There shall be a planning board for the town consisting of seven members resident in the town. Members shall be appointed by the mayor in the month of April for terms of three years provided that in 1965 three members shall be appointed for terms of one year, two members for terms of two years and two members for terms of three years. Thereafter all members shall be appointed for terms of three years, to succeed those members whose terms expire. Any vacancy on the board shall be filled in the same manner, viz, appointment by the mayor. All members shall serve until their respective successors shall have been elected and installed in office.
After each annual selection of members to fill the positions of those members of the board whose terms expire, the board shall organize by electing a chairman, a vice chairman and a secretary. Regular meetings of the board shall be held at least twelve times each year on such days as the board shall determine, and special meetings shall be held at the call of the chairman or on the written request of three members. On the absence from three consecutive regular monthly meetings by any member, his office shall be declared vacant. The board shall adopt rules for the transaction of business and shall keep permanent and complete records of its proceedings, meetings, hearings and recommendations. Four members of the board shall constitute a quorum and no action shall be taken unless by the concurring vote of not less than four members.
Members of the planning board shall receive such compensation as is determined by ordinance.
The planning board shall make studies and when necessary, prepare plans of the resources and needs of the town, with reference to its physical growth and development as affecting the health, safety, morals and general welfare of the people and the economy and efficiency of community life. Such studies and plans may include among other things the following; land use; zoning; transportation facilities; public utilities; public facilities including schools, parks, beaches and other public areas and structures; blighted areas including plans for the redevelopment, rehabilitation and prevention of slum districts; air and water pollution; natural resources; protection from disaster; and economic and sociological characteristics of the town. The board shall regulate the platting or other subdivision of land in accordance with provisions in the general laws of Rhode Island.
The board shall prepare and adopt a comprehensive plan for the development and improvement of the town. Such plan shall show, among other things, the existing and proposed location and arrangement of the uses of land in the town; zoning districts; highways and appurtenant structures; transportation and utility routes, facilities and structures; public schools, parks and recreation areas; and public building and facilities. No portion of or amendment to the comprehensive plan shall be adopted by the board without a public hearing thereon. Notice of such hearing shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the town at least twice each week for three successive weeks prior to such hearing.
The board shall have power to promote and encourage the location and development of new business in the town as well as the maintenance and expansion of existing business and for that purpose shall cooperate with state, and with other local agencies and individuals whether in the town of Johnston or in other municipalities.
When authorized by the mayor, the board may call upon other departments, offices or agencies of the town and agencies of the state and federal governments for assistance in the performance of its designated functions and shall cooperate with such other department, offices or agencies and with state and federal agencies on community, regional, and state planning and development. All town officials and boards shall upon request, furnish the planning board such available information as it may require for its work.
The planning board shall collaborate with the mayor and the director of the finance department in the annual preparation and recommendation to the town council of a capital improvement budget for the following year and a comprehensive future capital improvement program.
The board may appoint such assistants and employees as it may deem necessary and may also employ consultants or enter into agreements with state, federal, or regional agencies; the board may incur any expense necessary therefor, but it shall not for any purpose contract for or incur any expense greater than the amount appropriated or available therefor.
The planning board shall submit a recommendation to the town council on all proposed ordinances and resolutions which concern the existing and proposed location and arrangement of the uses of land or such other matters within the scope of its powers and duties that may be referred to it. Nothing in this stipulation, however shall be construed to restrict or prevent the town council from acting on any ordinance or resolution contrary to or in the absence of a recommendation of the board.
The planning board shall report annually to the mayor and the town council, summarizing the work of the preceding year and recommending plans of future development. All plans and reports of the board shall be first submitted to the mayor and the town council, but thereafter the board may publish and distribute copies of plans and reports to promote public interest in and understanding of the work of the board. The planning board shall make such reports and take such actions as may be required from time to time by agencies of the state or federal government.