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Striking a Balance in Connecticut between Economic Growth and Environmental Protection: A Tale of Two Towns and the Yale Farm Golf Course

Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, Volume 5, No.1

Winter/Fall 2005

Danielle McGrath Braun is the author of an article titled, "Striking a Balance in Connecticut between Economic Growth and Environmental Protection." An excerpt from the article is featured below:

In Connecticut, wetlands mitigation is authorized by the wetlands statute. In fact, Connecticut General Statutes Section 22a-41(a)(4) “provides a hierarchy of considerations for reviewing issues of mitigation: measures to (A) prevent or minimize pollution or other environmental damage, (B) maintain or enhance existing environmental quality, or (C) in the following order of priority: Restore, enhance and create productive wetland or watercourse resources.”[45] Despite allowing wetlands mitigation, the hierarchical structure indicates that mitigation in general, and specifically the creation or restoration of wetlands, is certainly not preferred.[46]

Both towns approved Yale Farm’s mitigation plan to create new onsite wetlands to compensate for the wetlands that would be destroyed in the building process. The agencies presumably balanced the interests of development and preservation, determined that no prudent and feasible alternative existed to the proposed action, and approved the plan.

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[45] Branhaven Plaza, L.L.C. v. Inland Wetlands Comm’n of the Town of Branford, 740 A.2d 847, 854 (Conn. 1999); CONN. GEN. STAT. § 22a-41 (2003).

[46] See Branhaven Plaza, 740 A.2d at 855. In fact, the Connecticut Supreme Court has held that “the creation of wetlands is preferentially lower than all other types of mitigating measures, perhaps, in part, because of the uncertainty associated with the creation and restoration of wetlands.” Id.

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