§ 45-22.2-8. Preparation, adoption, and amendments of comprehensive plans.
(a) The preparation of a comprehensive plan shall be conducted according to the following provisions in addition to any other provision that may be required by law:
(1) In addition to the duties established by chapter 45-22, local planning board or commission, to the extent that those provisions do not conflict with the requirements of this chapter, a planning board or commission has the sole responsibility for performing all those acts necessary to prepare a comprehensive plan for a municipality.
(2) Municipalities which choose to conduct joint planning and regulatory programs pursuant to this section shall designate and establish a local planning committee which has responsibility for the comprehensive planning program.
(3) The conduct of the planning board, commission, or the local planning committee shall include:
(i) Preparation of the comprehensive plan, including the implementation program component.
(ii) Citizen participation through the dissemination of information to the public and solicitation of both written and oral comments during the preparation of the plan.
(iii) Conducting a minimum of one public hearing.
(iv) Submission of recommendations to the municipal legislative body regarding the adoption of the plan or amendment.
(4) The municipality may enter into a formal written agreement with the chief to conduct a review of a draft plan or amendment in order to provide comments prior to the public hearing by the planning board, commission, or committee.
(b) The adoption or amendment of a comprehensive plan shall be conducted according to the following provisions in addition to any other provision that may be required by law:
(1) Prior to the adoption or amendment of a comprehensive plan, the city or town council shall first conduct a minimum of one public hearing.
(2) A comprehensive plan is adopted, for the purpose of conforming municipal land use decisions and for the purpose of being transmitted to the chief for state review, when it has been incorporated by reference into the municipal code of ordinances by the legislative body of the municipality. All ordinances dealing with the adoption of or amendment to a municipal comprehensive plan shall contain language stating that the comprehensive plan ordinance or amendment shall not become effective for the purposes of guiding state agency actions until it is approved by the State of Rhode Island pursuant to the methods stated in this chapter, or pursuant to any rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this chapter. The comprehensive plan of a municipality shall not take effect for purposes of guiding state agency actions until approved by the chief or the Rhode Island superior court.
(3) A municipality may not amend its comprehensive plan more than four (4) times in any one calendar year. Amendments that are required to address the findings of the chief, changes to the state guide plan, or changes to this act shall not be included under this provision.
(c) The intent of this section is to provide for the dissemination and discussion of proposals and alternatives to the proposed comprehensive plan by means of either individual or joint legislative and planning commission hearings which disseminate information to the public and which seek both written and oral comments from the public. Public hearing requirements for either joint hearings or for individual hearings of the planning board or commission and for the municipal legislative body shall include the following:
(1) Prior to the adoption of, or amendment to, a comprehensive plan, notice shall be given of the public hearing by publication of notice in a newspaper of general circulation within the city or town at least once each week for three (3) successive weeks prior to the date of the hearing, which may include the week in which the hearing is to be held, at which hearing opportunity shall be given to all persons interested to be heard. Written notice, which may be a copy of the newspaper notice, shall be mailed to the statewide planning program of the department of administration. The newspaper notice shall be published as a display advertisement, using a type size at least as large as the normal type size used by the newspaper in its news articles, and shall:
(i) Specify the place of the hearing and the date and time of its commencement;
(ii) Indicate that adoption of, or amendment to, the comprehensive plan is under consideration;
(iii) Contain a statement of the proposed amendments to the comprehensive plan that may be printed once in its entirety, or summarize and describe the matter under consideration; the plan need not be published in its entirety;
(iv) Advise those interested where and when a copy of the matter under consideration may be obtained or examined and copied; and
(v) State that the plan or amendment may be altered or amended prior to the close of the public hearing without further advertising, as a result of further study or because of the views expressed at the public hearing. Any alteration or amendment must be presented for comment in the course of the hearing.
(P.L. 1988, ch. 601, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 385, § 3; P.L. 1995, ch. 247, § 1; P.L. 2011, ch. 215, § 1; P.L. 2011, ch. 313, § 1.)