Town of Westerly, RI
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
One or more preapplication meetings shall be held for all major land development or subdivision applications. Preapplication meetings may be held for administrative and minor applications, upon request of either the Town or the applicant. Preapplication meetings shall allow the applicant to meet with appropriate officials, boards and/or commissions, planning staff, and, where appropriate, state agencies, for advice as to the required steps in the approvals process, the pertinent local plans, ordinances, regulations, rules and procedures and standards which may bear upon the proposed development project.
B. 
At the preapplication stage the applicant may request the Planning Board or the Technical Review Committee for an informal concept plan review for a development. The purpose of the concept plan review is also to provide Planning Board or Technical Review Committee input in the formative stages of major subdivision and land development concept design.
C. 
Applicants seeking a preapplication meeting or an informal concept review shall submit to the Administrative Officer the required materials in advance of the meeting(s). (See Appendix § 2.[1])
[1]
Editor’s Note: Appendix § 2 is included at the end of this chapter.
D. 
Preapplication meetings shall aim to encourage information sharing and discussion of project concepts among the participants. Preapplication discussions are intended for the guidance of the applicant and shall not be considered approval of a project or its elements.
A. 
Classification. The Administrative Officer shall advise the applicant as to which approvals are required and the appropriate board for hearing an application for a land development or subdivision project. The following types of applications, as defined in § A261-8, may be filed:
(1) 
Administrative subdivision.
(2) 
Minor land development or minor subdivision.
(3) 
Major land development or major subdivision.
B. 
Certification of a complete application. An application shall be complete for purposes of commencing the applicable time period for action when so certified by the Administrative Officer. In the event such certification of the application is not made within the time specified in this chapter for the type of plan, the application shall be deemed complete for purposes of commencing the review period unless the application lacks information required for such applications as specified in these regulations and the Administrative Officer has notified the applicant, in writing, of the deficiencies in the application.
C. 
Notwithstanding Subsections A and B above, the Planning Board may subsequently require correction of any information found to be in error and submission of additional information specified in the regulations but not required by the Administrative Officer prior to certification, as is necessary to make an informed decision.
D. 
Where the review is postponed with the consent of the applicant, pending further information or revision of information, the time period for review shall be stayed and shall resume when the Planning Board determines that the required application information is complete.
A. 
Any applicant requesting approval of a proposed administrative subdivision, as defined in this chapter, shall submit to the Administrative Officer the items required by these regulations. (See Appendix § 1.[1]).
[1]
Editor’s Note: Appendix § 1 is included at the end of this chapter.
B. 
The application shall be certified as complete or incomplete by the Administrative Officer within a fifteen-day period from the date of its submission according to the provisions of § A261-25B.
C. 
Review process:
(1) 
Within 15 days of certification of completeness, the Administrative Officer, or the Technical Review Committee, shall review the application and approve, deny or refer it to the Planning Board with recommendations. The Officer or Committee shall report its actions to the Planning Board at its next regular meeting, to be made part of the record.
(2) 
If no action is taken by the Administrative Officer or the Technical Review Committee within the 15 days, the application shall be placed on the agenda of the next regular Planning Board meeting.
D. 
If referred to the Planning Board, the Board shall consider the application and the recommendations of the Administrative Officer and/or the Technical Review Committee and shall either approve, approve with conditions, or deny the application within 65 days of certification of completeness. Failure of the Planning Board to act within the period prescribed shall constitute approval of the administrative subdivision plan and a certificate of the Administrative Officer as to the failure of the Planning Board or Committee to act within the required time, and the resulting approval shall be issued on request of the applicant.
E. 
Denial of an application by the Administrative Officer and/or the Technical Review Committee shall not be appealable and shall require the plan to be submitted as a minor subdivision application.
F. 
Approval of an administrative subdivision shall expire 90 days from the date of approval unless within such period a plat in conformity with such approval is submitted for signature and recording as specified in § A261-42.
A. 
Review stages. Minor plan review shall consist of two stages, preliminary and final, provided that, if a street creation or extension is involved, a public hearing is required. The Planning Board may combine the approval stages, providing requirements for both stages have been met by the applicant to the satisfaction of the planning officials.
B. 
Submission requirements. Any applicant requesting approval of a proposed minor land development or minor subdivision, as defined in this chapter, shall submit to the Administrative Officer the items required by these regulations. (See Appendix § 3.[1])
[1]
Editor’s Note: Appendix § 3 is included at the end of this chapter.
C. 
Certification. The application shall be certified complete or incomplete by the Administrative Officer within 25 days, according to the provisions of § A261-25B.
D. 
Technical Review Committee. The Technical Review Committee, if established, shall review the application and shall comment and make recommendations to the Planning Board. The application shall be referred to the Planning Board as a whole if there is no Technical Review Committee. When reviewed by a Technical Review Committee:
(1) 
If the land development or subdivision plan is approved by a majority of the Committee members, the application shall be forwarded to the Planning Board with a recommendation for preliminary plan approval without further review.
(2) 
If the plan is not approved by a majority vote of the Committee members, the minor land development and subdivision application shall be referred to the Planning Board.
E. 
Reassignment to major review. The Planning Board may reassign a proposed minor project to major review only when the Planning Board is unable to make the positive findings required in § A261-14.
F. 
Decision. If no street creation or extension is required, the Planning Board shall approve, deny, or approve with conditions the preliminary plan within 65 days of certification of completeness, or within such further time as is agreed to by the applicant and the Board, according to the requirements of § A261-41. If a street extension or creation is required, the Planning Board shall hold a public hearing prior to approval according to the requirements in § A261-28 and shall approve, deny, or approve with conditions, the preliminary plan within 95 days of certification of completeness, or within such further time as is agreed to by the applicant and the Board, according to the requirements of § A261-41.
G. 
Failure to act. Failure of the Planning Board to act within the period prescribed shall constitute approval of the preliminary plan, and a certificate of the Administrative Officer as to the failure of the Planning Board to act within the required time and the resulting approval shall be issued on request of the applicant.
H. 
Final plan. The Planning Board may delegate final plan review and approval to either the Administrative Officer or the Technical Review Committee. The Officer or Committee shall report its actions to the Planning Board at its next regular meeting, to be made part of the record.
I. 
Expiration of approval. Approval of a minor land development or subdivision plan shall expire 90 days from the date of approval unless within such period a plat or plan, in conformity with such approval, and as defined in this act, is submitted for signature and recording as specified in § A261-42. Validity may be extended for a longer period, for cause shown, if requested by the applicant in writing, and approved by the Planning Board.
A. 
Major plan review shall be required of all applications for land development and subdivision approval subject to this chapter, unless classified as an administrative subdivision or as a minor land development or a minor subdivision.
B. 
Major plan review shall consist of three stages of review (master plan, preliminary plan and final plan) following the preapplication meeting(s) specified in § A261-25. Also required is a public informational meeting and a public hearing.
C. 
The Planning Board may vote to combine review stages and to modify and/or waive requirements as specified in § A261-22. Review stages may be combined only after the Planning Board determines that all necessary requirements have been met by the applicant.
D. 
Master plan review procedures.
(1) 
Submission requirements:
(a) 
The applicant shall first submit to the Administrative Officer the items required by these regulations for master plans. (See Appendix § 5.[1])
[1]
Editor’s Note: Appendix § 5 is included at the end of this chapter.
(b) 
Master plan information and supporting material for this phase of review shall include, but not be limited to: information on the natural and built features of the surrounding neighborhood, existing natural and man-made conditions of the development site, including topographic features, the freshwater wetland and coastal zone boundaries, the floodplain, as well as the proposed design concept, proposed public improvements and dedications, tentative construction phasing, and potential neighborhood impacts.
(c) 
Initial comments shall be solicited from (1) Town/local agencies and commissions, as appropriate, (2) adjacent communities; (3) state agencies, as appropriate, and (4) federal agencies, as appropriate. The Administrative Officer shall coordinate review and comments by local officials, adjacent communities, and state and federal agencies.
(2) 
Certification. The application shall be certified complete or incomplete by the Administrative Officer within 90 days, according to the provisions of § A261-25B.
(3) 
Technical Review Committee. The Technical Review Committee, if established, shall review the application and shall comment and make recommendations to the Planning Board.
(4) 
Informational meeting. A public informational meeting shall be held prior to the Planning Board decision on the master plan, unless the master plan and preliminary plan approvals are being combined, in which case the public informational meeting shall be optional, based upon Planning Board determination.
(a) 
Public notice for the informational meeting is required and shall be given at least seven days prior to the date of the meeting in a newspaper of general circulation within the Town. Postcard notice shall be mailed by the applicant to all property owners within 200 feet of the property proposed for development. The applicant shall be responsible for all required notification to adjacent property owners prior to the public hearing and shall submit for the record a completed affidavit of notice, on a form as provided by the Administrative Officer.
(b) 
At the public informational meeting the applicant shall present the proposed development project. The Planning Board shall allow oral and written comments from the general public. All public comments shall be made part of the public record of the project application.
(c) 
Decision. The Planning Board shall, within 120 days of certification of completeness, or within such further time as may be consented to by the applicant, approve of the master plan as submitted, approve with changes and/or conditions, or deny the application, according to the requirements of § A261-41.
(5) 
Failure to act. Failure of the Planning Board to act within the period prescribed shall constitute approval of the master plan, and a certificate of the Administrative Officer as to the failure of the Planning Board to act within the required time and the resulting approval shall be issued on request of the applicant.
(6) 
Expiration of approval.
(a) 
The approved master plan shall be vested for a period of one year, with a one year extension upon written request by the applicant, who must appear before the Planning Board for the annual review. Vesting may be extended for a longer period, for good cause shown, if requested by the applicant in writing, and approved by the Planning Board. Master plan vesting shall include the zoning requirements, conceptual layout and all conditions shown on the approved master plan drawings and supporting materials.
(b) 
The initial two-year vesting for the approved master plan shall constitute the vested rights for the development.
E. 
Preliminary plan review procedures.
(1) 
Submission requirements.
(a) 
The applicant shall first submit to the Administrative Officer the items required by these regulations for preliminary plans. (See Appendix § 6.[2])
[2]
Editor’s Note: Appendix § 6 is included at the end of this chapter.
(b) 
Requirements for the preliminary plan and supporting materials for this phase of the review shall include, but not be limited to engineering plans depicting the existing site conditions, engineering plans depicting the proposed development project, a perimeter survey, all permits required by state or federal agencies prior to commencement of construction, including permits related to freshwater wetlands, the coastal zone, floodplain, preliminary suitability for individual septic disposal systems, public water systems, and connections to state roads.
(c) 
Final written comments and/or approvals of all Town departments and commissions, as appropriate.
(d) 
Prior to approval of the preliminary plan, copies of all legal documents describing necessary for the proposed development.
(2) 
Certification. The application shall be certified as complete or incomplete by the Administrative Officer within 60 days, according to the provisions of § A261-25B.
(3) 
Technical Review Committee. The Technical Review Committee, if established, shall review the application and shall comment and make recommendations to the Planning Board.
(4) 
Public hearing. Prior to Planning Board decision on the preliminary plan, a public hearing, which adheres to the requirements for notice described in § A261-34, must be held.
(5) 
Public improvement guarantees. Proposed arrangements for completion of the required public improvements, including construction schedule and/or financial guarantees shall be reviewed and approved by the Planning Board prior to preliminary plan approval.
(6) 
Decision. A complete application for a major subdivision or development plan shall be approved, approved with conditions or denied within 120 days of the date when it is certified complete, or within such further time as may be consented to by the developer.
(7) 
Failure to act. Failure of the Planning Board to act within the period prescribed shall constitute approval of the preliminary plan and a certificate of the Administrative Officer as to the failure of the Planning Board to act within the required time and the resulting approval shall be issued on request of the applicant.
(8) 
Expiration of approval The applicant shall be responsible for all required notification to adjacent property owners prior to the public hearing and shall submit for the record a completed affidavit of notice, on a form as provided by the Administrative Officer. The approved preliminary plan shall be vested for a period of one year, and vesting may be extended for a longer period, for good cause shown, if requested in writing by the applicant, and approved by the Planning Board. The vesting for the preliminary plan approval shall include all general and specific conditions as shown on the approved preliminary plan drawings and supporting material.
F. 
Public hearing and notice.
(1) 
Public hearing. A public hearing shall be required for a major land development project or a major subdivision or where a street extension or creation requires a public hearing for a minor land development project or minor subdivision.
(2) 
Notice requirements. Public notice of the hearing shall be given at least 14 days prior to the date of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation within the Town. Notice shall be sent to the applicant and to each property owner within 200 feet of the proposed development, by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the time and place of the hearing not less than 10 days prior to the date of the hearing. Said notice shall also include the street address of the subject property, or if no street address is available, the distance from the nearest existing intersection in tenths of a mile.
(3) 
Notice area.
(a) 
The distance(s) for notice of the public hearing shall be 200 feet from the property proposed for development.
(b) 
Watersheds. Additional notice within watersheds shall also be sent as required in RIGL 45-23-53(b) and (c) where a proposed project is located within 2,000 feet of an active or identified potential public water source.
(c) 
Adjacent municipalities. Notice of the public hearing shall be sent by the Administrative Officer to the Administrative Officer of an adjacent municipality if the notice area extends into the adjacent municipality, or the development site extends into the adjacent municipality, or there is a potential for significant negative impact on the adjacent municipality.
(4) 
Notice responsibility. The applicant shall be responsible for all required notification to adjacent property owners prior to the public hearing and shall submit for the record a completed affidavit of notice, as provided by the Administrative Officer.
G. 
Final plan.
(1) 
Submission requirements:
(a) 
The applicant shall submit to the Administrative Officer the items required by these regulations (See Appendix § 7.[3]) as well as all material required by the Planning Board when the application was given preliminary approval.
[3]
Editor’s Note: Appendix § 7 is included at the end of this chapter.
(b) 
Arrangements for completion of the required public improvements, including construction schedule and/or financial guarantees.
(c) 
Certification by the Tax Collector that all property taxes are current.
(d) 
For phased projects, the final plan for phases following the first phase, shall be accompanied by copies of as-built drawings not previously submitted of all existing public improvements for prior phases.
(2) 
Certification. The application for final plan approval shall be certified complete or incomplete by the Administrative Officer within 45 days, according to the provisions of § A261-25B. If the Administrative Officer certifies the application as complete and does not require submission to the Planning Board as per § A261-28G(3) below, the final plan shall be considered approved.
(3) 
Referral to the Planning Board. If the Administrative Officer determines that an application for final approval does not meet the requirements set by local regulations or by the Planning Board at preliminary approval, the Administrative Officer shall refer the final plans to the Planning Board for review. The Planning Board shall, within 45 days after the certification of completeness, or within such further time as may be consented to by the applicant, approve or deny the final plan as submitted.
(4) 
Failure to act. Failure of the Planning Board to act within the period prescribed shall constitute approval of the final plan and a certificate of the Administrative Officer as to the failure of the Planning Board to act within the required time and the resulting approval shall be issued on request of the applicant.
(5) 
Recording. The final approval of a major subdivision or land development project shall expire one year from the date of approval unless, within that period, the plat or plan shall have been submitted for signature and recording as specified in § A261-41. The Planning Board may, for good cause shown, extend the period for recording for an additional period.
(6) 
Acceptance of public improvements. Signature and recording as specified in § A261-42 shall constitute the acceptance by the Town of any street or other public improvement or other land intended for dedication. Final plan approval shall not impose any duty upon the municipality to maintain or improve those dedicated areas until the governing body of the Town accepts the completed public improvements as constructed in compliance with the final plans.
(7) 
Validity of recorded plans. The approved final plan, once recorded, shall remain valid as the approved plan for the site unless and until an amendment to the plan is approved under the procedure set forth in § A261-43, or a new plan is approved by the Planning Board.