This chapter shall be known as the “Westerly Rhode Island Zoning Ordinance of 1998” (hereafter the “Zoning Ordinance” or “this chapter”), as amended.
Power to adopt. The Town Council shall have the power to adopt this Zoning Ordinance in accordance with the Rhode Island Zoning Act of 1991 (hereafter the “Zoning Act”).
Conformance with Zoning Act. This chapter and any amendments thereto shall be in conformance with the provisions of the Zoning Act.
Consistency with Comprehensive Plan. It is intended that the provisions of this Zoning Ordinance, as adopted, shall be consistent with the Town of Westerly Comprehensive Plan, dated December 1991, developed pursuant to the Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Regulation Act (hereafter the “Comprehensive Plan”); all amendments to this chapter shall be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan as further amended.
Periodic review. At least every five years, the Planning Board shall review this chapter and make recommendations for its revision.
This chapter shall take effect on October 16, 1998, any subsequent amendment to this chapter shall take effect upon the day following its passage by the Town Council.
Supersession. Any amendment to the Zoning Act subsequent to the adoption of this chapter shall supersede any provision of this chapter controlled thereby. The Town Council shall amend this chapter within nine months of any amendment to the Zoning Act. All provisions of Zoning Ordinances adopted prior to the enactment date of this chapter are null and void except as they are applicable to land uses and structures governed by Article VII, Procedures (§ 260-31, Vested Rights, and § 260-32, Nonconformance).
Other laws. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit the authority of agencies of state or federal government to perform any regulatory responsibilities.
This Zoning Ordinance is designed to implement the Comprehensive Plan and to serve the following purposes, which are intended to be given equal weight and are numbered for reference only:
Promoting the public health, safety, and general welfare.
Providing for a range of uses and intensities of uses appropriate to the character of Westerly and reflecting current and expected future needs.
Providing for orderly growth and development which recognizes:
The goals and patterns of land use contained in the Comprehensive Plan;
The natural characteristics of the land, including its suitability for use based on soil characteristics, topography, and susceptibility to surface or groundwater pollution;
The values and dynamic nature of coastal and freshwater ponds, the shoreline, and freshwater and coastal wetlands;
The values of unique or valuable natural resources and features;
The availability and capacity of existing and planned public and/or private services and facilities;
The need to shape and balance urban and rural development; and
The use of innovative development regulations and techniques.
Providing for the control, protection, and/or abatement of air, water, groundwater, and noise pollution, and soil erosion and sedimentation.
Providing for the protection of the natural, historic, cultural, and scenic character of Westerly or specific areas therein.
Providing for the preservation and promotion of agricultural production, forest, silviculture, aquaculture, timber resources, and open space.
Providing for the protection of public investment in transportation, water, stormwater management systems, sewage treatment and disposal, solid waste treatment and disposal, schools, recreation, public facilities, open space, and other public requirements.
Promoting a balance of housing choices, for all income levels and groups, to assure the health, safety and welfare of all citizens and their rights to affordable, accessible, safe, and sanitary housing; providing opportunities for the establishment of low- and moderate-income housing.
Promoting safety from fire, flood, and other natural or man-made disasters.
Promoting a high level of design quality in the development of private and public facilities.
Promoting implementation of the Comprehensive Plan.
Providing for coordination of land uses with contiguous municipalities, other municipalities, the state, and other agencies, as appropriate, especially with regard to resources and facilities that extend beyond municipal boundaries or have a direct impact on other municipalities.
Providing for efficient review of development proposals, to clarify and expedite the zoning approval process.
Providing procedures for the administration of this Zoning Ordinance, including, but not limited to, modifications, variances, development plan review.
Application of ordinance. No building or land shall be used, and no building shall be erected or structurally altered, except in conformance with the provisions of this Zoning Ordinance.
Permits and certificates. No Town official shall issue any permit or certificate for the construction or alteration of a structure or for the use or occupancy of any structure or lot unless the construction and/or use are in conformance with this Zoning Ordinance.
Fees. Application fees for all applications subject to this Zoning Ordinance shall be established by the Town Council and published by the Town Clerk. Application fees shall not exceed the actual cost for the review and disposition of the application, notice procedures, recording of decisions, and issuance of certificates or permits.
In the case of uncertainty in the construction or application of any provision of this chapter, such provision shall be construed to be consistent with and not contrary to the goals and policies of applicable provisions of the Comprehensive Plan.
This Zoning Ordinance consists of the text, as set forth herein and as it may be amended, of all the provisions contained in Article I through Article XII and of any provisions or articles added by amendment, together with all charts, graphs, and other explanatory material herein contained or added by amendment, and the Town of Westerly Official Zoning Map (herein the “Zoning Map”) together with any explanatory matter shown thereon.