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Town of Westerly, RI
Washington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Local administration of the Westerly Land Development and Subdivision Regulations shall be under the direction of the Administrative Officer, who shall report to the Planning Board.
B. 
The Administrative Officer shall oversee and coordinate the review, approval, recording and enforcement provisions of the local regulations. The Administrative Officer shall serve as the Chair of the Technical Review Committee, when it is activated. The Town Planner is designated by the Planning Board to be the Administrative Officer. Appointment of the Town Planner shall be the responsibility of the Town Manager. Qualifications of the Administrative Officer shall be determined by the Town Manager as provided in the Town personnel position description for the Town Planner/Environmental Coordinator.
C. 
The Administrative Officer shall be responsible for coordinating reviews of proposed land development projects and subdivisions with adjacent municipalities as is necessary to be consistent with applicable federal, state and local laws and as directed by the Planning Board.
D. 
Enforcement of the local regulations shall be under the direction of the Administrative Officer
A. 
The Planning Board may establish a Technical Review Committee of not fewer than three members, to conduct technical reviews of applications subject to their jurisdiction. Where a Technical Review Committee is established, the Administrative Officer shall serve as Chair. Membership of this subcommittee, to be known as the “Technical Review Committee,” may include, but shall not be limited to, members of the Planning Board, Planning Department staff, other municipal staff representing departments with responsibility for review or enforcement, conservation commissioners or other duly appointed local public commission members.
B. 
If the Planning Board establishes a Technical Review Committee, they shall adopt written procedures establishing the committee’s responsibilities.
C. 
Reports of the Technical Review Committee to the Planning Board shall be in writing and shall be kept as part of the permanent documentation on the development application. In no case shall the recommendations of the Technical Review Committee be binding on the Planning Board in its activities or decisions.
The Town Council shall establish the Westerly Zoning Board of Review as the Board of Appeal to hear appeals of decisions of the Planning Board or the Administrative Officer on matters of review and approval of land development and subdivision projects.
A. 
Any person who fails or refuses to adhere to all of the terms and conditions or any land development or subdivision plan that has been approved by the Planning Board or the Administrative officer shall be in violation of these regulations.
B. 
Violation of the regulations shall include any action related to the transfer or sale of land in unapproved subdivisions. Any owner, or agent of the owner, who transfers, sells or negotiates to sell any land by reference to or exhibition of, or by other use, a plat of the subdivision before the plat has been approved by the Planning Board and recorded in the Town’s land evidence records shall be in violation of the local regulations and subject to the penalties described in this chapter.
C. 
The Administrative Officer shall give a written notice of violation to any person who has been determined to be in violation of these regulations. The Administrative Officer shall inform the Planning Board of all such notices of violation sent out and the status of their resolution. The Planning Board may, within its discretion, order the Administrative Officer to record such notice of violation in the Westerly land evidence records. Upon satisfactory curing of said violation, the Planning Board shall instruct the Administrative Officer to release said notice of violation.
D. 
The Town may also cause suit to be brought in the Supreme or Superior Court, or any Municipal Court, including a Municipal Housing Court having jurisdiction in the name of the municipality, to restrain the violation of, or to compel compliance with, the provisions of its local regulations. The Town may consolidate an action for injunctive relief and/or fines under the local regulations in the Washington County Superior Court.
E. 
The penalty for violation shall reasonably relate to the seriousness of the offense and shall not exceed $500 dollars for each violation, and each day of existence of any violation shall be deemed to be a separate offense. Any such fine shall accrue to the Town.
A. 
Town Council. Where an applicant requires both Planning Board approval and Council approval for a change to Chapter 260, Zoning, or a Zoning Map change, the applicant shall first obtain an advisory recommendation on the zoning change from the Planning Board, as well as conditional Planning Board approval for the first approval stage for the proposed project, which may be simultaneous, then obtain a conditional zoning change from the Council, and then return to the Planning Board for subsequent required approval(s).
B. 
Zoning Board.
(1) 
Where an applicant requires both a variance from Chapter 260, Zoning, and Planning Board approval, the applicant shall first obtain an advisory recommendation from the Planning Board, as well as conditional Planning Board approval for the first approval stage for the proposed project, which may be simultaneous, then obtain conditional Zoning Board relief, and then return to the Planning Board for subsequent required approval(s).
(2) 
Where an applicant requires both a special-use permit under Chapter 260, Zoning, and Planning Board approval, the applicant shall first obtain an advisory recommendation from the Planning Board, as well as conditional Planning Board approval for the first approval stage for the proposed project, which may be simultaneous, then obtain a conditional special use permit from the Zoning Board, and then return to the Planning Board for subsequent required approval(s).
A. 
All records of the Planning Board proceedings and decisions shall be written and kept permanently available for public review in the Planning Office, in the Westerly Town Hall. Completed applications for proposed land development and subdivision projects under review by the Planning Board, shall be available for public review at the Planning Office.
B. 
Participation in a Planning Board meeting or other proceedings by any party shall not be a cause for civil action or liability except for acts not in good faith, intentional misconduct, knowing violation of law, transactions where there is an improper personal benefit, or malicious, wanton, or willful misconduct.
C. 
All final written comments to the Planning Board from the Administrative Officer, Town departments, the Technical Review Committee, state and federal agencies, and local commissions shall be part of the permanent record of the development application.
D. 
All votes of the Planning Board shall be made part of the permanent record and shall show the members present and their votes. A decision by the Planning Board to approve any land development or subdivision application shall require the affirmative vote of no less than four members.
A. 
All approved final plans and plats for land development and subdivision projects shall be signed by the appropriate Planning Board official with the date of approval. Plans and plats for major land developments and subdivisions shall be signed by the Planning Board Chairperson or the Secretary of the Planning Board attesting to the approval by the Planning Board. All minor land development or subdivision plans and plats and administrative plats shall be signed by the Planning Board Chairperson or Secretary or the Board’s designated agent.
B. 
Upon signature, all plans and plats shall be submitted to the Administrative Officer prior to recording and filing in the appropriate Town departments. The material to be recorded for all plans and plats shall include all pertinent plans with notes thereon concerning all the essential aspects of the approved project design, the implementation schedule, special conditions placed on the development by the Town, permits and agreements with state and federal reviewing agencies, and other information as required by the Planning Board.
C. 
Other parts of the applications record for subdivisions and land development projects, including all meeting records, approved master plan and preliminary plans, site analyses, impact analyses, all legal agreements, records of the public hearing and the entire final approval set of drawings shall be kept permanently by the Town departments responsible for implementation and enforcement.
D. 
The Administrative Officer shall notify the statewide “911” emergency authority and the local police and fire authorities servicing the new plat with the information required by each of the authorities.
A. 
For all changes to the approved plans of land development projects or subdivisions subject to this act, an amendment of the final development plans is required prior to the issuance of any building permits. Any changes approved in the final plan shall be recorded as amendments to the final plan in accordance with the procedure established for recording of plats in § A261-42.
B. 
Minor changes to an approved land development or subdivision plan may be approved in writing by the Administrative Officer.
(1) 
For the purposes of these regulations, a minor change shall be limited to the following:
[Amended 12-18-2018]
(a) 
Amendments to grading plans and/or drainage plans which are acceptable to the Town Engineer and which do not require approval of any state and/or federal agency and which do not involve any alteration to any design elements of the plans (see "major change");
(b) 
Amendments to utility plans which are acceptable to the Utilities Superintendent/Utilities Engineer, or to the appropriate utility company and which do not involve any alteration to any design elements of the plans (see "major change"); or
(c) 
Modifications which are required by a state or federal permitting agency, such as the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM), the Rhode Island Coastal Resource Management Council (RCMC), the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Rhode Island Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission (RIHPC), or any other nonmunicipal agency having jurisdiction over the project, provided said modification(s) does not qualify as a major change (see § A261-43C) and does not involve any alteration to the design elements of the plans.
(2) 
All such changes shall be made part of the permanent record of the project application. This provision shall not prohibit the Administrative Officer from requesting a recommendation from either the Technical Review Committee or the Planning Board. Denial of the proposed change(s) shall be referred to the Planning Board for review as a major change.
C. 
Major changes to an approved land development or subdivision plan shall be approved only by the Planning Board and must follow the same review and public hearing process required for approval of preliminary plans as described in § A261-28. For the purposes of these regulations, a major change shall include the following:
[Amended 12-18-2018]
(1) 
Changes to lot boundaries and/or areas.
(2) 
Changes which would result in the creation of one or more additional lots and/or units, either commercial or residential, in a development.
(3) 
Changes in the dimensions and/or configuration of a proposed street or street system.
(4) 
Changes which would require the issuance of a variance or special use permit from the Zoning Board of Review.
(5) 
Any changes to lot or building layout, configuration, massing, size, scale, orientation, proportions, facade(s) (doors, windows, shutters, porches, verandas, etc.), roof type, architectural features of style, material, detail, texture or color, parking areas, driveways, paths, landscaping.
(6) 
Any other changes not specifically identified in the definition of "minor change" (see § A261-43B).
D. 
Rescission procedure. The Planning Board, only upon application by all landowners of the plat to be affected, may determine that the application for plat rescission is not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and is not in compliance with the standards and provisions of Chapter 260, Zoning, and/or these land development and subdivision review regulations and shall hold a public hearing, which adheres to the requirements for notice described in § 261-28. The Planning Board shall approve, approve with conditions or modifications, or deny the application for rescission of the plat according to the requirements of § A261-41. If it is necessary to abandon any street, the Planning Board shall submit to the Town Council the documents necessary for the abandonment process. Once the required process for rescission or for rescission and abandonment has been completed, the revised plat shall be signed and recorded as specified in § A261-42.