Loaves & Fishes Hospitality House has filed an appeal to overturn the New Milford Zoning Commission's denial of its application to build a new home at 25 Bridge Street.

The soup kitchen's board of directors is not taking lightly town officials' stand against their presence downtown.

An appeal was filed July 14 in State Superior Court in Danbury by attorney Neil Marcus.

It charges the June 24 denial of Loaves & Fishes' application by the Zoning Commission was "illegal, arbitrary and in abuse of the discretion vested in it."

Marcus claims the denial was based on "selected public comments addressed in opposition to the mission of (Loaves & Fishes) to feed and provide comfort and support to the homeless and less fortunate ... and not on objective zoning analysis."

The appeal says the Zoning Commission exceeded its jurisdiction in reaching the denial, assuming purviews held by the town's Building Department and its Sewer Commission.

It also says commission members knew zoning approval had to come first before permits would be issued by the state Department of Transportation and Water Pollution Control Authority.

Still, the appeal states the zoners based their denial on the lack of these permits by Loaves & Fishes.

"The decision reflects prejudg

"The decision reflects prejudgment and a predetermination to try to force (Loaves & Fishes) to terminate its programs in the town of New Milford," the appeal states.

Zoning Commission chairman Bill Taylor declined to comment Wednesday on pending litigation.

"This was a step we hoped we wouldn't have to take," said Lisa Martin, president of Loaves & Fishes. "Unfortunately, it had to go this way. We were hoping to be able to work with zoning. We're very disappointed. I'm a resident of this town and this hurts me personally as well as thwarting our mission."

Mayor Pat Murphy denied Monday prejudice in her decision that Loaves & Fishes must leave the Richmond Citizen Center.

"They have known for two years that their space was needed, and that Social Services would be moving into it eventually," Murphy said.

Recent news that the probate court might shift its operation to Richmond has also caused a stir in town.

"I have not spoken with Lisa Martin for two years," she said. "I am not obligated to tell her of my plans to move the probate court into (another area of) the building."

stuz@newstimes.com; 860-355-7322