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Land use law can be seen as a great contest between the rights of the individual and the rights of society.

As a result of a recent Connecticut Supreme Court decision, Thomas v. West Haven, the game may become a fairer one for property owners. The decision recognizes a possible violation of the federal civil rights statute, known as Section 1983, which extends the rights of the U.S. Constitution to individuals. The surprising thing is that the plaintiffs’ victory is based on the equal protection clause, seldom a winner in such land use cases.

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