Denial of Self-Storage Permit Called an "Abuse of Power"

Posted by Modern Storage Media on Mar 15, 2024 2:58:42 PM

There have been numerous moratoriums proposed or placed on self-storage in the Northeast lately, but one denial in Bridgeport, Connecticut is being called "an abuse of power."


In August 2021, Hugh Scott and his Simcove corporation purchased a shuttered Stop & Shop supermarket on Madison Avenue for $4 million. Scott then submitted an application to the city for a special permit to renovate the structure for self-storage. He stated that the facility would beautify the blighted property and have the least impact on the surrounding residential neighborhood compared to other commercial/retail options.


stop & shopHowever some area residents, along with current and retired state legislators, City Council members, and Mayor Joe Ganim, opposed the plan as unsuitable for the area. Following a public hearing last May 30, the zoning board voted 4 - 2 to deny the special permit.


In response, Patricia Sullivan, the lawyer for Simcove, filed an appeal to Superior Court calling that decision "illegal, unlawful, arbitrary, capricious and/or an abuse of the power and authority vested in the commission." 


"The appellant met all of the requirements of the regulations for the approval of the application and the issuance of a special permit," states the appeal.


Yesterday, March 14, the case went in front of Superior Court Judge Dale Radcliffe. Judge Radcliffe repeatedly questioned how city officials could oppose a project that is permitted under city zoning regulations over an alternative proposal for housing that isn’t. Associate City Attorney Russell Liskov, representing the Bridgeport Planning and Zoning Commission, struggled to come up with an answer.


Judge Radcliffe also questioned why Mayor Joseph Ganim supported housing for that same area. “He’s [the mayor] saying put something there the zoning regulations wouldn’t permit and get public money to do it instead of a permitted [self-storage] project that would cost no public money,” Radcliffe said.


Following a hearing. Judge Radcliffe reserved decision on whether to overturn the commission’s ruling.