TITLE 42
State Affairs and Government

CHAPTER 42-64
Rhode Island Commerce Corporation

SECTION 42-64-13


§ 42-64-13. Relations with municipalities.

(a)(1) With respect to projects situated on federal land, the Rhode Island commerce corporation is authorized to plan, construct, reconstruct, rehabilitate, alter, improve, develop, maintain, and operate projects: (i) in conformity with the applicable provisions of chapter 1 of title 2 except that the projects shall not require the approval of a town or city council provided for in § 2-1-21, and (ii) without regard to the zoning or other land use ordinances, codes, plans, or regulations of any municipality or political subdivision; provided, however, that the exemption from the zoning or other land use ordinances, codes, plans, or regulations shall be subject to the corporation's compliance with the provisions of this subsection. Projects which are planned, constructed, reconstructed, rehabilitated, altered, improved, or developed by the corporation on federal land in accordance with the provisions of this subsection may be maintained and operated by lessees from and successors in interest to the corporation in the same manner as if the projects had been in existence prior to the enactment of the zoning or other land use ordinances, codes, plans, or regulations which, but for this chapter, would otherwise be applicable. With respect to other projects of the commerce corporation, or projects receiving state incentives as administered by the commerce corporation, developers are authorized to plan, construct, reconstruct, rehabilitate, alter, improve, develop, maintain, and operate a project subject only to the state building code and the state fire code, and all inspections regarding any such project shall be conducted by the state building commissioner or his designee without regard to the building and fire codes of any municipality or political subdivision; provided, however, that the exemption from the building and fire codes shall be subject to the corporation's compliance with the provisions of this subsection.

(2) As used in this section, "the comprehensive plan" means a comprehensive plan adopted pursuant to chapter 22 of title 45 by a planning board or commission; "the applicable comprehensive plan" shall mean the comprehensive plan of any municipality within which any project is to be situated, in whole or in part; and "the project plan" shall mean a general description of a proposed project situated on federal land, describing in reasonable detail its location, nature, and size. A zoning ordinance adopted by a municipality pursuant to chapter 24 of title 45 shall not be deemed to be a comprehensive plan nor a statement of the land use goals, objectives, and standards.

(3) If any project plan of the corporation with respect to projects situated on federal land conforms to the land use goals, objectives, and standards of the applicable comprehensive plan as of the time of the corporation's adoption of the project plan, or if there is no applicable comprehensive plan, then before proceeding with the project described in the project plan, the corporation shall refer the project plan to the appropriate community advisory committee which may thereafter hold any public hearings as it may deem to be desirable for the purpose of permitting the public to comment on the project plan. The community advisory committee shall not later than forty-five (45) days after its receipt of the project plan, transmit its comments on the project plan, in either written or oral form, to the corporation and thereupon, or upon the community advisory committee's failure to take any action within the time specified, the corporation shall be authorized to proceed with the project described in the project plan without regard to the zoning or other land use ordinances, codes, plans, or regulations of a municipality within which the project is to be situated in whole or in part.

(4) If any project plan of the corporation with respect to projects situated on federal land does not conform to the land use goals, objectives, and standards of the applicable comprehensive plan as of the time of the corporation's adoption of the project plan, then, before proceeding with the project described in the project plan, the corporation shall refer the project plan to the local governing body of any municipality within which any project is to be situated, in whole or in part. The local governing body may thereafter hold any public hearings as it may deem to be desirable for the purpose of permitting the public to comment on the project plan. The local governing body shall, not later than forty-five (45) days after its receipt of the project plan, advise the corporation of its approval or disapproval of that plan. If it shall disapprove the project plan, the corporation shall nevertheless be authorized to proceed with the project described in the project plan (without regard to the zoning or other land use ordinances, codes, plans, or regulations of a municipality within which the project is to be situated in whole or in part) upon the subsequent affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the board of directors then holding office as directors taken at a meeting open to the public. If the local governing body approves the project plan or fails to take any action within the time specified, the corporation shall be authorized to proceed with the project described in the project plan without regard to the zoning or other land use ordinances, codes, plans, or regulations of a municipality within which the project is to be situated in whole or in part.

(5) The project plan's conformity with the applicable comprehensive plan shall be determined by the board of directors of the corporation and its determination shall be binding and conclusive for all purposes.

(b) With respect to projects situated on real property other than federal land, the corporation shall plan, construct, reconstruct, rehabilitate, alter, improve, develop, maintain, and operate projects in conformity with the applicable zoning or other land use ordinances, codes, plans, or regulations of any municipality or political subdivision of the state in which those projects are situated.

(c) The corporation shall, in planning, constructing, reconstructing, rehabilitating, altering, or improving any project, comply with all requirements of state and federal laws, codes, or regulations applicable to that planning, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, alteration, or improvement. The corporation shall adopt a comprehensive building code (which may, but need not be, the Building Officials and Code Administrators International Code) with which all projects shall comply. That adoption shall not preclude the corporation's later adoption of a different comprehensive building code or of its alteration, amendment, or supplementation of any comprehensive building code so adopted. Except as otherwise specifically provided to the contrary, no municipality or other political subdivision of the state shall have the power to modify or change in whole or in part the drawings, plans, or specifications for any project of the corporation; nor to require that any person, firm, or corporation employed with respect to that project perform work in any other or different manner than that provided by those drawings, plans, and specifications; nor to require that any such person, firm, or corporation obtain any approval, permit, or certificate from the municipality or political subdivision in relation to the project; and the doing of that work by any person, firm, or corporation in accordance with the terms of those drawings, plans, specifications, or contracts shall not subject the person, firm, or corporation to any liability or penalty, civil or criminal, other than as may be stated in the contracts or may be incidental to the proper enforcement thereof; nor shall any municipality or political subdivision have the power to require the corporation, or any lessee or successor in interest, to obtain any approval, permit, or certificate from the municipality or political subdivision as a condition of owning, using, maintaining, operating, or occupying any project acquired, constructed, reconstructed, rehabilitated, altered, or improved by the corporation or pursuant to drawings, plans, and specifications made or approved by the corporation; provided, however, that nothing contained in this subsection shall be deemed to relieve any person, firm, or corporation from the necessity of obtaining from any municipality or other political subdivision of the state any license which, but for the provisions of this chapter, would be required in connection with the rendering of personal services or sale at retail of tangible personal property.

(d) Except to the extent that the corporation shall expressly otherwise agree, a municipality or political subdivision, including, but not limited to, a county, city, town, or district, in which a project of the corporation is located, shall provide for the project, whether then owned by the corporation or any successor in interest, police, fire, sanitation, health protection, and other municipal services of the same character and to the same extent as those provided for other residents of that municipality or political subdivision, but nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to require any municipality or political subdivision to make capital expenditures for the sole purpose of providing any of these services for that project.

(e) In carrying out a project, the corporation shall be empowered to enter into contractual agreements with municipalities and public corporations and those municipalities and public corporations are authorized and empowered, notwithstanding any other law, to enter into any contractual agreements with the corporation and to do all things necessary to carry out their obligations under the agreements.

(f) Notwithstanding the provisions of any general, special, or local law or charter, municipalities and public corporations are empowered to purchase, or to lease for a term not exceeding ninety-nine (99) years, projects of the corporation, upon any terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by the municipality or public corporation and the corporation.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1974, ch. 100, § 14; P.L. 2013, ch. 243, § 3; P.L. 2013, ch. 490, § 3; P.L. 2015, ch. 141, art. 19, § 1.)