Evan Seeman concentrates his practice in three areas – religious land use litigation, land use and zoning, and real property litigation. He is a member of the firm’s Real Estate + Development Group, and he represents developers, landowners, municipalities, corporations, and advocacy groups.
Religious Land Use Litigation
Mr. Seeman defends municipalities nationwide in cases involving the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), and he writes for the blog RLUIPA Defense (www.rluipa-defense.com). Mr. Seeman advises municipalities on religious land use issues in the following ways:
- Revising municipal zoning codes to comply with RLUIPA
- Counseling municipal land use agencies during the zoning application process to avoid or mitigate potential liability
- Defending municipalities in RLUIPA litigation in federal court
Mr. Seeman has defended municipalities over the denial of a zoning application to develop a mosque, the proposed development of ninety acres as a Catholic cemetery in a rural community, and claims brought by a rabbinical college alleging that a zoning code discriminates against religion. Mr. Seeman also has experience representing religious institutions. He represented St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich, Inc. and the Catholic Church in three federal lawsuits over the denial of zoning relief to operate a soup kitchen and food pantry serving hundreds of individuals daily, and he helped to negotiate a favorable settlement to allow their continued operation.
Land Use – Zoning
Mr. Seeman advises clients on meeting requirements for land development and coastal management development, and securing necessary municipal and state permits to do so. Mr. Seeman appears before municipal land use agencies and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). He works with planning professionals, and currently serves as the Chair Elect of the Planning and Law Division of the American Planning Association.
Mr. Seeman successfully represented applicants in contested administrative hearings before DEEP hearing officers for coastal development projects. 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 power a local elementary school. He has been involved in more than a dozen zoning appeals, and most recently secured a judgment on behalf of a land trust challenging planning and zoning commission approval to develop a landfill site located in a floodplain. He previously served as the Chair of the Planning and Zoning and Municipal Law sections of the Young Lawyers Section of the Connecticut Bar Association.
Real Property Litigation
Mr. Seeman handles most other real property disputes. He has experience advising municipalities and landowners through the eminent domain process, in lawsuits involving the right to take, and on just compensation to acquire condemned property. He obtained a favorable result in a housing discrimination case for a prospective tenant who was refused housing based on her lawful source of income (State of Connecticut guaranteed security deposit). Mr. Seeman 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.
Mr. Seeman has been listed as a Rising Star in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the area of Land Use/Zoning since 2013. (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.) 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, Mr. Seeman volunteered his time with the Children’s Law Center of Connecticut, Inc., and prior to that clerked for the Honorable F. Herbert Gruendel of the Connecticut Appellate Court.