Town of Westerly, RI
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Where words or phrases used in these regulations are defined in either the Zoning Enabling Act of 1991 or the Rhode Island Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Regulation Act of 1988 or the Town of Westerly Zoning Ordinance, they shall have the meaning stated therein.
B. 
For the purposes of these regulations, the following terms shall have the meaning stated herein.
ABANDONMENT
Some overt act or failure to act which would lead one to believe that the owner of the nonconforming use neither claims nor retains any interest in continuing the nonconforming use unless the owner can demonstrate an involuntary interruption of nonconforming use, such as by fire and natural catastrophe, does not establish the intent to abandon the nonconforming use. However, if any nonconforming use is halted for a period of one year, the owner of the nonconforming use will be presumed to have abandoned the nonconforming use, unless that presumption is rebutted by the presentation of sufficient evidence of intent not to abandon the use.
ABUTTER
One whose property abuts, that is, adjoins at a border, boundary or point with no intervening land.
ABUTTING LOT
Two or more lots of record which have one or more common boundary.
ACCESSORY APARTMENT
A separate dwelling unit, located within a single-household residential structure, containing no more than one bedroom and inhabited by no more than two persons, that is smaller in living area than, and subordinate to, the principal residence for the sole use of one or more members of the family of the occupant or occupants of the principal renter. Such uses shall be allowed only by special use permit granted by the Zoning Board of Review for up to five years and thereafter renewable in such increments at the discretion of the Zoning Board upon application.
ACCESSORY BUILDING
A use or structure incidental to, and on the same lot as, a principal use and includes any structure irrespective of whether it is temporary or permanent. An accessory structure in a residential zone shall not be used as a dwelling unit.
ACCESSORY USE
A use of a portion of land or a building, customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal use of the land or building. An accessory use shall be restricted to the same lot as the principal use. An accessory use shall not be permitted without the principal use to which it is related. In a charitable recreational building the area of such accessory use (i.e., incidental sales) shall not exceed 150 square feet nor shall there be permitted any exterior display or exterior signs.
ADULT ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS
An adult entertainment business is:
[Added 4-9-2007 by Ch. No. 1598]
(1) 
Any commercial establishment or business where any individual, employee, operator or owner works or performs in the nude, nudity meaning the showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks with less than a fully opaque covering, the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple and below, or showing of the covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state; or
(2) 
Any commercial establishment or business that displays actual or simulated acts of sexual activity by clothed or nude individuals, either live or on film, videotape or by electronic means, intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification; or
(3) 
Any commercial establishment whose major business is the sale of books, magazines, or other printed material, or movies, films, DVDs, other video reproductions, or novelty items intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification.
AGGRIEVED PARTY
For purposes of this chapter:
(1) 
Any person or persons or entity or entities who can demonstrate that their property or its value will be injured by a decision of any official or agency responsible for administering this chapter; or
(2) 
Anyone requiring notice pursuant to pertinent provisions of this chapter.
AGRICULTURAL LAND
Land suitable for agriculture by reason of suitability of soil or other natural characteristics or past use for agricultural purposes.
APPLICANT
An owner or authorized agent of the owner submitting an application or appealing an action of any official, board or agency.
APPLICATION
The completed form or forms and all accompanying documents, exhibits, and fees required of an applicant by this chapter or the Zoning Official, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Review, or Town Council.
AQUIFER
A geologic formation capable of yielding significant amounts of water.
AQUIFER AREAS
The groundwater reservoirs and portions of the surrounding stratified drift.
ASSISTED LIVING
A complex including common area for dining and other services and rooms and suites of rooms providing individual bathroom facilities with limited cooking facilities consisting of a microwave and stove top occupied by individuals age 55 or older or who are handicapped.
[Amended 5-15-2000 by Ch. No. 1300]
BED-AND-BREAKFAST
See § 260-54.
BUFFER
Land which is maintained in either a natural or landscaped state, and is used to screen and/or mitigate the impacts of development on surrounding areas, properties or rights-of-way.
BUILDING
Any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy.
BUILDING HEIGHT
The building height shall be as per Rhode Island State Building Code, Section 202, Definitions. The distance measured from the average elevation of the finished grade at the corners of the foundation up to the top of the highest point of the roof or structure. This calculation does not include church spires, chimneys, flagpoles, antennas, and weather vanes. This calculation does not include roof-mounted solar energy systems, plumbing, electrical, heating, ventilating and air-conditioning mechanical equipment when not exceeding more than four feet; nor that portion of a building, not to exceed four feet, necessary to accommodate an elevator overrun. The permitted finished grade for purposes of said measurement shall not, however, have been created by fill of more than four feet above the elevation of the road in front of the property.
[Amended 3-9-2015 by Ch. No. 1833; 3-25-2019 by Ch. No. 1953]
BUILDING LINE
A line generally parallel to the street line and extending between side lot lines, and running along the front of the principal building closest to the street as it is actually located on the lot.
BUILDING LOT, RESIDENTIAL CLUSTER
A lot which is occupied or designated for occupancy by a residential structure and its accessory structure in a residential cluster development.
BUILDING SETBACK LINE OR LINES
A line or lines parallel to a lot line at the minimum distance of the required setback for the zoning district in which the lot is located that establishes the area within which the principal structure must be erected or placed.
CAPACITY OF LAND
The suitability of the land, as defined by geology, soil conditions, topography, and water resources, to support its development for uses such as residential, commercial, industrial, open space or recreation. Land capacity may be modified by provision of facilities and services.
CEMETERY
A place where the dead are buried. For purposes of this chapter a cemetery must have a minimum of 20 acres.
CHILD-CARE CENTER
Any day-care center which provides day time child care for more than six children and is not located in the home of the day care provider.
CLUB
A corporation subject to the provisions of RIGL 7-6, owning, hiring or leasing of a building or space in a building of such extent and character as may be suitable and adequate for the reasonable and comfortable accommodation of its members, and whose affairs are conducted by a board of directors, executive committee or other similar body chosen by the members at a meeting held for that purpose, none of whose members, officers, agents or employees profit from the distribution or sale of beverages to the members of the club or to its guests, beyond the amount of such reasonable salary or wages as may be fixed and voted each year by the directors or other governing body.
CLUSTER DEVELOPMENT
A development planning technique that concentrates buildings in specific areas on the site to allow the remaining land to be used for recreation, common open space, and/or preservation of environmentally, historically, culturally, or other sensitive features and/or structures. The techniques used to concentrate buildings are specified in this chapter and include reduction in lot areas, setback requirements, and/or bulk requirements, with the resultant open land being devoted by deed restrictions to one or more uses. Under cluster development there is no increase in the number of lots that would be permitted under conventional development except where ordinance provisions include incentive bonuses for certain types or conditions of development. (See § 260-46.)
COMMON OWNERSHIP
Either:
(1) 
Ownership by one or more individuals or entities in any form of ownership of two or more contiguous lots; or
(2) 
Ownership by any association (such ownership may include a municipality) of one or more lots under specific development techniques.
COMMUNITY RESIDENCE
A home or residential facility where children and/or adults reside in a family setting and may or may not receive supervised care. This shall not include halfway houses or substance abuse treatment facilities. This shall include but not be limited to the following:
(1) 
Whenever six or fewer retarded children or adults reside in any type of residence in the community, as licensed by the state pursuant to RIGL 40.1-24. All requirements pertaining to local zoning are waived for these community residences;
(2) 
A group home providing care or supervision, or both, to not more than eight mentally disabled or mentally handicapped or physically handicapped persons, and licensed by the state pursuant to RIGL 40.1-24;
(3) 
A residence for children providing care or supervision, or both, to not more than eight children including those of the caregiver and licensed by the state pursuant to RIGL 72.1-42;
(4) 
A community transitional residence providing care or assistance, or both, to no more than six unrelated persons or no more than three families, not to exceed a total of eight persons requiring temporary financial assistance, and/or to persons who are victims of crimes, abuse, or neglect, and who are expected to reside in that residence not less than 60 days nor more than two years. Residents will have access to and use of all common areas, including eating areas and living rooms, and will receive appropriate social services for the purpose of fostering independence, self-sufficiency, and eventual transition to a permanent living situation.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN
The Comprehensive Plan adopted and approved by the Westerly Town Council pursuant to RIGL 45-22.2 and to which any zoning regulation adopted pursuant to this chapter shall be in compliance.
CONGREGATE HOUSING
A complex including common area for dining and other services and rooms and suites of rooms providing individual bathroom facilities with full kitchen facilities occupied only by individuals age 55 or over or who are handicapped.
[Amended 5-15-2000 by Ch. No. 1300]
CONSERVATION RESTRICTION
A limitation upon or with respect to the use of land stated in the form of a restriction, easement, covenant or condition, in a deed or other instrument executed by the owner of an area to maintain the land predominantly in its natural or scenic or open condition or in open space and/or open space for use as recreational land. Such conservation restriction shall be governed by and have the attributes set forth in RIGL 34-39-1 et seq.[1]
DAY-CARE CENTER
Any day care center which is not a family day care home.
DAY-CARE HOME, FAMILY
Any home other than the individual’s home in which day care in lieu of parental care or supervision is offered at the same time to six or fewer individuals who are not relatives of the caregiver, but may not contain more than a total of eight individuals receiving day care.
DENSITY, RESIDENTIAL
The number of households or dwelling units per unit of land.
DEVELOPMENT
The construction, reconstruction, conversion, structural alteration, relocation, or enlargement of any structure, any mining, excavation, landfill or land disturbance; any change in use, or alteration or extension of the use, of land.
DEVELOPMENT PLAN REVIEW
The process whereby authorized local officials review the development plans, maps and other documentation of a development to determine compliance with the purposes and standards of this chapter.
DISCHARGE
To groundwater the intentional, negligent, accidental, or other release of any pollutant onto or beneath the land surface, in a location where it is likely to enter the groundwater of the Town.
DISTRICT
See “zoning use district.”
DRAINAGE SYSTEM
A system for the removal of water from land by drains, grading or other appropriate means, including runoff controls to minimize erosion and sedimentation during and after construction or development, means for preserving surface and groundwaters, and means for prevention and/or alleviation of flooding.
DRIVE-THROUGH FACILITY
Any building or portion of a building or structure from which business may be transacted directly with customers in motor vehicles.
DWELLING
A structure or portion thereof providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation, and containing a separate means of ingress and egress.
EARTH REMOVAL
The extraction, quarrying or removal of any soil, loam, sand, gravel, stone, granite, clay, shale or other earth materials from deposits on any tract of land on which it is found, excluding, however, earth removal necessary for the development of a site. (See, for comparison, definition of “extractive industry.”)
EFFLUENT
Liquid that is discharged from a facility.
EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY
One that is engaged in the extraction of minerals including solids, such as coal and ores; liquids, such as crude petroleum; and gases, such as natural gases. The term also includes quarrying; well operation; milling, such as crushing, screening, washing and flotation; and other preparation customarily done at the extraction site or as a part of the extractive activity.
FAMILY
A person or persons related by blood, marriage or other legal means or one or more persons living together in a single dwelling unit, with common access to, and common use of, all living and eating areas and all areas and facilities for the preparation and storage of food within the dwelling unit.
FLOODPLAINS or FLOOD HAZARD AREA
An area that has a one-percent or greater chance of inundation in any given year, as delineated by federal emergency agency pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, as amended (P.L. 90-448). (See also RIGL 45-22.2-4.)
FLOOR AREA RATIO
The ratio of a building's gross floor area to the area of the lot on which the building is located.
[Added 11-19-2007 by Ord. No. 1621]
FREEBOARD
A factor of safety expressed in feet above the base flood elevation (BFE) of a special flood hazard area for purposes of floodplain management. Freeboard compensates for the many unknown factors that could contribute to flood heights such as wave action, bridge openings, and the hydrological effect of urbanization of the watershed. Freeboard is not required by National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) standards; however, the Town of Westerly has adopted a required minimum freeboard of one foot for all structures located in a Coastal A or VE Flood Zone (with provisions to accommodate additional freeboard of up to three feet).
[Added 10-21-2013 by Ch. No. 1800]
GARAGE, REPAIR
The care, repair, or refinishing of motor vehicles including both minor and major mechanical overhauling, paint, and body work.
GASOLINE SERVICE STATION
Buildings and lots where gasoline, oil, grease, batteries, tires and automobile accessories are sold at retail, and where, in addition, only the following services may be rendered: sale and servicing of spark plugs, batteries and distributor parts; tire servicing and repair but not recapping or regrooving; replacement of mufflers and tail pipes, water hoses, fan belts, brake fluid, light bulbs, fuses, floor mats, seat covers, windshield wipers and wiper blades, grease retainers, wheel bearings, mirrors and the like; radiator cleaning and flushing; washing and polishing, and sale of automotive washing and polishing materials; greasing and lubrication; providing and repairing fuel pumps, oil pumps and lines; minor servicing and repair of carburetors; emergency wiring repair; adjusting and repairing brakes; minor motor adjustments; sales of hot and cold drinks, packaged or prepared foods, tobacco, dairy products, newspapers and similar convenience goods, as accessory and incidental to the principal use; provision of road maps and other informational material to customers; provision of rest-room facilities.
GROSS FLOOR AREA
The sum of the gross horizontal areas of all floors of a building, measured from the exterior faces of the exterior walls or from the center line of walls separating two buildings. Gross floor area does not include basements when at least 1/2 the floor-to-ceiling height is below grade, attic space having a floor-to-ceiling height less than seven feet, exterior balconies, uncovered steps, or inner courts.
[Added 11-19-2007 by Ord. No. 1621]
GROUNDWATER
Associated terms as defined in RIGL 46-13.1-3.
HALFWAY HOUSE
A residential facility for adults or children who have been institutionalized for criminal conduct and who require a group setting to facilitate the transition to a functional member of society.
HARDSHIP
See RIGL 45-24-41.
HAZARDOUS or TOXIC MATERIAL(S)
Any substance or combination of substances which, because of quantity, concentration or physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics, poses a significant present or potential hazard to water supplies or to human health.
HAZARDOUS WASTE
Hazardous waste as defined in the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Rules and Regulations for Hazardous Waste Generation, Transportation, Treatment, Storage and Disposal, 1988, and amendments thereto.
HISTORIC DISTRICT or HISTORIC SITE
One or more historic sites and intervening or surrounding property significantly affecting or affected by the quality and character of the historic site or sites and has been registered, or is deemed eligible to be included, on the state register of historic places pursuant to RIGL 45-22.2-4.
HOME OCCUPATION
Any business, occupation or activity for gain undertaken by a legal resident of the property, within a residential structure, that is incidental and secondary to the use of that structure as a dwelling unit, in accordance with § 260-65 of this chapter.
[Amended 2-28-2011 by Ch. No. 1744]
HOTEL
A building or group of buildings providing rooms without in-room cooking facilities for transient lodging with at least 75% of the rooms having primary access through a main lobby, except that limited cooking facilities consisting of a range with oven, microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator of no more than 11 cubic feet may be included in units, provided that where such facilities exist, no individual shall occupy the unit as a permanent residence, and in any event shall not occupy the unit for more than 10 consecutive weeks.
[Amended 5-15-2000 by Ch. No. 1300; 11-29-2010 by Ch. No. 1734]
HOUSEHOLD
One or more persons living together in a single dwelling unit, with common access to, and common use of, all living and eating areas and all areas of facilities for the preparation and storage of food within the dwelling unit. The term “household unit” shall be synonymous with the term “dwelling unit” for determining the number of such units allowed within any structure on any lot in a zoning district. An individual household shall consist of any one of the following:
(1) 
A family, which may also include servants and employees living with the family; or
(2) 
A person or group, not exceeding three unrelated persons, living together.
IMPERVIOUS SURFACE
Any material that substantially reduces or prevents the infiltration of stormwater into the ground. Impervious surface shall not include graveled driveways and graveled parking areas, but shall include the area covered by any structure.
INFRASTRUCTURE
Facilities and services needed to sustain residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, and other activities.
INN
A building accommodating overnight guests, having a dining area with kitchen and food preparation area, having exterior siding such as wood clapboards or shingles, porches, verandas, latticework, and other architectural features in keeping with the residential character of the neighborhood.
JUNKYARD
The use of any lot, whether inside or outside a building, which is maintained, or operated or used for the storing, keeping, buying or selling of junk, scrap materials, or the dismantling or demolition or abandonment of automobiles or other vehicles or machinery or parts thereof.
KENNEL
An operation that provides food, shelter and care of household animals for purposes not primarily related to medical care, or an operation that engages in the breeding of animals for sale. (See § 260-79.)
LAND
Real property including improvements and fixtures on, above, or below the surface.
LAND DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
A project in which one or more lots, tracts, or parcels of land are to be developed or redeveloped as a coordinated site for a complex of uses, units, or structures, including but not limited to planned development and/or cluster development for residential, commercial, institutional, recreational, open space, and/or mixed uses as may be provided for in the Zoning Ordinance.
LODGING HOUSE/GUESTHOUSE
See § 260-54.
LOT
Either:
(1) 
The basic development unit for determination of lot area, depth, and other dimensional regulations; or
(2) 
A parcel of land whose boundaries have been established by some legal instrument such as a recorded deed or recorded map and which is recognized as a separate legal entity for purposes of transfer of title.
LOT AREA
The total area within the boundaries of a lot, excluding any street right-of-way, usually reported in acres or square feet.
LOT, CORNER
A lot at the junction of and fronting on two or more intersecting roads or streets.
LOT COVERAGE
That a portion of the lot that is or may permissibly be impervious expressed as a percentage of the total lot area.
LOT DEPTH
The distance measured from the front lot line to the rear lot line. For lots where the front and rear lot lines are not parallel, the lot depth is an average of the depth.
LOT FRONTAGE
That portion of a lot abutting a street.
LOT LINE
A line of record, bounding a lot, which divides one lot from another lot or from a public or private street or any other public or private space and shall include:
(1) 
The lot line separating a lot from a street right-of-way.
(2) 
The lot line opposite and most distant from the front lot line, or in the case of triangular or otherwise irregularly shaped lots, an assumed line at least 10 feet in length entirely within the lot, parallel to and at a maximum distance from the front lot line; and
(3) 
Any lot line other than a front or rear lot line.
LOT WIDTH
The horizontal distance between the side lines of a lot measured at right angles to its depth along a straight line parallel to the front lot line at the minimum front setback line.
MARINA
A facility for storing, servicing, fueling, berthing, and securing and launching of boats that may include the sale of fuel and incidental supplies for the boat owners, crews, and guests. (See § 260-75.)
MERE INCONVENIENCE
In the context of granting a dimensional variance, that there is no other reasonable alternative to enjoy a legally permitted beneficial use of one’s property. The fact that a use may be more profitable or that a structure may be more valuable after the relief is granted shall not be grounds for relief. (See RIGL 45-24-41.)[2]
MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT
The use of any structure or group of structures on single or contiguous multiple lots of record for a combination of residential and nonresidential purposes, pursuant to § 260-64.
[Added 11-19-2007 by Ord. No. 1621]
MOBILE HOME
A movable or portable one-family vehicular dwelling unit, constructed to be towed on its own chassis, designed to be used without permanent foundation for temporary or permanent living. It may consist of one or more units that can be telescoped when towed and expanded later for additional capacity, or more units separately towable but designed to be joined into one integral unit.
MOBILE HOME PARK
Lot used for the placement of mobile homes for temporary or permanent use.
MODIFICATION
A permission granted and administered by the Zoning Official and pursuant to the provisions of this chapter to grant a dimensional variance other than lot area requirements of this Zoning Ordinance to a limited degree as determined by this Zoning Ordinance, but not to exceed 25% of each of the applicable dimensional requirements.
MOTEL
A building or group of buildings with connected units not having primary access through a main lobby designed as individual living and/or sleeping quarters for hire without in-room cooking facilities, except that limited cooking facilities consisting of a range with oven, microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator of no more than 11 cubic feet may be included in units, provided that where such facilities exist, no individual shall occupy the unit as a permanent residence, and in any event shall not occupy the unit for more than 10 consecutive weeks.
[Amended 5-15-2000 by Ch. No. 1300; 11-29-2010 by Ch. No. 1734]
MULTIFAMILY DWELLING
A residential building designed for or occupied by four families or more with the number of families in residence not to exceed the number of dwelling units provided.
MUNICIPAL WATER FACILITIES
Any structure owned by the Town of Westerly used or intended for the retrieval, treatment, storage and/or distribution of potable and/or drinking water; the sheltering of equipment used for such purposes and the operation of any and all equipment and facilities for such purposes.
[Added 12-13-2004 by Ch. No. 1520]
NONCONFORMANCE
A building, structure, or parcel of land, or use thereof, lawfully existing at the time of the adoption or amendment of a Zoning Ordinance and not in conformity with the provisions of such ordinance as amended.
(1) 
Nonconformance shall be of only two types:
(a) 
By use: “Nonconforming by use” means a lawfully established use of land, building or structure which is not a permitted use in that zoning district. A building or structure containing more dwelling units than are permitted by the use regulations of this Zoning Ordinance shall be nonconforming by use; or
(b) 
Nonconforming by dimension: “Nonconforming by dimension” means a building, structure, or parcel of land not in compliance with the dimensional regulations of the Zoning Ordinance.
(2) 
A building or structure containing more dwelling units than are permitted by the use regulations of a Zoning Ordinance shall be nonconforming by use; a building or structure containing a permitted number of dwelling units by the use regulations of the Zoning Ordinance, but not meeting the lot area per dwelling unit regulations, shall be nonconforming by dimension.
NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION
A corporation or an unincorporated association of persons formed for religious, charitable, educational or recreational purposes, no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any shareholder or individual.
NURSING HOME
A facility licensed by the State of Rhode Island, and maintained for the purpose of providing skilled nursing care and medical supervision at a lower level than that available in a hospital.
OCEANFRONT HISTORIC HOTEL
A hotel located on the oceanfront or an estuarine embayment which has existed as a hotel since at least 1935 and substantially in its current configuration since 1975. To encourage preservation, restoration and/or replication of such hotels, they may be used as limited suite hotels. “Limited suite hotel” means a building or group of buildings with at least 75% of its suites or rooms having access through a principal structure. Suites are limited to a maximum of two bedrooms, a kitchen/dining area, other living area(s) and bathroom(s). Such suites may comprise not more than 2/3 of the total suites and traditional hotel rooms in a limited suite hotel. Such hotels must include publicly accessible elements providing substantial food service, meeting room(s) and beverages. Such hotels may also include accessory facilities such as a fitness center, indoor swimming pool and internally accessible shops. Such hotels are subject to the architectural review provisions of § 260-45F(1).[3]
[Added 10-12-2004 by Ch. No. 1510; amended 6-13-2005 by Ch. No. 1544]
OFFICE, GENERAL COMMERCIAL
A commercial establishment in which the principal use is a personal or professional service, and which does not include the sale of commodities at wholesale or retail which is not part of the professional service. Included in the definition of “office” are medical, insurance, finance, law, engineering or similar professional services.
OPEN SPACE
Any parcel or area of land or water set aside, dedicated, designated or reserved for public or private use or enjoyment or for the use and enjoyment of owners and occupants of land adjoining or neighboring such open space, provided that the area may be improved with only those buildings, structures, streets, and off-street parking and other improvements that are incidental to the natural openness of the land.
OPERATOR
Any person or persons having control or having legal responsibility for operating or maintaining any facility which is subject to these regulations.
OVERLAY DISTRICT
A district established in a Zoning Ordinance that is superimposed on one or more districts or parts of districts and that imposes specified requirements in addition to those otherwise applicable for the underlying zone.
OWNER
Any person who holds exclusive or joint title to, or lawful possession of, real or personal property which is subject to these regulations.
PERFORMANCE STANDARDS
A set of criteria or limits relating to elements which a particular use or process either must meet or may not exceed.
PERMITTED USE
A use by right which is specifically authorized in a particular zoning district.
PERSON
Any natural person, firm, trust, partnership, association or corporation.
PETROLEUM PRODUCT
Crude oil or any fractions thereof and includes substances derived from crude oil including, but not limited to, the following: gasoline, fuel oils, diesel oils, waste oils, gasohol, lubricants, and solvents.
PINBALL OR GAME ROOM
Any public place, building or room where three or more gaming devices, machines or apparatus are kept for the use and entertainment of the public; or any place where the purpose of such business is to maintain three or more machines, which upon the insertion of a coin, slug, token, plate, disc or in any other manner manipulated, may be operated by the public for use as a game or amusement, whether or not registering a score and whether its operation demands skill or chance or both. The definition of “pinball or game room” shall be limited to places which derive their principal source of income from such machines.
PLANNED DEVELOPMENT
A land development project, as defined herein, and developed according to plan as a single entity and containing one or more structures and/or uses with appurtenant common areas.
PLANNED DEVELOPMENT ZONING DISTRICT
See § 260-48.
POLLUTANT
Any material or effluent which may alter the chemical, physical, biological, or radiological characteristics and/or integrity of water, including but not limited to dredged spoil, solid waste, incinerator residue, sewage, garbage, sewage sludge, munitions, chemical wastes, biological materials, radioactive materials, heat, wrecked or discarded equipment, cellar dirt or industrial, municipal, agricultural, or other waste or material, petroleum or petroleum products, including but not limited to oil.
POLLUTION
The man-made or man-induced alteration of the chemical, physical, biological, and radiological integrity of water.
PREAPPLICATION CONFERENCE
A meeting to review a proposed development, held between applicants and reviewing agencies as permitted by law and municipal ordinance, before formal submission of an application for a permit or for development approval.
PROFESSIONAL OFFICE
A building or portion of a building wherein services are performed involving predominantly administrative, professional, or clerical operations.
RELEASE
Any spilling, leaking, pumping, pouring, emitting, emptying, injecting, escaping, leaching, dumping, or disposing of any pollutant onto or below the land surface. For purposes of these regulations, “release” also includes any storage, disposal, or abandonment of any substance or material in a manner which presents a substantial threat of release as herein defined.
RESTAURANT
An establishment that serves food and beverages primarily to persons seated within the building. This includes cafes, tearooms, and outdoor cafes.
RESTAURANT, FAST-FOOD
Any establishment whose principal business is the sale of foods, frozen desserts, or beverages in ready-to-consume individual servings, for consumption either within the restaurant building or for carry-out, and where either:
(1) 
Foods, frozen desserts, or beverages are usually served in paper, plastic, or other disposable containers, and where customers are not served their food, frozen desserts, or beverages by a restaurant employee at the same table or counter where the items are consumed; or
(2) 
The establishment includes a drive-up or drive-through service facility or offers curb service.
RETAINING WALL
A vertical exterior structure constructed and erected between lands of different elevations that is used to keep in place soil material or earth fill, protect structures and/or prevent erosion.
[Added 9-12-2005 by Ch. No. 1551]
ROAD or STREET
Any public or private highway which affords the principal means of access to abutting properties.
SANITARY SEWAGE
Wastewater associated with human hygiene, routine cleaning and janitorial activities that is discharged from sanitary conveniences (e.g., toilets, sinks, tubs, showers; dishwashers, kitchen sinks; and laundry machines).
SETBACK
The required minimum horizontal distance between the building line and the related front, side or rear property line.
SETBACK LINE or LINES
A line or lines parallel to a lot line at the minimum distance of the required setback for the zoning district in which the lot is located that establishes the area within which the principal structure must be erected or placed.
SHOPPING CENTER
A group of stores or other commercial establishments in one or more buildings planned, developed and managed as a single facility on one lot with off-street parking provided on the lot.
SIGN
A structure or device conveying information to the public in written or pictorial form. (See § 260-86, Signs, for further definitions.)
SINGLE-FAMILY ATTACHED UNIT
A dwelling unit in a structure with one or more other dwelling units.
SINGLE-FAMILY DETACHED UNIT
A dwelling unit in a structure with no other dwelling units.
SITE PLAN
The development plan for one or more lots on which is shown the existing and/or the proposed conditions of the lot.
SOLID WASTE
Solid waste as defined in the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Rules and Regulations for Solid Waste Management Facilities, February 1991, and amendments thereto; and which shall include garbage, refuse and other discarded solid materials generated by residential, institutional, commercial, industrial and agricultural sources but does not include solids or dissolved materials in domestic sewage or sewage sludge, nor does it include hazardous waste. Solid waste shall also include nonhazardous liquid, semisolid, and containerized gaseous waste.
SPECIAL USE
A regulated use which is permitted pursuant to a special use permit issued by the authorized governmental entity, pursuant to RIGL 45-24-42 (formerly referred to as “special exception”).
STRUCTURE
A combination of materials to form a construction for use, occupancy, or ornamentation, whether installed on, above, or below, the surface of land or water.
SUBDIVISION
The division or redivision, of a lot, tract or parcel of land into two or more lots, tracts, or parcels.
SUBSTANDARD LOT OF RECORD
Any lot lawfully existing at the time of adoption or amendment of a Zoning Ordinance and not in conformance with the dimensional and/or area provisions of that ordinance.
SUPERMARKET
A retail establishment primarily selling food as well as other convenience and household goods, and having a gross leasable floor area of 10,000 square feet or more.
TOWNHOUSE
A structure of single-family attached units each with direct access to the outside.
TRANSIENT RESIDENTIAL FACILITY
Housing operated on a nonprofit basis intended for occupancy for periods of fewer than 30 days by persons who are temporarily homeless, the maximum occupancy of which shall not exceed 20 persons, including staff. A development plan review pursuant to the ordinance is required before such a facility is operated.
UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK
Any one or combination of tanks (including underground pipes connected thereto) which is used to contain an accumulation of petroleum product or hazardous material, and the volume of which (including the volume of the underground pipes connected thereto) is 10% or more beneath the surface of the ground.
USE
The principal purpose or activity for which land or buildings are designed, arranged, or intended, or for which land or buildings are occupied or maintained.
VARIANCE
A permission to depart from the literal requirements of a Zoning Ordinance. An authorization for the construction or maintenance of a building or structure, or for the establishment or maintenance of a use of land, which is prohibited by a Zoning Ordinance. There shall be only two categories of variance: a use variance or a dimensional variance.
(1) 
A permission to depart from the use requirements of a Zoning Ordinance where the applicant for the requested variance has shown, by evidence upon the record, that the subject land or structure cannot yield any beneficial use if it is to conform to the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance.
(2) 
A permission to depart from the dimensional requirements of a Zoning Ordinance, where the applicant for the requested relief has shown, by evidence upon the record, that there is no reasonable alternative way to enjoy a legally permitted beneficial use of the subject property unless granted the requested relief from the dimensional regulations. However, the fact that a use may be more profitable or that a structure may be more valuable after the relief is granted shall not be grounds for relief.
WATERS
As defined in RIGL 46-12-1(b).
WELL
A bored, drilled, or driven shaft or a dug hole, with a depth that is greater than its largest surface dimension, through which groundwater flows, has flowed, or may flow under natural or induced pressure.
WETLAND, COASTAL
A salt marsh bordering on the tidal waters of this state and contiguous uplands extending no more than 50 yards inland therefrom or as otherwise defined in RIGL 2-1-14.
WETLAND, FRESHWATER
A marsh, swamp, bog, pond, river, river or stream floodplain or bank area subject to flooding or storm flowage, emergent or submergent plant community in any body of fresh water, or area within 50 feet of the edge of a bog, marsh, swamp, or pond as or otherwise defined in RIGL 2-1-14.
WIDTH
See definition for “lot width.”
YARD
A required open space on the same lot with a building(s), unoccupied and unobstructed by any structure from the surface of the ground upward, except for drives, walks, fences and customary yard accessories and other structures as specifically allowed by this chapter.
YARD, CORNER SIDE
The side yard on that side of a lot located at the corner or the intersection of two street lines, nearest the side street.
YARD, FRONT
The yard between a street line and a line generally parallel thereto at a distance therefrom equal to the depth of the required front yard, and extending between the side lot lines.
YARD, REAR
The yard between a rear lot line and a line parallel thereto at a distance therefrom equal to the depth of the required yard, and extended between the inner side yard setback lines.
YARD, SIDE
The yard between a side lot line and a line parallel thereto at a distance therefrom equal to the depth of the required side yard, and extending between the rear line of the required front yard to the rear lot line or projection thereof; or if there is no required front yard, extending between the rear lot line and the street line.
ZONING CERTIFICATE
A document signed by the Zoning Official, as required in the Zoning Ordinance, which acknowledges that a use, structure, building or lot either complies with or is legally nonconforming to the provisions of the municipal Zoning Ordinance or is an authorized variance or modification therefrom.
ZONING DISTRICT
The basic unit in zoning, either mapped or unmapped, to which a uniform set of regulations applies, or a uniform set of regulations for a specified use. A particular parcel of land may be subject to more than one district.
ZONING MAP
The map or maps which are a part of the Zoning Ordinance and which delineate the boundaries of all mapped zoning districts within the physical boundary of Westerly.
ZONING ORDINANCE
The ordinance enacted by the Town Council of Westerly pursuant to the Zoning Act and in the manner providing for the adoption of ordinances in the Town’s Charter,[4] which sets forth regulations and standards relating to the nature and extent of uses of land and structures, which is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan of Westerly which includes a Zoning Map, and which complies with the provisions of the Zoning Act.
ZONING USE DISTRICTS
The basic unit in zoning to which a uniform set of regulations applies, or a uniform set of regulations for a specified use. Also referred to as “zone” or “zoning district.”
[1]
Editor's Note: The definition of "customary home occupation," which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 2-28-2011 by Ch. No. 1744.
[2]
Editor's Note: The former definition of "mixed residential and commercial use," which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 11-19-2007 by Ord. No. 1621.
[3]
Editor's Note: The definition of "office, home," which immediately followed this definition, was repealed 2-28-2011 by Ch. No. 1744.
[4]
Editor’s Note: See Art. XV, Ch. 2, of the Charter.