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DOCKET NO. AANCV 1860268398 SUPERIOR. COURT HUSH IT UP, LLC | JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF ANSONIA/ v. | MILFORD PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION ‘AT MILFORD sp OF THE CITY OF SHELTON | Ss 5/8/2019 = ' : 1. FACTS, 2 2 The plaintiff, Hush It Up, LLC, appeals the decision of the defendant, the Plannigg aid a Zoning Commission of the city of Shelton (commission) denying the plaintiff's applicaf¥8n for the development of a “speakeasy” theme café. ‘The plaintifi'is the sublessor of commercial real property located in a Restricted Business District (RBD) zone at 303 Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton, Connecticut (property). In April of 2016, the plaintiff applied to the Ligio Control Division of the Connecticut Department of, Consumer Protection for a café liquor permit for the property. In its application, the plaintiff indicated that the property would be used as a bar/eafé with entertainment. On April 13, 2016, Richard D. Schultz, Jr. (Schultz), the: lanning and Zoning Administrator for Shelton, reviewed | the plaintiff’s application and, upon finding that the zoning ordinances and bylaws do not prohibit the types of entertainment listed in the plainti’s application, approved the application for a liquor license. Liquor Control, thereafter, approved the plaintiff's application and issued a liquor permit on April 6, 2017, and ghanted permission for acoustics, DJs, bans, karaoke, plays/shows and comedians. The plaintiff then leased the property and spent in excess of $100,000 on rent, improvements, anf other business-related expenses between April 1, 2017, and December 1, 2017. On October 31, 2017, the pplicant and owner of the proposed business, Randi-Lee | England (applicant), submitted to ali an application (#2304) for a certificate of zoning hy ia] CFB. Apt) Teadesi Salk Mice ag Sry fla fagotto compliance. This application included a statement of use that described the proposed use as a “1920s Speakeasy Bat Theme.” On November 7, 2017, Schulz sent letter te the applicant denying her application for cenit of zoning compliance, concluding that the statement of use indicated that the proposed use constitutes a “Speakeasy activity,” which is a prohibited use | under the regulations. On November [ 2017, the applicant filed a revised application for a | included an addendum to the statement df use (#2318). In | the addendum, the applicant explained that her proposed use of the property does not constitute a certificate of zoning compliance that Prohibition-era speakeasy that assy serves alcoholic beverages. Instead, she argued that the Hl property's proposed use is a speakeasy theme café, operating under its café Tgur permit issued \ by Liquor Control that will include Ieeal DJs, acoustics, comedians and other live music ans and plays/shows. In the addendum, the atplican also explained that the decor, atmiosphere and theme of the property will be a 1920s speakeasy, meaning that it will take on the appearance of a Prohibition era speakeasy where hostesses will wear flapper costumes to invoke the style of that era, The addendum also provides th the applicant is aware that an “adult ovinted business” is prohibited in an RBD zone. The anpljean stated in the addendum that the property would not be used for any form of “adult oriented business” that the regulations prohibit, including an “adult entertainment business,” an “ “ceessoly adult use,” an “adult cabaret,” or an “adult personal service establishment.” Thereafter, Shultz placed the applicants revised application on the \ | commission’s agenda, | | | ion heard the matter regarding the revised. application on December The zoning commis 19, 2017. At the meeting, the plaintiff's counsel provided the following relevant information | l before the commission. The plaintiftappied fora iquor permit for an establishment in the style i of a speakeasy, which, by today’s acon, is legal. The plaintiff's counsel reiterated the description ofthe proposed use for the property as described in the addendum to the statement of use and explained that it is not an “a oriented business” in any form and that there is nothing in the regulations that prohibits a “sppakeasy” theme café. The plaintiff's counsel also explained that he was in no position to address the parking and occupancy concems raised in the fire rarshal’s report to the commission bhsause he had not been provided with the report prior tothe meeting. i Several of the commissione1 pressed concems regarding the proposed use and also discussed issues of parking and occupancy that were raised in the fire marshal’s report: One } commissioner read the December 6, 2017 letter from the fire marshal, where it was stated that the maximum occupancy for the property is approximately fifty customers. Based on this occupancy estimate, the fre marshal expressed doncerns about possibly inadequate parking and concluded that he did not approve of the plaints application for zoning compliance. The commission also i provided copies of a petition signed by town residents demonstrating their opposition to the application. Neither the fire marshal’ report nor the petition were provided to the plaintif's counsel prior to the meeting and the plaintiffs counsel asked that the commission hold the matter open after the conclusion of the meeting to allow the plaintiff an opportunity to address the fire marshal’s letter and the petition; this request was denied, The commission also expressed its concerns that the proposed use on the liquor permit constituted a “theatre,” or possibly a “nightclub,” which are prohibited uscs under the regulations. The plaintiff stated that the statement of use and the addendum did not provide that the proposed use would be for a theater or anightelub. Additionally, the plaintiff's counsel stated during the meeting that it was never