Evan Seeman concentrates his practice in land use and zoning, real property litigation, and municipal law. 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
Evan defends municipalities nationwide in cases involving the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). He advises municipalities on religious land use issues by:
• Revising municipal zoning codes to comply with RLUIPA;
• Counseling municipal land use agencies during the zoning
application process to avoid or mitigate potential liability; and
• Defending municipalities in RLUIPA litigation in federal court.
Evan has been involved in RLUIPA cases across the country concerning the permitting of a mosque, a rabbinical college, cemetery, and other religious uses. Evan 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 negotiate a favorable settlement to allow their continued operation. He frequently speaks and writes about RLUIPA, and he writes for the firm’s widely acclaimed RLUIPA Defense blog.
Land Use – Zoning
Evan advises clients on meeting requirements for land development and coastal management development, and securing necessary municipal and state permits to do so. He appears before municipal land use agencies and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). He also works with planning professionals, and currently serves as the chair elect of the Planning and Law Division of the American Planning Association.
Evan 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 generate energy for a local elementary school. Evan has been involved in more than a dozen administrative appeals. Most recently, Evan secured a judgment upholding a planning and zoning commission’s issuance of a special permit to a food pantry to construct a new facility to serve those less fortunate. 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.
Evan represents property owners in eminent domain matters, challenging both the condemning authority’s right to take property and the authority’s compensation for the property. He serves as an affiliate member of the Owners Counsel of America, a national network of condemnation lawyers protecting private property rights. Evan represented a landowner whose plans for a mixed-use development were thwarted when part of his land was condemned by a state agency. He was part of a team that tried the case and obtained nearly double the amount of damages assessed by the agency (almost $400,000 more in damages). He also has experience in advising condemning authorities in the eminent domain process.
Real Property Litigation
Evan handles most other real property disputes. 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). He 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.
Evan has been selected as a Rising Star in the Connecticut Super Lawyers list from 2013 to 2018. 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, he volunteered his time with the Children’s Law Center of Connecticut, Inc. Prior to that, he clerked for the Honorable F. Herbert Gruendel of the Connecticut Appellate Court.