Evan Seeman concentrates his practice in land use and zoning, real property litigation, and municipal law. He is a member of the firm’s Real Estate + Development Group, and he represents developers, landowners, municipalities, corporations, and advocacy groups.
Land Use – Zoning
Evan advises clients on meeting requirements for land development and coastal management development, and securing the necessary municipal and state permits to do so. He routinely appears before municipal land use agencies and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). He also works with planning professionals, and is the immediate past Chair of the Planning and Law Division of the American Planning Association.
Most recently, Evan successfully argued before the Connecticut Appellate Court a zoning appeal involving a planning and zoning commission's issuance of a special permit to a Greenwich, Connecticut food pantry serving those less fortunate. Evan also successfully argued in Superior Court on behalf of the fourth oldest lighthouse in the United States to permit public tours as a legally permitted non-conforming use. Evan previously represented applicants in contested administrative hearings before DEEP hearing officers for coastal development projects and received favorable judgments. He represented a municipality and obtained the dismissal of an injunction action brought by neighboring property owners who were contesting municipal approval of a 130,000-square-foot ground mounted solar array system to generate energy for a local elementary school. He also represented an applicant and obtained dismissal of a zoning appeal challenging the re-zoning and special permit approved for youth baseball fields. Evan has been involved in dozens of administrative appeals.
Real Property Litigation
Evan handles most other real property disputes. He recently represented a commercial landlord in prosecuting action for monetary damages against a Fortune 500 tenant and negotiated a favorable settlement. Evan also represents clients in cases involving inverse condemnation, easements, restrictive covenants, quiet title actions, First Amendment and equal protection issues, landlord/tenant disputes, and real property tax appeals.
Evan represents property owners in eminent domain matters, challenging both the condemning authority’s right to take property and the authority’s compensation for the property. He previously served as an affiliate member of the Owners Counsel of America, a national network of condemnation lawyers protecting private property rights. Evan represented a landowner whose plans for a mixed-use development were thwarted when part of his land was condemned by a state agency. He was part of a team that tried the case and obtained nearly double the amount of damages assessed by the agency (almost $400,000 more in damages). He also has experience in advising condemning authorities in the eminent domain process.
Religious Land Use Litigation
Evan defends municipalities nationwide in cases involving the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). He advises municipalities on religious land use issues by:
• Revising municipal zoning codes to comply with RLUIPA;
• Counseling municipal land use agencies during the zoning
application process to avoid or mitigate potential liability; and
• Defending municipalities in RLUIPA litigation in federal court.
Evan has been involved in RLUIPA cases across the country concerning the permitting of a mosque, a rabbinical college, cemetery, and other religious uses. Evan also has experience representing religious institutions. He frequently speaks and writes about RLUIPA, and he writes for the firm’s widely acclaimed RLUIPA Defense blog.
Evan has been selected as a Rising Star in the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2013 to 2020. He was recognized in the Connecticut Law Tribune’s 2016 New Leaders in the Law Yearbook, and he was the firm’s 2014 Pro Bono Award recipient. Before joining the firm he clerked for the Honorable F. Herbert Gruendel of the Connecticut Appellate Court.