfer or development, and the state shall have the option to acquire such land upon such terms and may thereupon, in the same manner and within the same time limitations as are provided in subsections (a) to (c), inclusive, of this section proceed to acquire such land.

Sec. 7. Section 6 of special act 79-92 is amended to read as follows (Effective from passage):

The failure to send any notice in writing, required under sections 4 and 5 of [this act by registered or] special act 79-92, as amended by this act, by certified mail, return receipt requested, shall not constitute noncompliance with the provisions of said sections if such failure is waived by the addressee either expressly or by such addressee's actions evidencing receipt of such written notice.

Sec. 8. Section 7 of special act 79-92 is amended to read as follows (Effective from passage):

[(a) A copy of each notice required by sections 4 and 5 of this act shall be sent by the party giving such notice to the town clerk of the municipality in which the land is situated and such town clerk shall make all such notices part of the appropriate land records. ]

(a) The failure to [send] record on the land records the notice or affidavit required under [this subsection] sections 4 and 5 of special act 79-92, as amended by this act, may be cured at any time by the state or the property owner, provided any third party purchasing such real property, or any interest therein, where a copy of the notice has not been filed in the appropriate town clerk's office shall have the right to maintain any legal or equitable action against the party failing to file the required notice in the town clerk's office.

[(b) The secretary of the state shall direct the town clerk of the municipality in which the land is situated to record notice of this act in the appropriate land records within thirty days from the effective date of this act. ]

(b) No state or municipal board or agency may approve any application for development, transfer or change in use for any land governed by this special act unless the applicant provides copies of the notices or affidavit required pursuant to sections 4 and 5 of special act 79-92, as amended by this act.

(c) Any person who develops, transfers or changes the use of, including obtaining approval from a state or local board or agency for a change in use, any property in the West Rock Ridge conservation area supplement without complying with the notice provisions of subsection (a) of section 4 of special act 79-92, as amended by this act, shall be liable for a civil penalty (1) in the case of a development or change in use, in an amount equivalent to three times the difference between the fair market value of such property immediately prior to any development change in use or approval for a change in use occurring prior thereto whichever is earlier, and the present fair market value of such property, or (2) in the case of a transfer of such property, in an amount equivalent to twenty-five per cent of the consideration for such transfer. The Attorney General at the request of the Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall bring an action in the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford to enforce the provisions of this subsection and any such action shall have precedence in the order of trial as provided in section 52-191 of the general statutes.

Sec. 9. Section 23-9b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) The Commissioner of Environmental Protection shall review the West Rock Ridge conservation area established in special act 75-80, as amended by special acts 76-47 and 77-49, as amended by this act, and the West Rock Ridge conservation area supplement established in special act 79-92, as amended by this act, and shall designate, within said areas, certain parcels for priority acquisition by the state.

(b) The commissioner shall cause to be recorded on the land records of the appropriate town for each such priority parcel a notice of the requirements and restrictions on such parcels contained in special act 75-80, as amended by special acts 76-47 and 77-49 and special act 79-92, as amended by this act, including the requirement that each owner of any such property notify the commissioner of any transfer, development or change in use, including proposals for a change in use which necessitate the approval of any state or local board or agency. On or before ninety days after such recordation, the commissioner shall send, by registered mail, return receipt requested, a copy of the notice, together with a statement as to where the notice was filed, to the property owner at his last-known address.

[(c) The owner of any land within the West Rock Ridge conservation area or the West Rock Ridge conservation area supplement may satisfy the notice requirements contained in special act 75-80, as amended by special acts 76-47 and 77-49, or special act 79-92, by sending a notice in writing, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the commissioner of such owner's intention to transfer, develop or change the use of such property. Prior to any transfer, development or change in use of the property, the owner shall certify in writing that he has sent such notice to the commissioner and shall include in such certification the return receipt of such notice by the commissioner. Such certification shall be filed on the land records of the appropriate town together with any documentation of such transfer, development or change in use.

(d) No state or municipal board or agency may approve any application for development, transfer or change in use for any real property located within the West Rock Ridge conservation area or the West Rock Ridge conservation area supplement unless the applicant provides the certification required under subsection (c) of this section.

(e) Any person who develops, transfers or changes the use of, including obtaining approval from a state or local board or agency for a change in use, any priority property for which the commissioner has recorded notice in accordance with subsection (b) of this section, without complying with the notice and certification provisions of subsection (c) of this section, shall be liable for a civil penalty: (1) In the case of a development or change in use, an amount equivalent to three times the difference between the fair market value of such property immediately prior to any development, change in use or approval for a change in use occurring prior thereto, whichever is earlier, and the present fair market value of such property, or (2) in the case of a transfer of such property, an amount equivalent to five per cent of the consideration for such transfer. The Attorney General, at the request of the Commissioner of Environmental Protection, shall bring an action in the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford to enforce the provisions of this subsection and any such action shall have precedence in the order of trial as provided in section 52-191. ]

Approved June 26, 2003