§ 45-24-71. Appeals Appeal of enactment of or amendment to zoning ordinance.
(a) An appeal of an enactment of or an amendment to a zoning ordinance may be taken to the superior court for the county in which the municipality is situated by filing a complaint within thirty (30) days after the enactment or amendment has become effective. The appeal may be taken by an aggrieved party or by any legal resident or landowner of the municipality or by any group of residents or landowners whether or not incorporated, of the municipality. The appeal shall not stay the enforcement of the zoning ordinance, as enacted or amended, but the court may, in its discretion, grant a stay on appropriate terms, which may include the filing of a bond, and make other orders that it deems necessary for an equitable disposition of the appeal.
(b) The complaint shall state with specificity the area or areas in which the enactment or amendment does not conform with the comprehensive plan and/or the manner in which it constitutes a taking of private property without just compensation.
(c) The review shall be conducted by the court without a jury. The court shall first consider whether the enactment or amendment of the zoning ordinance is in conformance with the comprehensive plan. If the enactment or amendment is not in conformance with the comprehensive plan, then the court shall invalidate the enactment or the amendment, or those parts of the enactment or amendment which are not in conformance with the comprehensive plan. The court shall not revise the ordinance to conform with the comprehensive plan, but may suggest appropriate language as part of the court decision.
(d) In the case of an aggrieved party, where the court has found that the enactment or amendment of the zoning ordinance is in conformance with the comprehensive plan, then the court shall next determine whether the enactment or amendment works as a taking of property from the aggrieved party. If the court determines that there has been a taking, the court shall remand the case to the legislative body of the municipality, with its findings that a taking has occurred, and order the municipality to either provide just compensation or rescind the enactment or amendment within thirty (30) days.
(e) The superior court retains jurisdiction, in the event that the aggrieved party and the municipality do not agree on the amount of compensation, in which case the superior court shall hold further hearings to determine and to award compensation. The superior court retains jurisdiction to determine the amount of an award of compensation for any temporary taking, if that taking exists.
(f) The court may, in its discretion, upon the motion of the parties or on its own motion, award reasonable attorney's fees to any party to an appeal, including a municipality.
(P.L. 1991, ch. 307, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 89, § 2.)