Brian Smith concentrates his practice in land use and real estate matters, and he handles litigation related to these topics. He is the chair of the firm's LandLaw Section.
Land Use - Zoning
Brian represents municipalities, developers, and neighbors in land use, planning, wetland, and coastal resources issues. He regularly appears before local land use and wetland boards and commissions in Connecticut, and before state and federal permitting agencies, in order to help his clients gain the necessary approvals for their projects. He is a co-author of Public Access to the New York Shoreline and has appeared in a number of matters on behalf of clients concerning coastal areas and shoreline protection.
Brian has worked as lead counsel in obtaining land use approvals for hospitals, higher educational facilities, retail centers, factories, and performing arts venues. As lead counsel, he helped a Connecticut hospital obtain all permits and approvals it needed to build a 310,000-square-foot addition, including a new helicopter landing pad and expanded parking garage.Brian also handles land use matters related to environmental conservation. For example, he represents a land trust, which he has helped to preserve open space and protect Bald Eagle nesting sites near the Connecticut River.
Brian handles land use matters that result in litigation, such as appeals of land use boards’ decisions. He has served as lead counsel in numerous trials and appeals, involving permits, approvals and denials. He also handles litigation involving eminent domain, title disputes and disputes between landlords and tenants.
He successfully defended a Connecticut town after a developer sued it over the denial of its application for a large-scale affordable housing project. Four related cases went all the way to the Connecticut Supreme Court, and ultimately the litigation was resolved when the developer pursued a more modest development instead. He also has over two decades of experience representing public health agencies on various issues, including enforcing lead abatement issues in court.
For more than three years, Brian worked on a pro bono basis to help St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich, Inc., a ministry of Norwich, Connecticut's Roman Catholic Diocese, in its efforts to provide free food through its soup kitchen and food pantry. He negotiated a settlement that allowed the organization to remain open and continue helping the needy in the Norwich area.
Brian has lectured regularly on the topic of affordable housing, land use, coastal protection and roads and highways. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Hartford, where he teaches entertainment law. Brian has an extensive background in land use, having worked in planning for Saratoga County, New York, and the City of Eugene, Oregon, prior to becoming an attorney.