New legal maneuvers on menu in Norwich soup kitchen case

Norwich - An attorney for St. Vincent de Paul Place said the soup kitchen will appeal a U.S. District's judge's dismissal of its lawsuit challenging the city's denial of permits to relocate to the former St. Joseph School on Cliff Street.

Attorney Brian Smith said he will file an appeal with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York saying Judge Warren Eginton's approval of the city's request to dismiss the case was premature on the grounds that St. Vincent had not exhausted its appeals at the local level.

The Norwich Commission on the City Plan denied a special permit for St. Vincent to occupy the former school as a soup kitchen and food pantry. The soup kitchen appealed to U.S. District Court in Bridgeport Jan. 4. A month later, St. Vincent filed two appeals to the Norwich Zoning Board of Appeals.

The ZBA public hearing on the application will continue on April 9.

The soup kitchen moved to St. Joseph in July after its longtime home at the former train station behind Main Street closed for renovations. The move was meant to be temporary, but St. Vincent in November requested a special permit to make the relocation permanent. Neighbors objected, and the planning commission agreed that the short-term experience proved to be a detriment to the neighborhood.

Eginton agreed with the city's motion to dismiss that the St. Vincent appeal "was not ripe" for court review because the ZBA had not yet ruled on the variance request.

Smith said he could not comment on the appeal of the dismissal order. The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the order, which is dated March 13.


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