Brian Smith

Brian R. Smith

Partner

Brian R. Smith

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    Brian R. Smith, chair of the firm's LandLaw Section, concentrates his practice in land use and real estate as well as in litigation concerning these topics. He represents municipalities, developers, and neighbors in land use, planning, wetland, and coastal resources issues. He has been lead counsel in numerous trials and appeals relating to these issues. Mr. Smith has lectured extensively on the topic of affordable housing, land use, and roads and highways. He has also worked as lead counsel in obtaining land use approvals for hospitals, higher educational facilities, retail centers, and performing arts venues.   

    Mr. Smith, prior to law school, worked in planning for Saratoga County, New York, and the City of Eugene, Oregon.

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

      • Representation of land trust that owns or holds interests in almost 200 acres of open space lands along the Connecticut River. Representation includes legal issues of lands that protect Bald Eagle nesting sites in Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

      • Representation for more than 20 years of a Connecticut governmental public health entity, covering eight municipalities, in all manner of legal services. Represented entity against “hoarders,” whose houses threatened public health. Also represented entity in numerous appeals to the Connecticut Department of Public Health, in Superior Court to enforce lead abatement issues, and in hotel and restaurant licensing. Representation also included issues ranging from freedom of information and bankruptcy to septic systems, employment, and state regulation.
      • Representation of the Hartford Housing Authority for all real estate and financing legal work necessary for the authority to purchase the Dutch Point housing project, tear it down, and convert it to a new and improved residential area of the City of Hartford. The $2.5 million project was financed through a HUD grant.
      • Representation of a Connecticut hospital as lead counsel in obtaining permits and approvals for 310,000-square-foot expansion of hospital, including a new life star heliport and expanded parking garage.
      • Representation as special counsel in successfully defending through to the Connecticut Supreme Court a Connecticut town from an overambitious affordable housing application and achieving by settlement a more modest development.
      • Representation of property owners around Westchester County Airport. Issues involved FAA clearance requirements for removing vegetation near the airport and how low planes could fly.
      • Representation of a manufacturer to obtain permits for an expansion of a factory in Farmington, Connecticut.
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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      American Bar Association (1986 - present)

      Connecticut Bar Association (1986 - present)

      Cornell Real Estate Council (1990 - present)

      American Planning Association (1985 - present)
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Listed in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the area of Land Use/Zoning since 2006 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

      Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Land Use and Zoning Law since 2013 (Copyright 2016 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC)

      Connecticut Bar Foundation, James W. Cooper Fellow, 2013

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      The Bridge Family Center
      Board of Directors

      University of Hartford
      Board of Regents, Finance Committee Chair (2007 - 2015)

      Sister Cities International
      Honorary Board member

      Glastonbury Zoning Board of Appeals
  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "Five Tips for Planners and Planning Commissioners Reviewing Religious Land Use Applications," published in Connecticut Planning, co-authored with Evan J. Seeman, a publication of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association (Spring 2016)
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      "Navigating History: Montana and State Riverbed Ownership," published in Law360, co-authored with Evan J. Seeman and Sorell E. Negro (4/2/2012)

      Library of Connecticut Civil Complaints for Business Litigation, Volume I, co-authored with Michele L. Maresca and Timothy D. Bates and Joel Norwood, a Connecticut Law Tribune publication (2010)
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      "Signs of Prior Restraint - Emerging Trends in First Amendment Litigation," published in Municipal Lawyer (September/October 2005)

      "The First Amendment in Land Use Law," published in ALI-ABA Course Materials Journal (2/1990)

      Public Access to the New York Shoreline (1988)

      Various chapters from Road and Access Law in Connecticut

      Various chapters from Land Use Law Update in Connecticut

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "Food and the First Amendment," co-presented with Karla L. Chaffee, at the SNEAPA 2016 Conference in Worcester, Massachusetts (10/21/2016)

      "Ethics for Planners in the Digital Age," at the SNEAPA 2016 Conference in Worcester, Massachusetts (10/21/2016)

      "The Status of the Law of Eminent Domain in Connecticut and Nationwide," co-presented with Dwight H. Merriam, to the Planning and Zoning Section of the Connecticut Bar Association (10/5/2016)
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      "Planning As If 'Black Lives Matter'," at the American Planning Association's (APA) National Planning Conference in Phoenix, Arizona (4/4/2016)
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      "Real Estate and Land Use Issues in the Representation of Medical Marijuana Facilities," co-presented with Michele L. Maresca, American Bar Association's Annual Meeting (2015)

      "Ethical Rules and Considerations for Planners, Plan Commissioners, and Lawyers," co-presented with Evan J. Seeman and Hiram Peck, AICP, director of community planning & development in Simsbury, Connecticut, and David S. Silverman, AICP, of Ancel Glink in Chicago, Illinois, at webinar sponsored by the American Planning Association's Planning and Law Division (4/8/2015)
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      "Special Permit and Site Plan Review," at the all-day seminar "Connecticut Land Use Law for Municipal Land Use Agencies, Boards, and Commissions," sponsored by the Connecticut Bar Association's Planning and Zoning Section, at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut (3/21/2015)
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      "Tips and Traps in the Land Use Approval Process and Litigation," at Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) Law Center in New Britain, Connecticut, co-presented with Evan J. Seeman and the Honorable Marshall K. Berger Jr., presiding judge of the Land Use Litigation Docket; and Hiram Peck, director of Community Planning & Development for the Town of Simsbury, Connecticut (3/31/2014)
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      "Land Use Law: What You Don’t Know WILL Hurt You – The Most Important Land Use Law Developments of the Last Year," at Southern New England American Planning Association Conference: Planning at the Crossroads, Panelist (9/2012)

      "Navigating Summary Judgment: Takings Lessons – PPL Montana LLC v. State of Montana, U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 10-218," at Yale Law School (1/25/2012)

      "Special Permit and Site Plan Review," at Connecticut Land Use Law for Municipal Land Use Agencies, Boards, and Commissions at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, sponsored by the Planning & Zoning Section of the Connecticut Bar Association (3/12/2011)

      "Branford Eminent Domain Cases," at Connecticut Bar Association's Fifth Annual Property Rights Seminar (12/2010)

      "Basic Land Use Law," at Connecticut Bar Association event (10/2009)

      "Boundary Law in Connecticut," at the National Business Institute (2/7/2002)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • October 27, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Present at SNEAPA 2016 Conference

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      • October 13, 2016

        Brian Smith and Dwight Merriam Speak on Eminent Domain at CBA Planning and Zoning Section Meeting

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      • May 19, 2016

        Hartford Land Use Lawyers Publish Article on Religious Land Use Applications in Connecticut Planning

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      • May 4, 2016

        Land Use Lawyers Participate in APA National Planning Conference

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      • March 8, 2016

        Land Use Lawyers Negotiate Settlement Allowing Soup Kitchen to Remain Open

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      • May 15, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Is a Sponsor of APA National Planning Conference

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      • April 23, 2015

        Land Use Lawyers Speak at APA Ethics Webinar

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      • March 25, 2015

        Brian R. Smith and Dwight Merriam Present at CBA Seminar on Connecticut Land Use Law

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      • April 14, 2014

        Hartford Lawyers Participate in CBA Land Use Seminar

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      • December 13, 2013

        Hartford Lawyers Participate in APA Webinar on Ethical Rules

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      • January 17, 2013

        Land Law Lawyers Speak at CBA Property Rights Seminar

      • September 18, 2012

        Land Use Lawyers Speaking at 2012 Southern New England American Planning Association Conference

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      • May 15, 2012

        Land Use Partner Tells Law360 New York City Rent Stabilization Laws Need to Change

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      • February 27, 2012

        Land Use Partner Offers Correct Prediction of Supreme Court Case at Yale Panel Discussion

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      • August 18, 2011

        Brian Smith Joins Bridge Board of Directors

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      • April 5, 2011

        Land Law Lawyers Deliver Presentations for Connecticut Planning and Zoning Officials

      • December 17, 2010

        LandLaw Partners Speak at Property Rights Seminar

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      • September 14, 2010

        Attorney Meets President of Ireland

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      • November 30, 2009

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Receive Spotlight Award for Community Work

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      R+C News Releases

      • October 18, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • August 15, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017

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      • October 19, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • August 18, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016

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      • October 17, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers

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      • August 19, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • August 16, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • May 22, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Provide Pro Bono Support to Norwich Soup Kitchen

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      • March 1, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Selected as James W. Cooper Fellows of the Connecticut Bar Foundation

      • January 24, 2013

        Connecticut Superior Court Awards Tenant $109,000 for Discrimination Based on Lawful Source of Income

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      • October 22, 2012

        Super Lawyers® Names 49 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2012 List and Recognizes 26 as Rising Stars

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      • August 28, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Attorney Count in Best Lawyers National Peer Review Survey

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      • December 16, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Elevates Six New Counsel