Dwight Merriam founded Robinson+Cole's Land Use Group in 1978. He represents land owners, developers, governments, and individuals in land use matters. Mr. Merriam is a Fellow and past president of the American Institute of Certified Planners, a former director of the American Planning Association (APA), a former chair of the APA's Planning and Law Division, immediate past chair of the American Bar Association's Section of State and Local Government Law, chair of The Institute for Local Government Studies at The Center for American and International Law, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute's National Advisory Board, a Fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation, a CRE® (Counselor of Real Estate), a member of the Anglo-American Real Property Institute, and a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. He teaches land use law at the University of Connecticut School of Law and at the Vermont Law School and has published over 200 articles and eleven books, including Inclusionary Zoning Moves Downtown, The Takings Issue, The Complete Guide to Zoning, and Eminent Domain Use and Abuse: Kelo in Context. He is the senior co-author of the leading casebook in land use law, Planning and Control of Land Development (Eighth Edition). He also co-authors the blog RLUIPA Defense at www.rluipa-defense.com, a resource for anyone seeking to avoid or defend against claims taken under RLUIPA.
Mr. Merriam is a featured speaker at many land use seminars and presents monthly audio land use seminars for the International Municipal Lawyers Association. He has been cited in the national press, from The New York Times to People magazine, and has appeared on NBC's Today show, MSNBC, and public television.
Mr. Merriam also had a career in the Navy, serving for three tours in Vietnam aboard ship, then returning to be the senior advisor of the Naval ROTC Unit at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where he taught defense administration and military management as an assistant professor in the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in defense administration and military management. He left active duty after 7 years to attend law school but continued for 24 more years as a reserve surface warfare officer with two major commands, including that of reserve commanding officer of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. He retired as a captain in 1999 after 31 years of service.