Chapter 401

2011 -- H 5707 AS AMENDED

Enacted 07/13/11





     Introduced By: Representatives Naughton, Walsh, and Guthrie

     Date Introduced: March 03, 2011


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Section 45-24-37 of the General Laws in Chapter 45-24 entitled "Zoning

Ordinances" is hereby amended to read as follows:


     45-24-37. General provisions -- Permitted uses. -- (a) The zoning ordinance provides a

listing of all land uses and/or performance standards for uses which are permitted within the

zoning use districts of the municipality.

      (b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the following uses are permitted

uses within all residential zoning use districts of a municipality and all industrial and commercial

zoning use districts except where residential use is prohibited for public health or safety reasons:

      (1) Households;

      (2) Community residences;

      (3) Family day care homes. ; and

      (4) Plant agriculture, being defined herein as the growing of plants, both food and fiber,

to sell and/or consume.

      (c) Any time a building or other structure used for residential purposes, or a portion of a

building containing residential units, is rendered uninhabitable by virtue of a casualty such as fire

or flood, the owner of the property is allowed to park, temporarily, mobile and manufactured

home or homes, as the need may be, elsewhere upon the land, for use and occupancy of the

former occupants for a period of up to twelve (12) months, or until the building or structure is

rehabilitated and otherwise made fit for occupancy. The property owner, or a properly designated

agent of the owner, is only allowed to cause the mobile and manufactured home or homes to

remain temporarily upon the land by making timely application to the local building official for

the purposes of obtaining the necessary permits to repair or rebuild the structure.

      (d) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, appropriate access for people

with disabilities to residential structures is allowed as a reasonable accommodation for any

person(s) residing, or intending to reside, in the residential structure.

      (e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, an accessory family dwelling

unit in an owner-occupied, single-family residence shall be permitted as a reasonable

accommodation only for family members with disabilities. The appearance of the structure shall

remain that of a single-family residence and there shall be an internal means of egress between

the principal unit and the accessory family dwelling unit. If possible, no additional exterior

entrances should be added. Where additional entrance is required, placement should generally be

in the rear or side of the structure. When the structure is serviced by an individual sewage

disposal system, the applicant shall have the existing or any new system approved by the

department of environmental management. The zoning enforcement officer shall require that a

declaration of the accessory family dwelling unit for the family member or members and its

restrictions be recorded in the land evidence records and filed with the zoning enforcement officer

and the building official. Once the family member or members with disabilities no longer resides

in the premises on a permanent basis, or the title is transferred, the property owner shall notify the

zoning official in writing, and the accessory family dwelling unit shall no longer be permitted,

unless there is a subsequent, valid application.

      (f) When used in this section the terms "people with disabilities" or "member or

members with disabilities" means a person(s) who has a physical or mental impairment which

substantially limits one or more major life activities, as defined in section 34-37-3 of the general


     (g) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, plant agriculture, being defined

as the growing of plants for both food and fiber, to sell and/or consume, is a permitted use within

all residential use districts of a municipality, including all industrial and commercial zoning

districts, except where prohibited for public health or safety reasons or the protection of wildlife

habitat, consistent with the "Rhode Island Right to Farm Act", chapter 2-23, including the

provisions that this chapter does not apply to agricultural operations conducted in a malicious or

negligent manner, and the director of the department of environmental management, in

consultation with the chief of the division of agriculture, shall determine what is agriculture, or an

agricultural activity use or operation.


     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.