§ 45-24-69. Appeals Appeals to superior court.
(a) An aggrieved party may appeal a decision of the zoning board of review to the superior court for the county in which the city or town is situated by filing a complaint stating the reasons of appeal within twenty (20) days after the decision has been recorded and posted in the office of the city or town clerk. The decision shall be posted in a location visible to the public in the city or town hall for a period of twenty (20) days following the recording of the decision in the office of the city or town clerk. The zoning board of review shall file the original documents acted upon by it and constituting the record of the case appealed from, or certified copies, together with other facts that may be pertinent, with the clerk of the court within thirty (30) days after being served with a copy of the complaint. When the complaint is filed by someone other than the original applicant or appellant, the original applicant or appellant and the members of the zoning board are made parties to the proceedings. The appeal shall not stay proceedings upon the decision appealed from, but the court may, in its discretion, grant a stay on appropriate terms and make any other orders that it deems necessary for an equitable disposition of the appeal.
(b) If, before the date set for the hearing in the superior court, an application is made to the court for leave to present additional evidence before the zoning board of review and it is shown to the satisfaction of the court that the additional evidence is material and that there were good reasons for the failure to present it at the hearing before the zoning board of review, the court may order that the additional evidence be taken before the zoning board of review upon conditions determined by the court. The zoning board of review may modify its findings and decision by reason of the additional evidence and file that evidence and any new findings or decisions with the superior court.
(c) The review shall be conducted by the superior court without a jury. The court shall consider the record of the hearing before the zoning board of review and, if it appears to the court that additional evidence is necessary for the proper disposition of the matter, it may allow any party to the appeal to present that evidence in open court, which evidence, along with the report, constitutes the record upon which the determination of the court is made.
(d) The court shall not substitute its judgment for that of the zoning board of review as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact. The court may affirm the decision of the zoning board of review or remand the case for further proceedings, or may reverse or modify the decision if substantial rights of the appellant have been prejudiced because of findings, inferences, conclusions, or decisions which are:
(1) In violation of constitutional, statutory, or ordinance provisions;
(2) In excess of the authority granted to the zoning board of review by statute or ordinance;
(3) Made upon unlawful procedure;
(4) Affected by other error of law;
(5) Clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence of the whole record; or
(6) Arbitrary or capricious or characterized by abuse of discretion or clearly unwarranted exercise of discretion.
(P.L. 1991, ch. 307, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 296, § 1.)