2001-S 382 am
Enacted 07/13/2001

A  N     A   C   T


Introduced By:  Senator John C. Revens Date Introduced:  February 13, 2001

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 45-22.2-13 of the General Laws in Chapter 45-22.2 entitled "Rhode Island Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Act" is hereby amended to read as follows:

45-22.2-13. Compliance. -- (a) In the event a municipality fails to submit a comprehensive plan in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, or the director disapproves a comprehensive plan and that decision is affirmed by the board, the director shall then prepare, and the state comprehensive plan appeals board adopt, for the municipality in question, a comprehensive plan which satisfies the requirements of this chapter.

(b) The comprehensive plan appeals board shall adopt a plan within one hundred eighty (180) days of the decision of the board unless the municipality appeals the decision of the board within thirty (30) days to the supreme court. The municipality is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the plan.

(c) For those municipalities with comprehensive plans approved pursuant to this chapter all municipal land use decisions shall be in conformance with the approved municipal comprehensive plan.

(d) For communities with municipally adopted comprehensive plans which have not received state approval pursuant to this chapter, these municipalities shall conform their land use decisions to the locally adopted comprehensive plan until the time state approval is granted.

(e)(i) Nothing in the chapter shall be deemed to preclude municipalities from imposing limitations on the number of building permits or other land use approvals to be issued at any time, provided such limitations are consistent with the municipality's comprehensive plan in accordance with this chapter and are based on a reasonable, rational assessment of the municipality's sustainable capacity for growth.

(e)(ii) In the event of a dire emergency not reasonably foreseeable as part of the comprehensive planning process, a municipality may impose a limitation on the number of building permits or other land use approvals to be issued at any time, provided that such limitation is reasonably necessary to alleviate the emergency and is limited to the time reasonably necessary to alleviate the emergency.

SECTION 2. Sections 45-23-44 and 45-23-45 of the General Laws in Chapter 45-23 entitled "Subdivision of Land" are hereby amended to read as follows:

45-23-44. General provisions -- Physical design requirements. -- (a) All local regulations shall specify ,through reasonable, objective standards and criteria, all physical design requirements for the development projects which are to be reviewed and approved pursuant to the regulations. Regulations shall specify all requirements and policies for subdivisions and land development projects which are not contained in the municipality's zoning ordinance.

(b) The requirements and policies may include, but are not limited to, requirements and policies for rights-of-way, open space, landscaping, connections of proposed streets and drainage systems with those of the surrounding neighborhood, public access through property to adjacent public property, and the relationship of proposed developments to natural and man-made features of the surrounding neighborhood.

(c) The regulations shall specify all necessary findings, formulas for calculations and procedures for meeting the requirements and policies. These requirements and policies apply to all subdivisions and land development projects reviewed and/or administered under the local regulations.

45-23-45. General provisions -- Public design and improvement standards. -- (a) Public design and improvement standards for development projects shall be specified ,through reasonable, objective standards and criteria, in the design and improvement standards section of the local regulations. Appropriate public improvement standards shall be specified for each area or district of the municipality. Standards may include, but are not limited to, specifications for rights-of-way, streets, sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, public access, utilities, drainage systems, fire protection, and soil erosion control.

(b) All public improvements required in a land development project or subdivision by a municipality shall reflect the physical character and design for that district which is specified by the municipality's adopted comprehensive plan. Public improvement requirements and standards need not be the same in all areas or districts of a municipality. The technical details of the improvement standards may be contained in an appendix to the local regulations but shall be considered part of the regulations.

SECTION 3. Section 45-24-33 of the General Laws in Chapter 45-24 entitled "Zoning Ordinances" is hereby amended to read as follows:

45-24-33. Standard provisions. -- (a) A zoning ordinance addresses addresses each of the purposes stated in section 45-24-30 and addresses addresses, through reasonable objective standards and criteria, the following general provisions which are numbered for reference purposes only:

(1) Permitting, prohibiting, limiting, and restricting the development of land and structures in zoning districts, and regulating those land and structures according to their type, and the nature and extent of their use;

(2) Regulating the nature and extent of the use of land for residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, recreational, agricultural, open space, or other use or combination of uses, as the need for land for those purposes is determined by the city or town's comprehensive plan;

(3) Permitting, prohibiting, limiting, and restricting buildings, structures, land uses, and other development by performance standards, or other requirements, related to air and water and groundwater quality, noise and glare, energy consumption, soil erosion and sedimentation, and/or the availability and capacity of existing and planned public or private services;

(4) Regulating within each district and designating requirements for:

(i) The height, number of stories, and size of buildings;

(ii) The dimensions, size, lot coverage, floor area ratios, and layout of lots or development areas;

(iii) The density and intensity of use;

(iv) Access to air and light, views, and solar access;

(v) Open space, yards, courts, and buffers;

(vi) Parking areas, road design, and, where appropriate, pedestrian, bicycle, and other circulator systems;

(vii) Landscaping, fencing, and lighting;

(viii) Appropriate drainage requirements and methods to manage stormwater runoff;

(ix) Public access to waterbodies, rivers, and streams; and

(x) Other requirements in connection with any use of land or structure;

(5) Permitting, prohibiting, limiting, and restricting development in flood plains or flood hazard areas and designated significant natural areas;

(6) Promoting the conservation of energy and promoting energy-efficient patterns of development;

(7) Providing for the protection of existing and planned public drinking water supplies, their tributaries and watersheds, and the protection of Narragansett Bay, its tributaries and watershed;

(8) Providing for adequate, safe, and efficient transportation systems; and avoiding congestion by relating types and levels of development to the capacity of the circulation system, and maintaining a safe level of service of the system;

(9) Providing for the preservation and enhancement of the recreational resources of the city or town;

(10) Promoting an economic climate which increases quality job opportunities and the overall economic well-being of the city or town and the state;

(11) Providing for pedestrian access to and between public and private facilities, including, but not limited to schools, employment centers, shopping areas, recreation areas, and residences;

(12) Providing standards for and requiring the provision of adequate and properly designed physical improvements, including plantings, and the proper maintenance of property;

(13) Permitting, prohibiting, limiting, and restricting land use in areas where development is deemed to create a hazard to the public health or safety;

(14) Permitting, prohibiting, limiting, and restricting extractive industries and earth removal and requiring restoration of land after these activities;

(15) Regulating sanitary landfill, except as otherwise provided by state statute;

(16) Permitting, prohibiting, limiting, and restricting signs and billboards, and other outdoor advertising devices;

(17) Designating airport hazard areas under the provisions of chapter 3 of title 1, and enforcement of airport hazard area zoning regulations under the provisions established in that chapter;

(18) Designating areas of historic, cultural, and/or archaeological value and regulating development in those areas under the provisions of chapter 24.1 of this title;

(19) Providing standards and requirements for the regulation, review, and approval of any proposed development in connection with those uses of land, buildings, or structures specifically designated as subject to development plan review in a zoning ordinance;

(20) Designating special protection areas for water supply and limiting or prohibiting development in these areas, except as otherwise provided by state statute;

(21) Specifying requirements for safe road access to developments from existing streets, including limiting the number, design, and location of curb cuts, and provisions for internal circulation systems for new developments, and provisions for pedestrian and bicycle ways; and

(22) Reducing unnecessary delay in approving or disapproving development applications, through provisions for preapplication conferences and other means.

(23) Providing for the application of the Rhode Island Fair Housing Practices Act, chapter 37 of title 34, the United States Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA), the Rhode Island Civil Rights People with Disabilities Act, chapter 37 of title 42, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. section 12101 et seq.

(b) A zoning ordinance may include special provisions for any or all of the following:

(1) Authorizing development incentives, known as incentive zoning, for purposes of providing increases in the permitted use or dimension as a condition for, but not limited to:

(i) Increased open space;

(ii) Increased housing choices;

(iii) Traffic and pedestrian improvements;

(iv) Public and/or private facilities; and/or

(v) Other amenities as desired by the city or town and consistent with its comprehensive plan. The provisions in the ordinance shall include maximum allowable densities of population and/or intensities of use and shall indicate the type of improvements, amenities, and/or conditions. Conditions may be made for donation in lieu of direct provisions for improvements or amenities;

(2) Establishing a system for transfer of development rights within or between zoning districts designated in the zoning ordinance; and

(3) Regulating the development adjacent to designated scenic highways, scenic waterways, major thoroughfares, public greenspaces, or other areas of special public investment

or valuable natural resources.

SECTION 4. This act shall take effect on January 1, 2002.

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