Town of Barrington, RI
Bristol County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 185-25 Substandard original lots.

A. 
A substandard original lot having frontage on a street may be used for any purpose permitted in its zoning district, if such lot was shown on a recorded deed or plat entered into the records of land evidence in the office of the Town Clerk on the effective date of this chapter, or any prior ordinance or amendment rendering it substandard. However, where such substandard original lot has one or more common boundaries with another lot owned by the same owner or his or its affiliate as defined herein, such lots shall be combined in accordance with the provisions of § 185-26. For the purposes of this Article, an "affiliate" means, with respect to a specific owner, any of the following:
(1) 
Such owner's spouse or parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren or siblings (blood or adoptive);
(2) 
A trustee of a trust for the benefit of such owner, or of any person identified in the immediately preceding clause;
(3) 
A corporation, partnership, firm, business or entity of which the majority of the voting interest is owned by such owner, or any person identified in either clause above; or
(4) 
A person who is an officer, director, stockholder (15% or more), trustee, employee or partner of any entity or person referred to in any of the clauses above.
B. 
Any application for a zoning permit on a substandard original lot will be accompanied by a sworn statement by the applicant that after diligent inquiry of the facts, such lot has no common boundary with another lot owned by the applicant or his affiliate.

§ 185-26 Merger of lots under same ownership.

A. 
Where land adjacent to a substandard original lot is owned by the owner of said substandard original lot or his or its affiliate, the exemption of § 185-25 shall not apply, and said substandard original lot shall be combined with said adjacent land to establish a lot or parcel having at least the required minimum dimensions and area set forth in Article VI[1] for the applicable district. If all such adjacent land so combined is not sufficient to permit the enlargement of said lot to conforming area and dimensions, then the largest lot or parcel which the adjoining common ownership will permit shall be established. By way of example, if all such adjacent land so combined is sufficient to meet the applicable area and dimensional requirements for at least one lot but not for two or more fully conforming lots, then all such lots shall be combined to create a single lot only.
[1]
Editor's Note: The Dimensional Regulations Table is now located at the end of this chapter.
B. 
In the event that both the substandard original lot and the adjacent lot, whether substandard or not, have structures located thereon, the merger requirement of this section shall not apply unless said structures are related to a principal use located on one or more of such lots, in which case then all lots related to said use that have structures located thereon shall be deemed combined.

§ 185-27 Standards for merger of substandard lots on a district-by-district basis.

The Town of Barrington is primarily a residential community with approximately 85% of the land area either already developed, or unable to be developed due to physical or legal constraints. The residential dwelling and traffic patterns, which were originally created for a less dense population, are already excessive in many areas of the Town, and the need for preserving the open space that is yet available is evident. In keeping the land use goals contained in the Comprehensive Plan, including that to preserve the essential character of the community, and to ensure that future development is compatible with adjoining land uses, the natural environment, community services and existing historic and cultural features, the merger provisions of § 185-26 hereof shall apply to all areas within the Town of Barrington. On a district-by-district basis, the following standards shall also apply:
A. 
Hampden Meadows. The Hampden Meadows district is that portion of the Town of Barrington to the east of the Barrington River and Hundred Acre Cove. This is a heavily developed residential district where development has resulted in costly expansions to both elementary schools, Hampden Meadows and Sowams, and an increase in traffic on the road systems, making them inadequate to service the dense populations therein. Likewise, this district is in need of preserving what little unprotected open space is left. It is also environmentally sensitive in the portions adjacent to the Barrington River, Hundred Acre Cove and the Palmer River. For the purposes of this chapter, this merger district is a combined zoning district whose developed areas consist primarily of R-25 and R-10 Districts.
B. 
Primrose Hill. The Primrose Hill district is that portion of the Town to the west of the Barrington River and east of Washington Road, bounded by Lincoln Avenue on the south end and the East Providence border on the north. This area is residential, with the exception of some primary, secondary and higher educational institutions which generate significant additional traffic, and some environmentally sensitive land bordering on Barrington River and Hundred Acre Cove. There is very little capacity for further development in this area. Likewise, there are numerous substandard original lots which, without the merger requirement, would result in a degradation of the character of the neighborhood and an overloading of the public infrastructure thereof. This merger district is a combined zoning district whose developed areas consist primarily of R-25 and R-10 Districts.
C. 
Bay Spring. The Bay Spring district of Town is bounded on the north by the East Providence boundary, on the east by Washington Road, on the south by Allins Cove, and on the west by the Providence River. This is a heavily developed area with many small substandard lots of record. To prevent the degradation of the neighborhood and the overburdening of the public infrastructure, particularly the road system, lot merger is particularly appropriate and important here. This merger district is a combined zoning district whose developed areas consist primarily of R-10, Neighborhood Business, Business and Limited Manufacturing Districts.
D. 
Nayatt Point/Rhode Island Country Club. This district is bounded on the north by Allins Cove and Lincoln Avenue, on the east by a line extending from Lincoln Avenue along Middle Highway to Narragansett Bay, on the south by Narragansett Bay, and on the west by the Providence River. This is a residential area defined by many large lots and homes. Much of this area is waterfront, and to preserve the character of the area it is necessary to apply the merger provisions. This merger district is a combined zoning district whose developed areas consist primarily of R-40, R-25 and R-10 Districts.
E. 
Central/Business. This district is bounded on the north by Lincoln Avenue, on the east by the Barrington River, on the south by County Road and a line extending westerly from County Road through Brickyard Pond to Middle Highway, and on the west by Middle Highway. This area of Town includes the County Road central business district, the mixed-use Maple Avenue area and a portion of Brickyard Pond and Veterans Memorial Park. It also includes most of the developed portion of the state-designated wellhead protection area for the Nayatt Wellfield, as well as a large portion of the aquifer recharge area which is the source of groundwater for the wells. Much of the district, particularly the Maple Avenue area, is already heavily developed and has many substandard lots which should be merged. Given the existing burden on the public infrastructure in this area, particularly apparent due to existing traffic problems, and the need to provide protection for the Town's water supply, merger is appropriate for this district. This merger district consists primarily of R-25, R-10 and Business Districts.
F. 
Rumstick/Adams Point. This district is bounded on the north by a line extending westerly from County Road through Brickyard Pond to Middle Highway, on the east by the Barrington River, on the south by Narragansett Bay, and on the west by Middle Highway and a line extending directly to the Bay from the southerly terminus of Middle Highway. It includes the remaining portions of Brickyard Pond and Veterans Memorial Park, including wetlands around Brickyard Pond, as well as the Nayatt Wellfield, the remaining portion of the state-designated wellhead protection area, the entire aquifer and the largest portion of the aquifer recharge area. The residential areas of this district include the Rumstick and Adams Point areas, which are substantially developed with large homes. Failure to have lot merger in this district would provide a threat to the public water supply system, and would substantially depreciate the value of the residential property. This merger district consists primarily of R-40, R-25 and R-10 Districts.

§ 185-28 Applicable dimensional requirements.

The following regulations regarding the creation of, and yard requirements for, substandard lots shall apply:
A. 
No lot or parcel of land proposed for a use shall be divided in such a manner as to create a new lot with less than the required lot area, frontage or width for the district in which such lot or parcel is located, except as provided under § 185-28.1.
[Amended 2-6-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-1]
B. 
No front, side or rear yard adjacent to any building which is required for the purpose of compliance with the provisions of this chapter shall again be used to establish a yard for any other building, structure or use.

§ 185-28.1 Low- or moderate-income housing on new substandard lots.

[Added 2-6-2012 by Ord. No. 2012-1]
A. 
Purpose. The purpose of this section is to support the development of low- and moderate-income housing by allowing an existing lot to be divided into two lots, one of which has reduced area and width requirements.
B. 
Eligibility. In order to be eligible for this provision, a lot must meet all of the following criteria as of the effective date of this section:
(1) 
The lot shall be located in a R-10, R-25 or R-40 Zoning District.
(2) 
The lot shall contain an existing single-family residence.
(3) 
The lot and structures thereon shall conform to all dimensional regulations of the zoning district.
C. 
Substandard lot development criteria. The Planning Board may approve the subdivision of an existing lot meeting the eligibility requirements of § 185-28.1B into two new lots as follows, provided that the housing affordability requirements of § 185-28.1D are met:
(1) 
The new lot containing the existing residential structure shall have at least 100% of the minimum lot area and width required in the zoning district.
(2) 
The new lot not containing the existing residential structure shall have at least 75% of the minimum lot area and width required in the zoning district, and shall be used for a new single-family residence.
(3) 
Where the existing lot has at least 175% of the required area and width, but the location of the existing house or the physical characteristics of the lot preclude division of the lot in compliance with Subsections C(1) and (2) above, the Planning Board may approve a subdivision in which the new lot containing the existing house has less than the minimum lot area and width but no less than 80% of the required area and width.
(4) 
The reductions in minimum lot area and width allowed by this section increase the permitted residential density on the lot that is to be divided. This density increase is intended to be a density bonus that is provided as a municipal government subsidy as defined in this chapter and in R.I.G.L. § 45-53-3.
(5) 
The dimensional regulations pertaining to front, rear, and side yard setbacks, and building lot coverage found in § 185-17 shall apply to substandard lots of record legally created pursuant to this section in all applicable residential zones.
(6) 
The above modified regulations for substandard lots shall not be construed to impose more stringent dimensional requirements than would otherwise be applicable in the zone in which the lot is located.
(7) 
In reviewing the application, the Planning Board shall make the determination that the relief requested will not materially or detrimentally affect the character of the neighborhood in which the proposed lot will be split.
D. 
Housing affordability.
(1) 
The new dwelling unit on the lot created with less than the area and width otherwise required in the zoning district shall be low- or moderate-income housing, as defined in § 185-5.
(2) 
The required minimum term of affordability for the low- or moderate-income unit shall be 30 years. If the unit is sold prior to the expiration of the restriction, the term of affordability shall be renewed for 30 years.
(3) 
Low- or moderate-income housing units created under this section shall comply with the affordability requirements of this section.
E. 
Timeframe for completion.
(1) 
A building permit for the affordable dwelling unit must be issued within one year of the subdivision approval. In no case may either lot created under the provisions of this section be sold in the absence of a building permit for the affordable house. Failure to meet with this provision will nullify the final plat approval.

§ 185-29 Special use permit.

[Amended 5-8-1995 by Ord. No. 95-5; 1-13-1997 by Ord. No. 96-14]
The Zoning Board of Review may hear and grant a special use permit from the requirements of the merger provisions of this Article, as provided in § 185-73 of this chapter and subject to the prerequisites contained therein, and subject to the additional specific finding that the lots, as unmerged, will be of a size generally in conformance with the size of developed lots in the immediate vicinity. However, such relief shall not be subject to the one-year expiration from the date of granting by the Board, as required in § 185-66 of this chapter.