John P. Casey

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    John Casey concentrates his practice on land use and environmental matters, with particular emphasis on coastal management, development, permitting, and littoral and riparian water rights. He is a member of Robinson+Cole’s Land Use and Real Estate + Development Groups, and the partner in charge of the firm’s New London office.

    Land Use – Zoning

    Mr. Casey handles planning, zoning, and wetland permits and applications. He helps his clients secure the necessary local, state and federal approvals for their projects, whether it is a dock, seawall, new medical facility, shoreline bridge, or waterfront home. He regularly appears before local zoning, wetlands, and harbor management commissions, as well as the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He has represented a variety of clients, such as hospitals, homeowners, condominium associations, retailers, waterfront property owners, and marinas, helping them make their projects a reality.

    Mr. Casey has successfully represented applicants in contested administrative hearings before DEEP hearing officers for coastal development projects. He has also obtained all the necessary approvals for a regional community hospital in Connecticut to build a new 40,000-square-foot cancer treatment facility, secured a permit from DEEP for an onsite community sewerage system for a client who needed it to develop a residential adult community, successfully represented a client in a controversial proposal to rebuild a pedestrian bridge between two islands off the Connecticut shore, and helped property owners save their coastal homes after they were damaged in major storms.

    Litigation

    Mr. Casey handles litigation related to land use and property rights, including appeals of zoning and permit decisions.

    Mr. Casey has gotten results for his clients who have had to pursue litigation over land use matters. He secured money damages and injunctive relief for a client who owns lakefront property, after a neighbor illegally maintained a mooring in his client’s littoral rights area. On behalf of a large grocer, he successfully defended an environmental intervenor’s appeals of land use boards’ approvals, allowing the construction of a new grocery store.

    Previously, Mr. Casey was a member of Robinson+Cole's Trial and Appellate Section, and he has extensive experience in all types of civil litigation, including products liability, personal injury, and insurance coverage and subrogation matters.

    Pro Bono 

    Mr. Casey is a member of Connecticut Legal Services Inc.’s board of directors. In that role, he has worked on a collaborative pro bono project, which provides legal assistance to low-income elderly adults. The project helps the elderly deal with abusive debt collection practices and assists them on consumer law issues.

    Before joining the firm, Mr. Casey was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, Judge Advocate General's Corps, fulfilling various legal duties while stationed at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut. After completing his military service, he worked for a litigation firm in New London, Connecticut. 
     

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

      • Represented coastal property owner in application to build extension of existing dock into waters of harbor so that there was a greater depth at which to berth his boat at low tide. Approvals were required from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, who had authority over the federal navigation project in the harbor. The approval from DEEP also required the recording of a shared dock agreement for the property and the neighboring property owned by the same owner.
      • Represented regional community hospital in successful application to develop a 40,000-square-foot cancer facility. Necessary approvals included site plan, inland wetland permit, and coordinated approvals from water pollution control authorities of adjacent towns.

      • Represented Rhode Island fire district in dispute with abutting property owner over access and development issues along dune. Successfully argued that abutting owner did not have rights across client's property.
      • Represented condominium developer in application to town to amend zoning regulations pertaining to gross floor area as applied in Special Flood Hazard Areas, as mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The new regulation provided that areas under residential buildings elevated to comply with FEMA flood-proofing requirements were not counted toward gross floor area.
      • Represented client in controversial proposal to rebuild pedestrian bridge between two islands off the Connecticut shore and in applications to obtain official authorizations for preexisting docks on the two islands. Successfully argued that, although not a typical coastal activity, the rebuilding of the bridge, which was destroyed in the 1938 hurricane, was an authorized use under the applicable coastal management statutes and a valid exercise of the client's littoral rights.
      • Represented waterfront homeowner before Connecticut DEEP and obtained permit to save house that had been damaged by storms and condemned.

      • After client was served with a notice of violation from the Connecticut DEEP for maintaining what it considered an unauthorized marina, negotiated a resolution that allowed the client to operate the property as a fully licensed marina, without penalties or fines. Also drafted cross easements to allow the marina to operate in the littoral area of an abutting waterfront residential property and to allow the residential property owner to use one of the marina's slips.

      • Successfully represented marina before Connecticut DEEP to oppose proposed expansion of neighboring marina that would have impeded access to client's marina.

      • Assisted client with residential dock approval that was derailed by the presence of a mooring near his shoreline. Convinced the state commission responsible for management of the waterway to relocate the mooring and support the client's dock proposal. Also garnered support of the Army Corps of Engineers.
      • Represented developer of 127-unit active adult residential community on 10 acres of waterfront land in contested hearing before Connecticut DEEP on the issuance of a permit to allow on-site community sewerage system using alternative wastewater treatment technology, ultimately securing the necessary permit in the end.

      • Represented waterfront homeowner in negotiating and drafting a littoral boundary line agreement with a neighboring marina.
      • Represented shorefront property owner in application for variance to rebuild house destroyed by Hurricane Irene. Provided expert testimony before zoning board of appeals on issues concerning impact of variance to town's participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.
      • Represented a cellular telephone tower company in a real property partition action. The client had a leasehold interest and right of first refusal on property that was the subject of litigation between family members to force the sale of multiple tracts of land owned by many family members. Preserved client's interests and avoided unnecessary entanglement in the litigation.

      • Representation of Mianus Marine, Inc., landlord/seller, in ground lease with preset purchase price after 10 years for valuable waterfront marina and boatyard in Greenwich, Connecticut. The lease included ground rent resets and step ups in price for earlier purchase after five years. This format was necessary to adjust corporate status of client (ground landlord) for tax treatment on capital gain. The value was in excess of $10 million. The scope is primarily local water-dependent land use approvals with State of Connecticut coastal management by the Department of Environmental Protection and federal channel management and tidal regulations by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
      • Defended marina owners and operator from Notice of Violation issued by the Connecticut DEEP and successfully negotiated resolution that permitted all existing structures.

      • Successfully assisted waterfront homeowner in effort to have Connecticut DEEP reverse its position and allow a longer dock at homeowner's property.

      • Negotiated directly with a neighbor who installed a fence that was partially on our client’s property and the local zoning official to have the fence relocated and in compliance with zoning regulations.
      • Successfully represented homeowners in application to obtain zoning variance on the grounds that addition to home was necessary to comply with adoption regulations and that inability to have children naturally was a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act, thus requiring a reasonable accommodation in the town application of its zoning ordinance.
      • Represented condominium association in its successful application for a special use permit to enlarge the condominium by adding new buildings and units.

      • Represented potential home purchasers in breach of contract action against homebuilder. Succeeded in obtaining speedy resolution to matter, which included a full refund of the clients' deposit.
      • Represented large grocery retailer in actions brought by an environmental intervenor appealing the issuance of inland wetlands and planning and zoning approvals that allowed the construction of a new store. Drafted briefs in both appeals. Appeals were eventually withdrawn by intervenor prior to trial.
      • Represented residential property owner in successful application to the Connecticut DEEP for new and maintenance dredging off his property along the Connecticut River. Also represented client in application for new dock at his property. Approval of the new dredging was required to gain access to dock in area of river that has silted in over the last decades.

      • Represented property owner in successful application for a use variance to reconstruct a historic mill on his residential property. The use variance was required to allow the use of the reconstructed mill to hold the client's musical instrument manufacturing business.
      • Represented owner of land along tidal creek bordered by deteriorating wooden bulkhead. Small tidal wetlands area with limited ecological value had developed behind the bulkhead in areas where the land had eroded due to stormwater runoff and tidal-influenced erosion. Client obtained permit from Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to reconstruct bulkhead, fill tidal wetlands behind bulkhead, and plant a new wetland area, which would allow the property to be subdivided into two buildable lots.
      • Represented shorefront property owner in application to the Connecticut DEEP for a permit to rebuild house damaged by Hurricane Irene. Successfully argued that client's house had predated the passage of coastal management statutes in Connecticut and was thus eligible for the permit under the simpler certificate of permission program.

      • Represented developer of a subdivision that included a wind turbine as a prominent feature in an action against subdivision purchasers who reneged on promises to reconfigure subdivision open space to allow for development of the wind turbine. Successfully negotiated resolution to dispute.
      • Successfully litigated trespass and nuisance case on behalf of lakefront property owner against upland neighbor who illegally maintained mooring in client's littoral rights area, securing money damages and injunctive relief.
      • Represented private yacht club in application to the Connecticut DEEP to expand and redefine the boundaries of its mooring field.

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Planning & Zoning Section (2000 - present)

      Rhode Island Bar Association (2001 - present)

      Connecticut Marine Trades Association (2005 - present)

      Connecticut Harbor Management Association (2009 - present)

      Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Project on Climate Change (2006 - present)
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Connecticut Bar Foundation, James W. Cooper Fellow, 2012

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Connecticut Legal Services, Inc.
      Treasurer and Member, Board of Directors and Executive Committee (2008)

      The Mystic & Noank Library
      Member, Board of Trustees (2011)

      Connecticut Cruise Ship Task Force
      President, Board of Directors (2004 - 2015)

      New London Education Foundation
      Board Member (2005 - 2014)

      Groton Mystic Lacrosse Association
      President, Board of Directors (2014)
      Coach (2010)

      Groton Housing Authority
      Board Member
  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "The View from the Shore - Regulation as Far as the Eye Can See," published in New England Real Estate Journal (5/18/2012)

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "Managing Our Coastal Resources Post-Irene and Sandy: New Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines," at Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association's annual "Hot Topics in Land Use Law and Practice" program (6/21/2013)

      "Federal Flood Plain Regulation," at Lorman Education Services audio conference, co-presented with Ernest Abbott & Molly Lawrence (4/26/2013)

      "DEEP Jurisdiction - Recent Caselaw & the New Coastal Jurisdiction Line," at Connecticut Association of Land Surveyors Annual Meeting (11/2/2012)

      "Liability, Insurance & The Jones Act," at Connecticut Marine Trades Association, Marine Trades Expo (10/9/2012)

      "Coastal Permitting Considerations," at Connecticut Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Professional Practice Committee (10/2/2012)

      "Federal Flood Plain Regulation," at Lorman Education Services audio conference, co-presented with Ernest Abbott & Molly Lawrence (5/30/2012)

      "Hot Topics in Coastal Permitting," at Connecticut Marine Trades Association Annual Marine Trades Exposition (10/11/11)

      "Coastal Development and Regulatory Realities," at American Planning Association webinar (2/18/2011)

      "A Potpourri of Hot Topics: A Spicy Mix of Land Use Issues," at Connecticut Bar Association seminar on the latest topics in land use law, co-presented with Timothy D. Bates (10/22/2010)

      "Brokerage Contracts & Broker's Representations," (10/5/2010)

      "Robinson & Cole Annual Review of Land Use Case Law," co-presented with Michele L. Maresca, at Connecticut Bar Association's June Meeting of the Planning and Zoning Section (6/21/2010)

      "Annual Review of Land Use Case Law," at Planning and Zoning Section of the Connecticut Bar Association, co-presented with Michele Maresca (6/21/2010)
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      "Jetties, Docks, Seawalls, Littoral Rights, Waterfront Homes, Spartina, and More," at Robinson & Cole's Coastal Considerations and Regulatory Reality Breakfast Seminar (7/14/2009)
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      "Land Sales: Docks, Seawalls, and Jetties: Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them," at luncheon seminar to a group of real estate brokers in southeast Connecticut, co-presented with Keith Neilson, P.E. (11/13/2008)
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      "Wetlands Permitting Caselaw Update," at Planning and Zoning Section of the Connecticut Bar Association (6/18/2008)
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      "Coastal Land Use Issues in Connecticut," at Lorman Education Services Seminar, co-presented with John Anderson (7/10/2007)
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      "Climate Change and Its Implications for Land Use Planning and Transportation," at University of Colorado School of Law, Natural Resources Law Center's 27th Annual Summer Conference: Climate Change and the Future of the American West (6/7/2006 )
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      "Smart Business Seminar - Contract Law," at Connecticut Marine Trades Association's Smart Business Seminar on Contract Law (3/16/2006)
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      "Due Process in Land Use Proceedings," at Town of Stonington land use boards and commissions, co-presented with Robert Sitkowski (1/26/2006)
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    • News

      R+C in the News

      • June 18, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Takes Part in Chamber Golf Tournament

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      • August 28, 2012

        Land Use Attorney Named Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellow

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      • June 11, 2012

        John Casey’s Article on Shoreline Development in New England Real Estate Journal

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      • March 15, 2011

        John Casey Helps Forge New Pro Bono Collaboration

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      • November 3, 2010

        Attorneys Cochair Connecticut Bar Association Planning and Zoning Section Event

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      • October 26, 2010

        Land Law Attorney Presents Yacht Broker Liability Case to Connecticut Marine Trades Association

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      • July 9, 2010

        John Casey and Michele Maresca Present a Review of Land Use Case Law to the Connecticut Bar Association

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      • December 10, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Elected to Board of Directors of Nonprofit Organization

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      • July 18, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Named President of Cruise Ship Board

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      R+C News Releases

      • February 1, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Forms Sustainability Cross-Practice Team

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      • December 11, 2014

        Robinson+Cole’s New London Office Moves Across Town

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      • December 4, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Elects New Partners and Counsel

      • June 21, 2013

        Local Organizations Recognize Robinson & Cole’s Pro Bono Service

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