Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 1024

Public Act No. 03-177

AN ACT CONCERNING CONSISTENCY IN MUNICIPAL LAND USE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW PROCESSES.

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

Section 1. Subsection (a) of section 8-3 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

(a) Such zoning commission shall provide for the manner in which regulations under section 8-2 or 8-2j and the boundaries of zoning districts shall be respectively established or changed. No such regulation or boundary shall become effective or be established or changed until after a public hearing in relation thereto, held by a majority of the members of the zoning commission or a committee thereof appointed for that purpose consisting of at least five members. [, at which parties in interest and citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard. Notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be published in the form of a legal advertisement appearing in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in such municipality at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days nor less than ten days, and the last not less than two days, before such hearing, and a] Such hearing shall be held in accordance with the provisions of section 8-7d, as amended by this act. A copy of such proposed regulation or boundary shall be filed in the office of the town, city or borough clerk, as the case may be, in such municipality, but, in the case of a district, in the offices of both the district clerk and the town clerk of the town in which such district is located, for public inspection at least ten days before such hearing, and may be published in full in such paper. [In addition to such notice, such zoning commission may, by regulation, provide for notice by mail to persons who are owners of land which is included in or adjacent to the land which is the subject of the hearing. ] The commission may require a filing fee to be deposited with the commission to defray the cost of publication of the notice required for a hearing.

Sec. 2. Section 8-3b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

When the zoning commission of any municipality proposes to establish or change a zone or any regulation affecting the use of a zone any portion of which is within five hundred feet of the boundary of another municipality located within the area of operation of a regional planning agency, the zoning commission shall give written notice of its proposal to the regional planning agency or agencies of the region in which it and the other municipality are located. [not later than thirty-five days before the public hearing to be held in relation thereto. ] Such notice shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested not later than thirty days before the public hearing to be held in relation thereto. The regional planning agency shall study such proposal and shall report its findings and recommendations thereon to the zoning commission at or before the hearing, and such report shall be [read aloud at the hearing] made a part of the record of such hearing. The report of any regional planning agency of any region that is contiguous to Long Island Sound shall include findings and recommendations on the environmental impact of the proposal on the ecosystem and habitat of Long Island Sound. If such report of the regional planning agency is not submitted at or before the hearing, it shall be presumed that such agency does not disapprove of the proposal. A regional planning agency receiving such a notice may transmit such notice to the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management or his designee for comment. The planning agency may designate its executive committee to act for it under this section or may establish a subcommittee for the purpose. The report of said planning agency shall be purely advisory.

Sec. 3. Subsection (b) of section 8-3c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

(b) The zoning commission or combined planning and zoning commission of any municipality shall hold a public hearing on an application or request for a special permit or special exception, as provided in section 8-2, and on an application for a special exemption under section 8-2g. Such hearing shall be held in accordance with the provisions of section 8-7d, as amended by this act. The commission shall not render a decision on the application until the inland wetlands agency has submitted a report with its final decision to such commission. In making its decision the zoning commission shall give due consideration to the report of the inland wetlands agency. [Notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be published in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in such municipality at least twice, at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days, nor less than ten days, and the last not less than two days before the date of such hearing. In addition to such notice, such zoning commission may, by regulation, provide for notice by mail to persons who are owners of land which is adjacent to the land which is the subject of the hearing. At such hearing any party may appear in person and may be represented by agent or by attorney. ] Such commission shall decide upon such application or request within the period of time permitted under section 8-7d, as amended by this act. Whenever a commission grants or denies a special permit or special exception, it shall state upon its records the reason for its decision. Notice of the decision of the commission shall be published in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the municipality and addressed by certified mail to the person who requested or applied for a special permit or special exception, by its secretary or clerk, under his signature in any written, printed, typewritten or stamped form, within fifteen days after such decision has been rendered. In any case in which such notice is not published within such fifteen-day period, the person who requested or applied for such special permit or special exception may provide for the publication of such notice within ten days thereafter. Such permit or exception shall become effective upon the filing of a copy thereof (1) in the office of the town, city or borough clerk, as the case may be, but, in the case of a district, in the offices of both the district clerk and the town clerk of the town in which such district is located and (2) in the land records of the town in which the affected premises are located, in accordance with the provisions of section 8-3d.

Sec. 4. Section 8-7 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

The concurring vote of four members of the zoning board of appeals shall be necessary to reverse any order, requirement or decision of the official charged with the enforcement of the zoning regulations or to decide in favor of the applicant any matter upon which it is required to pass under any bylaw, ordinance, rule or regulation or to vary the application of the zoning bylaw, ordinance, rule or regulation. An appeal may be taken to the zoning board of appeals by any person aggrieved or by any officer, department, board or bureau of any municipality aggrieved and shall be taken within such time as is prescribed by a rule adopted by said board, or, if no such rule is adopted by the board, within thirty days, by filing with the zoning commission or the officer from whom the appeal has been taken and with said board a notice of appeal specifying the grounds thereof. The officer from whom the appeal has been taken shall forthwith transmit to said board all the papers constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken. An appeal shall not stay any such order, requirement or decision which prohibits further construction or expansion of a use in violation of such zoning regulations except to such extent that the board grants a stay thereof. An appeal from any other order, requirement or decision shall stay all proceedings in the action appealed from unless the zoning commission or the officer from whom the appeal has been taken certifies to the zoning board of appeals after the notice of appeal has been filed that by reason of facts stated in the certificate a stay would cause imminent peril to life or property, in which case proceedings shall not be stayed, except by a restraining order which may be granted by a court of record on application, on notice to the zoning commission or the officer from whom the appeal has been taken and on due cause shown. [Such board shall, within the period of time permitted under section 8-7d, hear such appeal and give due notice thereof to the parties. Notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be published in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in such municipality at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days, nor less than ten days, and the last not less than two days before such hearing. In addition to such notice, such board may, by regulation, provide for notice by mail to persons who are owners of land which is adjacent to the land which is the subject of the hearing. At such hearing any party may appear in person and may be represented by agent or by attorney. ] The board shall hold a public hearing on such appeal in accordance with the provisions of section 8-7d, as amended by this act. Such board may reverse or affirm wholly or partly or may modify any order, requirement or decision appealed from and shall make such order, requirement or decision as in its opinion should be made in the premises and shall have all the powers of the officer from whom the appeal has been taken but only in accordance with the provisions of this section. Whenever a zoning board of appeals grants or denies any special exception or variance in the zoning regulations applicable to any property or sustains or reverses wholly or partly any order, requirement or decision appealed from, it shall state upon its records the reason for its decision and the zoning bylaw, ordinance or regulation which is varied in its application or to which an exception is granted and, when a variance is granted, describe specifically the exceptional difficulty or unusual hardship on which its decision is based. Notice of the decision of the board shall be published in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the municipality and addressed by certified mail to any person who appeals to the board, by its secretary or clerk, under his signature in any written, printed, typewritten or stamped form, within fifteen days after such decision has been rendered. In any case in which such notice is not published within such fifteen-day period, the person who requested or applied for such special exception or variance or took such appeal may provide for the publication of such notice within ten days thereafter. Such exception or variance shall become effective upon the filing of a copy thereof (1) in the office of the town, city or borough clerk, as the case may be, but, in the case of a district, in the offices of both the district clerk and the town clerk of the town in which such district is located and (2) in the land records of the town in which the affected premises are located, in accordance with the provisions of section 8-3d.

Sec. 5. Section 8-7d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

(a) [Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, in] In all matters wherein a formal petition, application, request or appeal must be submitted to a zoning commission, planning and zoning commission, [or] zoning board of appeals under this chapter, planning commission under chapter 126 or inland wetlands agency under chapter 440 and a hearing is required or otherwise held on such petition, application, request or appeal, such hearing shall commence within sixty-five days after receipt of such petition, application, request or appeal and shall be completed within thirty-five days after such hearing commences, unless a shorter period of time is required under this chapter or chapter 126 or 440. Notice of the hearing shall be published in a newspaper having a general circulation in such municipality where the land that is the subject of the hearing is located at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days, nor less than ten days, and the last not less than two days before the date set for the hearing. In addition to such notice, such commission, board or agency may, by regulation, provide for notice to persons who own or occupy land that is adjacent to the land that is the subject of the hearing. All applications and maps and documents relating thereto shall be open for public inspection. At such hearing any person or persons may appear and be heard and may be represented by agent or by attorney. All decisions on such matters shall be rendered within sixty-five days after completion of such hearing unless a shorter period of time is required pursuant to this chapter, chapter 126 or chapter 440. The petitioner or applicant may consent to one or more extensions of any period specified in this subsection, provided the total extension of [any] all such [period] periods shall not be for longer than [the original period as specified in this subsection] sixty-five days, or may withdraw such petition, application, request or appeal.

(b) [Whenever] Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, whenever the approval of a site plan is the only requirement to be met or remaining to be met under the zoning regulations for any building, use or structure, a decision on an application for approval of such site plan shall be rendered within sixty-five days after receipt of such site plan. Whenever a decision is to be made on an application for subdivision approval under chapter 126 on which no hearing is held, such decision shall be rendered within sixty-five days after receipt of such application. Whenever a decision is to be made on an inland wetlands and watercourses application under chapter 440 on which no hearing is held, such decision shall be rendered within sixty-five days after receipt of such application. The applicant may consent to one or more extensions of such period, provided the total period of any such extension or extensions shall not exceed [two further sixty-five-day periods,] sixty-five days or may withdraw such plan or application.

(c) For purposes of subsection (a) or (b) of this section and section 13 of this act, the [day] date of receipt of a petition, application, request or appeal shall be the day of the next regularly scheduled meeting of such commission, [or] board or agency, immediately following the day of submission to such [board or] commission, board or agency or its agent of such petition, application, request or appeal or thirty-five days after such submission, whichever is sooner. If the commission, [or] board or agency does not maintain an office with regular office hours, the office of the clerk of the municipality shall act as the agent of such commission, [or] board or agency for the receipt of any petition, application, request or appeal.

(d) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to any action initiated by any zoning or planning and zoning commission regarding adoption or change of any zoning regulation or boundary.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, if an application involves an activity regulated pursuant to sections 22a-36 to 22a-45, inclusive, as amended by this act, and the time for a decision by a zoning commission or planning and zoning commission established pursuant to this section would elapse prior to the thirty-fifth day after a decision by the inland wetlands agency, the time period for a decision shall be extended to thirty-five days after the decision of such agency. The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to apply to any extension consented to by an applicant or petitioner.

(f) The zoning commission, planning commission, zoning and planning commission, zoning board of appeals or inland wetlands agency shall notify the clerk of any adjoining municipality of the pendency of any application, petition, appeal, request or plan concerning any project on any site in which: (1) Any portion of the property affected by a decision of such commission, board or agency is within five hundred feet of the boundary of the adjoining municipality; (2) a significant portion of the traffic to the completed project on the site will use streets within the adjoining municipality to enter or exit the site; (3) a significant portion of the sewer or water drainage from the project on the site will flow through and significantly impact the drainage or sewerage system within the adjoining municipality; or (4) water runoff from the improved site will impact streets or other municipal or private property within the adjoining municipality. Such notice shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall be mailed within seven days of the date of receipt of the application, petition, request or plan. Such adjoining municipality may, through a representative, appear and be heard at any hearing on any such application, petition, appeal, request or plan.

Sec. 6. Subsection (a) of section 8-25 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

(a) No subdivision of land shall be made until a plan for such subdivision has been approved by the commission. Any person, firm or corporation making any subdivision of land without the approval of the commission shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars for each lot sold or offered for sale or so subdivided. Any plan for subdivision shall, upon approval, or when taken as approved by reason of the failure of the commission to act, be filed or recorded by the applicant in the office of the town clerk within ninety days of the expiration of the appeal period under section 8-8, or in the case of an appeal, within ninety days of the termination of such appeal by dismissal, withdrawal or judgment in favor of the applicant but, if it is a plan for subdivision wholly or partially within a district, it shall be filed in the offices of both the district clerk and the town clerk, and any plan not so filed or recorded within the prescribed time shall become null and void, except that the commission may extend the time for such filing for two additional periods of ninety days and the plan shall remain valid until the expiration of such extended time. All such plans shall be delivered to the applicant for filing or recording not more than thirty days after the time for taking an appeal from the action of the commission has elapsed or not more than thirty days after the date that plans modified in accordance with the commission's approval and that comply with section 7-31 are delivered to the commission, whichever is later, and in the event of an appeal, not more than thirty days after the termination of such appeal by dismissal, withdrawal or judgment in favor of the applicant or not more than thirty days after the date that plans modified in accordance with the commission's approval and that comply with section 7-31 are delivered to the commission, whichever is later. No such plan shall be recorded or filed by the town clerk or district clerk or other officer authorized to record or file plans until its approval has been endorsed thereon by the chairman or secretary of the commission, and the filing or recording of a subdivision plan without such approval shall be void. Before exercising the powers granted in this section, the commission shall adopt regulations covering the subdivision of land. No such regulations shall become effective until after a public hearing [, notice of the time, place and purpose of which shall be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality at least twice, at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days nor less than ten days, and the last not less than two days prior to the date of such hearing] held in accordance with the provisions of section 8-7d, as amended by this act. Such regulations shall provide that the land to be subdivided shall be of such character that it can be used for building purposes without danger to health or the public safety, that proper provision shall be made for water, sewerage and drainage, including the upgrading of any downstream ditch, culvert or other drainage structure which, through the introduction of additional drainage due to such subdivision, becomes undersized and creates the potential for flooding on a state highway, and, in areas contiguous to brooks, rivers or other bodies of water subject to flooding, including tidal flooding, that proper provision shall be made for protective flood control measures and that the proposed streets are in harmony with existing or proposed principal thoroughfares shown in the plan of conservation and development as described in section 8-23, especially in regard to safe intersections with such thoroughfares, and so arranged and of such width, as to provide an adequate and convenient system for present and prospective traffic needs. Such regulations shall also provide that the commission may require the provision of open spaces, parks and playgrounds when, and in places, deemed proper by the planning commission, which open spaces, parks and playgrounds shall be shown on the subdivision plan. Such regulations may, with the approval of the commission, authorize the applicant to pay a fee to the municipality or pay a fee to the municipality and transfer land to the municipality in lieu of any requirement to provide open spaces. Such payment or combination of payment and the fair market value of land transferred shall be equal to not more than ten per cent of the fair market value of the land to be subdivided prior to the approval of the subdivision. The fair market value shall be determined by an appraiser jointly selected by the commission and the applicant. A fraction of such payment the numerator of which is one and the denominator of which is the number of approved parcels in the subdivision shall be made at the time of the sale of each approved parcel of land in the subdivision and placed in a fund in accordance with the provisions of section 8-25b. The open space requirements of this section shall not apply if the transfer of all land in a subdivision of less than five parcels is to a parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle or first cousin for no consideration, or if the subdivision is to contain affordable housing, as defined in section 8-39a, equal to twenty per cent or more of the total housing to be constructed in such subdivision. Such regulations, on and after July 1, 1985, shall provide that proper provision be made for soil erosion and sediment control pursuant to section 22a-329. Such regulations shall not impose conditions and requirements on manufactured homes having as their narrowest dimension twenty-two feet or more and built in accordance with federal manufactured home construction and safety standards or on lots containing such manufactured homes which are substantially different from conditions and requirements imposed on single-family dwellings and lots containing single-family dwellings. Such regulations shall not impose conditions and requirements on developments to be occupied by manufactured homes having as their narrowest dimension twenty-two feet or more and built in accordance with federal manufactured home construction and safety standards which are substantially different from conditions and requirements imposed on multifamily dwellings, lots containing multifamily dwellings, cluster developments or planned unit developments. The commission may also prescribe the extent to which and the manner in which streets shall be graded and improved and public utilities and services provided and, in lieu of the completion of such work and installations previous to the final approval of a plan, the commission may accept a bond in an amount and with surety and conditions satisfactory to it securing to the municipality the actual construction, maintenance and installation of such improvements and utilities within a period specified in the bond. Such regulations may provide, in lieu of the completion of the work and installations above referred to, previous to the final approval of a plan, for an assessment or other method whereby the municipality is put in an assured position to do such work and make such installations at the expense of the owners of the property within the subdivision. Such regulations may provide that in lieu of either the completion of the work or the furnishing of a bond as provided in this section, the commission may authorize the filing of a plan with a conditional approval endorsed thereon. Such approval shall be conditioned on (1) the actual construction, maintenance and installation of any improvements or utilities prescribed by the commission, or (2) the provision of a bond as provided in this section. Upon the occurrence of either of such events, the commission shall cause a final approval to be endorsed thereon in the manner provided by this section. Any such conditional approval shall lapse five years from the date it is granted, provided the applicant may apply for and the commission may, in its discretion, grant a renewal of such conditional approval for an additional period of five years at the end of any five-year period, except that the commission may, by regulation, provide for a shorter period of conditional approval or renewal of such approval. Any person, firm or corporation who, prior to such final approval, sells or offers for sale any lot subdivided pursuant to a conditional approval shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars for each lot sold or offered for sale.

Sec. 7. Section 8-26 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

All plans for subdivisions and resubdivisions, including subdivisions and resubdivisions in existence but which were not submitted to the commission for required approval, whether or not shown on an existing map or plan or whether or not conveyances have been made of any of the property included in such subdivisions or resubdivisions, shall be submitted to the commission with an application in the form to be prescribed by it. The commission shall have the authority to determine whether the existing division of any land constitutes a subdivision or resubdivision under the provisions of this chapter, provided nothing in this section shall be deemed to authorize the commission to approve any such subdivision or resubdivision which conflicts with applicable zoning regulations. Such regulations may contain provisions whereby the commission may waive certain requirements under the regulations by a three-quarters vote of all the members of the commission in cases where conditions exist which affect the subject land and are not generally applicable to other land in the area, provided that the regulations shall specify the conditions under which a waiver may be considered and shall provide that no waiver shall be granted that would have a significant adverse effect on adjacent property or on public health and safety. The commission shall state upon its records the reasons for which a waiver is granted in each case. The commission may establish a schedule of fees and charge such fees. The amount of the fees shall be sufficient to cover the costs of processing subdivision applications, including, but not limited to, the cost of registered or certified mailings and the publication of notices, and the costs of inspecting subdivision improvements. Any schedule of fees established under this section shall be superseded by fees established by ordinance under section 8-1c. The commission may hold a public hearing regarding any subdivision proposal if, in its judgment, the specific circumstances require such action. No plan of resubdivision shall be acted upon by the commission without a public hearing. [Notice of the public hearing shall be given by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days, nor less than ten days, and the last not less than two days prior to the date of such hearing, and by sending a copy thereof by registered or certified mail to the applicant. In addition to such notice, such commission may, by regulation, provide for notice by mail to persons who are owners of land which is adjacent to the land which is the subject of the hearing. ] Such public hearing shall be held in accordance with the provisions of section 8-7d, as amended by this act. The commission shall approve, modify and approve, or disapprove any subdivision or resubdivision application or maps and plans submitted therewith, including existing subdivisions or resubdivisions made in violation of this section, within the period of time permitted under section 8-26d, as amended by this act. Notice of the decision of the commission shall be published in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the municipality and addressed by certified mail to any person applying to the commission under this section, by its secretary or clerk, under his signature in any written, printed, typewritten or stamped form, within fifteen days after such decision has been rendered. In any case in which such notice is not published within such fifteen-day period, the person who made such application may provide for the publication of such notice within ten days thereafter. Such notice shall be a simple statement that such application was approved, modified and approved or disapproved, together with the date of such action. The failure of the commission to act thereon shall be considered as an approval, and a certificate to that effect shall be issued by the commission on demand. The grounds for its action shall be stated in the records of the commission. No planning commission shall be required to consider an application for approval of a subdivision plan while another application for subdivision of the same or substantially the same parcel is pending before the commission. For the purposes of this section, an application is not "pending before the commission" if the commission has rendered a decision with respect to such application and such decision has been appealed to the Superior Court. If an application involves land regulated as an inland wetland or watercourse under the provisions of chapter 440, the applicant shall submit an application to the agency responsible for administration of the inland wetlands regulations no later than the day the application is filed for the subdivision or resubdivision. The commission shall not render a decision until the inland wetlands agency has submitted a report with its final decision to such commission. In making its decision the commission shall give due consideration to the report of the inland wetlands agency. In making a decision on an application, the commission shall consider information submitted by the applicant under subsection (b) of section 8-25 concerning passive solar energy techniques. The provisions of this section shall apply to any municipality which exercises planning power pursuant to any special act.

Sec. 8. Section 8-26b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

Whenever a subdivision of land is planned, the area of which will abut or include land in two or more municipalities one or both of which are within a region or regions having a regional planning agency or agencies, the planning commission, where one exists, of each such municipality shall, before approving the plan, [submit it] give written notice of such subdivision plan to the regional planning agency or agencies of the region in which it or the other municipality is located. Such notice shall be made by certified mail, return receipt requested not later than thirty days before the public hearing to be held in relation thereto. A regional planning agency receiving such [report] notice shall, [within thirty days,] at or before the hearing report to each such planning commission and to the proponent of such subdivision on its findings on the intermunicipal aspects of the proposed subdivision, including street layout, storm drainage, sewer and water service and such other matters as it considers appropriate. If such report of a regional planning agency is not submitted, [within thirty days after transmittal] at or before the hearing, it shall be presumed that such agency does not disapprove of the proposed subdivision. A regional planning agency may designate its executive committee to act for it under this section or it may establish a subcommittee for the purpose. The report of such regional planning agency shall be purely advisory.

Sec. 9. Section 8-26d of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

[(a)] In all matters wherein a formal application, request or appeal is submitted to a planning commission under this chapter [and a hearing is held on such application, request or appeal, such hearing shall commence within sixty-five days after receipt of such application, request or appeal and shall be completed within thirty-five days after such hearing commences. All decisions on such matters shall be rendered within sixty-five days after completion of such hearing. The applicant may consent to one or more extensions of any period specified in this subsection, provided the total extension of any such period shall not be for longer than the original period as specified in this subsection, or may withdraw such application, request or appeal] all public hearings shall be held and all decisions made in accordance with the provisions of section 8-7d, as amended by this act.

[(b) A decision on an application for subdivision approval, on which no hearing is held, shall be rendered within sixty-five days after receipt of such application. The applicant may consent to one or more extensions of such period, provided the total period of any such extension or extensions shall not exceed sixty-five days.

(c) For purposes of subsection (a) or (b) of this section, the receipt of an application, request or appeal shall be the day of the next regularly scheduled meeting of such commission or board, immediately following the day of submission to such board or commission or its agent of such application, request or appeal or thirty-five days after such submission, whichever is sooner. If the commission or board does not maintain an office with regular office hours, the office of the clerk of the municipality shall act as the agent of such commission or board for the receipt of any application, request or appeal.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, if an application involves an activity regulated pursuant to sections 22a-36 to 22a-45, inclusive, and the time for a decision by a planning commission established pursuant to this section would elapse prior to the thirty-fifth day after a decision by the inland wetlands, the time period for a decision shall be extended to thirty-five days after the decision of such agency. The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed to apply to any extension consented to by an applicant. ]

Sec. 10. Section 8-26e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

The planning commission of any municipality shall hold a public hearing on an application or request for a special permit or special exception, as provided in section 8-2. [Notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be published in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in such municipality at least twice, at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days, nor less than ten days, and the last not less than two days before the date of such hearing. In addition to such notice, such planning commission may, by regulation, provide for notice by mail to persons who are owners of land which is adjacent to the land which is the subject of the hearing. At such hearing any party may appear in person and may be represented by agent or by attorney. ] Any such public hearing shall be held in accordance with the provisions of section 8-7d, as amended by this act. Such commission shall decide upon such application or request within the period of time permitted under section 8-26d, as amended by this act. Whenever a commission grants or denies a special permit or special exception, it shall state upon its records the reason for its decision. Notice of the decision of the commission shall be published in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the municipality and addressed by certified mail to the person who requested or applied for a special permit or special exception, by its secretary or clerk, under his signature in any written, printed, typewritten or stamped form, within fifteen days after such decision has been rendered. In any case in which such notice is not published within such fifteen-day period, the person who requested or applied for such a special permit or special exception may provide for the publication of such notice within ten days thereafter. Such permit or exception shall become effective upon the filing of a copy thereof (1) in the office of the town, city or borough clerk, as the case may be, but, in the case of a district, in the offices of both the district clerk and the town clerk of the town in which such district is located, and (2) in the land records of the town in which the affected premises are located, in accordance with the provisions of section 8-3d.

Sec. 11. Subsection (b) of section 22a-42a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

(b) No regulations of an inland wetlands agency including boundaries of inland wetland and watercourse areas shall become effective or be established until after a public hearing in relation thereto is held by the inland wetlands agency. [, at which parties in interest and citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard. Notice of the time and place of such hearing shall be published in the form of a legal advertisement, appearing in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the municipality at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days nor less than ten days, and the last not less than two days, before such hearing, and a] Any such hearing shall be held in accordance with the provisions of section 8-7d, as amended by this act. A copy of such proposed regulation or boundary shall be filed in the office of the town, city or borough clerk as the case may be, in such municipality, for public inspection at least ten days before such hearing, and may be published in full in such paper. A copy of the notice and the proposed regulations or amendments thereto, except determinations of boundaries, shall be provided to the commissioner at least thirty-five days before such hearing. Such regulations and inland wetland and watercourse boundaries may be from time to time amended, changed or repealed, by majority vote of the inland wetlands agency, after a public hearing in relation thereto is held by the inland wetlands agency, [at which parties in interest and citizens shall have an opportunity to be heard and for which notice shall be published in the manner specified in this subsection] in accordance with the provisions of section 8-7d, as amended by this act. Regulations or boundaries or changes therein shall become effective at such time as is fixed by the inland wetlands agency, provided a copy of such regulation, boundary or change shall be filed in the office of the town, city or borough clerk, as the case may be. Whenever an inland wetlands agency makes a change in regulations or boundaries it shall state upon its records the reason why the change was made and shall provide a copy of such regulation, boundary or change to the Commissioner of Environmental Protection no later than ten days after its adoption provided failure to submit such regulation, boundary or change shall not impair the validity of such regulation, boundary or change. All petitions submitted in writing and in a form prescribed by the inland wetlands agency, requesting a change in the regulations or the boundaries of an inland wetland and watercourse area shall be considered at a public hearing [in the manner provided for establishment of inland wetlands regulations and boundaries within ninety days after receipt of such petition. The inland wetlands agency shall act upon the changes requested in such petition within sixty days after the hearing. The petitioner may consent to one or more extensions of the periods specified in this subsection for the holding of the hearing and for action on such petition, provided the total extension of any such period shall not be for longer than the original period as specified in this subsection, or may withdraw such petition] held in accordance with the provisions of section 8-7d, as amended by this act. The failure of the inland wetlands agency to act within any time period specified in this subsection, or any extension thereof, shall not be deemed to constitute approval of the petition.

Sec. 12. Subsection (c) of section 22a-42a of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date):

(c) (1) On and after the effective date of the municipal regulations promulgated pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, no regulated activity shall be conducted upon any inland wetland or watercourse without a permit. Any person proposing to conduct or cause to be conducted a regulated activity upon an inland wetland or watercourse shall file an application with the inland wetlands agency of the town or towns wherein the wetland or watercourse in question is located. The application shall be in such form and contain such information as the inland wetlands agency may prescribe. The date of receipt of an application shall be [the day of the next regularly scheduled meeting of such inland wetlands agency, immediately following the day of submission to such inland wetlands agency or its agent of such application, provided such meeting is no earlier than three business days after receipt, or thirty-five days after such submission, whichever is sooner] determined in accordance with the provisions of subsection (c) of section 8-7d, as amended by this act. The inland wetlands agency shall not hold a public hearing on such application unless the inland wetlands agency determines that the proposed activity may have a significant impact on wetlands or watercourses, a petition signed by at least twenty-five persons requesting a hearing is filed with the agency not later than fourteen days after the date of receipt of such application, or the agency finds that a public hearing regarding such application would be in the public interest. An inland wetlands agency may issue a permit without a public hearing provided no petition provided for in this subsection is filed with the agency on or before the fourteenth day after the date of receipt of the application. Such hearing shall be held [no later than sixty-five days after the receipt of such application. Notice of the hearing shall be published at least twice at intervals of not less than two days, the first not more than fifteen days and not fewer than ten days, and the last not less than two days before the date set for the hearing in a newspaper having a general circulation in each town where the affected wetland or watercourse, or any part thereof, is located. All applications and maps and documents relating thereto shall be open for public inspection. At such hearing any person or persons may appear and be heard. The hearing shall be completed within forty-five days of its commencement. Action shall be taken on such application within thirty-five days after the completion of a public hearing or in the absence of a public hearing within sixty-five days from the date of receipt of such application. The applicant may consent to one or more extensions of the periods specified in this subsection for the holding of the hearing and for action on such application, provided the total extension of any such period shall not be for longer than the original period as specified in this subsection, or may withdraw such application] in accordance with the provisions of section 8-7d, as amended by this act. If the inland wetlands agency, or its agent, fails to act on any application within thirty-five days after the completion of a public hearing or in the absence of a public hearing within sixty-five days from the date of receipt of the application, or within any extension of any such period as provided in section 8-7d, as amended by this act, the applicant may file such application with the Commissioner of Environmental Protection who shall review and act on such application in accordance with this section. Any costs incurred by the commissioner in reviewing such application for such inland wetlands agency shall be paid by the municipality that established or authorized the agency. Any fees that would have been paid to such municipality if such application had not been filed with the commissioner shall be paid to the state. The failure of the inland wetlands agency or the commissioner to act within any time period specified in this subsection, or any extension thereof, shall not be deemed to constitute approval of the application.

(2) An inland wetlands agency may delegate to its duly authorized agent the authority to approve or extend an activity that is not located in a wetland or watercourse when such agent finds that the conduct of such activity would result in no greater than a minimal impact on any wetland or watercourse provided such agent has completed the comprehensive training program developed by the commissioner pursuant to section 22a-39. Notwithstanding the provisions for receipt and processing applications prescribed in subdivision (1) of this subsection, such agent may approve or extend such an activity at any time. Any person receiving such approval from such agent shall, within ten days of the date of such approval, publish, at the applicant's expense, notice of the approval in a newspaper having a general circulation in the town wherein the activity is located or will have an effect. Any person may appeal such decision of such agent to the inland wetlands agency within fifteen days after the publication date of the notice and the inland wetlands agency shall consider such appeal at its next regularly scheduled meeting provided such meeting is no earlier than three business days after receipt by such agency or its agent of such appeal. The inland wetlands agency shall, at its discretion, sustain, alter or reject the decision of its agent or require an application for a permit in accordance with subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of this section.

Sec. 13. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003, and applicable to applications filed on or after said date) (a) Whenever an application or request is made to a water pollution control authority or sewer district for (1) a determination of the adequacy of sewer capacity related to a proposed use of land, (2) approval to hook up to a sewer system at the expense of the applicant, or (3) approval of any other proposal for waste water treatment or disposal at the expense of the applicant, the water pollution control authority or sewer district shall make a decision on such application or request within sixty-five days from the date of receipt, as defined in subsection (c) of section 8-7d of the general statutes, as amended by this act, of such application or request. The applicant may consent to one or more extensions of such period, provided the total of such extensions shall not exceed sixty-five days.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of the general statutes, an appeal may be taken from an action of a water pollution control agency or sewer district pursuant to subsection (a) of this section in accordance with section 8-8 of the general statutes.

Sec. 14. (Effective October 1, 2003) Sections 8-3h, 8-7b, 8-7e, 8-26f, 22a-42b and 22a-42c of the general statutes are repealed.

Approved June 26, 2003