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A Landmark Ruling On Property Inspections

Connecticut Supreme Court clarifies procedure by zoning enforcement officers

Connecticut Law Tribune

March 12, 2012

Authors: Christopher J. Smith

Guest commentary, by Christopher Smith, featured in the Connecticut Law Tribune.

In a landmark decision released Feb. 14, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that when a zoning enforcement officer desires to inspect a property for possible zoning violations and is denied access by the owner, the enforcement officer must seek a court order which can only issue after the officer establishes “probable cause” at a hearing before the Superior Court. The court ruled that Connecticut General Statute Section 8-12, Connecticut’s zoning enforcement statute, is not invalid on its face and does not violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but also held that any court order permitting an inspection of real property must satisfy all constitutional requirements.

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