Dwight Merriam has four decades of experience with representing property owners, developers, governments, and individuals in all land use matters. He founded Robinson+Cole's Land Use Group in 1978, and he is now a member of its Real Estate + Development Group.
Land Use and Zoning
Mr. Merriam assists property owners and developers with securing the necessary approvals from local land use boards and state permitting agencies to build commercial, retail, industrial, and residential development projects. Mr. Merriam represented a public-private partnership which resulted in a project to redevelop, operate, and maintain Connecticut’s 23 highway service plazas. He has provided representation for several large scale projects, including parcels over 1,000 acres in size.
Mr. Merriam is a featured speaker at many land use seminars, and he presents audio land use seminars for the International Municipal Lawyers Association on a monthly basis. He has been quoted on land use matters in the national press, from The New York Times to People magazine, and has appeared on NBC's Today show, MSNBC, and public television.
He teaches at the Quinnipiac University School of Law, and he has published over 200 articles and thirteen books, including Inclusionary Zoning Moves Downtown, The Takings Issue, The Complete Guide to Zoning, and Eminent Domain Use and Abuse: Kelo in Context. He is the senior co-author of the leading casebook in land use law, Planning and Control of Land Development (Ninth Edition) and co-author of the treatise, Rathkopf’s The Law of Planning and Zoning 4th.
Land Use – Litigation
Mr. Merriam participates in litigation stemming from land use matters, such as zoning appeals, condemnation actions, and cases involving the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). He also co-authors the RLUIPA Defense blog, a resource for anyone seeking to avoid or defend against claims taken under RLUIPA.
Mr. Merriam also had a career in the Navy, serving for three tours in Vietnam aboard ship. He left active duty after 7 years to attend law school, but continued for 24 more years as a reserve surface warfare officer with two major commands, including that of reserve commanding officer of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. He retired as a captain in 1999 after 31 years of service.