Chapter 18.08  DEFINITIONS

 

18.08.010   Definitions.  Where words or terms used are defined in R.I. Gen. Laws § 45-22.2-4 (the definitions section of the Rhode Island comprehensive planning and land use regulation act), they shall have the meanings stated therein.  In addition, the following words shall have the following meanings.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part))

 

Abutter.  One whose property abuts, that is, adjoins at a border, boundary or point with no intervening land.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Accessory dwelling unit.  A dwelling unit with separate permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation and a separate entrance that is rented to, or occupied by, one or more members of the family of the occupant of the principal dwelling unit or is reserved for rental occupancy while the principal dwelling unit is occupied by the owner of the property.  An accessory dwelling unit must comply with Section 18.36.040 of this Title.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 9-21-04 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

Accessory family dwelling unit.  An area connected to and accessible from a single-family dwelling unit that contains its own permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation and is occupied by a person who is 62 years old or older or has a disability that substantially limits one major life activity, as defined by R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-87-1(7), and is a family member of the property owner. An accessory family dwelling unit is subject to the restrictions contained in Section 18.36.045 of this Title.  

(Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

Accessory use.  A use of land or of a building, or portion thereof, customarily incidental and subordinate to the principal use of the land or building.  An accessory use is not permitted without the principal use to which it is related.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Adult entertainment business. 

A.  An adult entertainment business is:

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, or other video reproductions, intended to provide sexual stimulation or sexual gratification.

 (Ord. dated 1-3-06 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Affordable housing.  Housing that has a sales price or rent that is within the means of a household of moderate income or less. In the case of dwelling units for sale, principal, interest, taxes, and insurance may constitute no more than thirty percent (30%) of the gross household income for a household with less than one hundred and twenty percent (120%) of area median income, adjusted for family size. In the case of dwelling units for rent, the rent, heat, and utilities other than telephone may constitute no more than thirty percent (30%) of the gross annual household income for a household with eighty percent (80%) or less of area median income, adjusted for family size.  All types of year-round housing, including manufactured homes, accessory dwelling units, and assisted living housing, may be considered affordable housing.

(Ord. dated 5-16-95 (part); Ord. dated 10-21-03 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Aggrieved party.  

A.  Any person or persons or entity or entities who can demonstrate that his or her property will be injured by a decision of any officer or agency responsible for administering the zoning ordinance; or

 

B.  Anyone requiring notice pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws title 45, ch. 24.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 9-7-10; Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Applicant.  An owner or authorized agent of the owner submitting an application or appealing an action of any official, board or agency.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Application.  The completed form or forms and all accompanying documents, exhibits and fees required of an applicant by an approving authority for approval or permitting purposes.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Area median income (AMI).  The median household income as determined annually by the U.S. department of housing and urban development (HUD) and adjusted for household size by HUD and by Rhode Island housing and mortgage finance corporation for the designated statistical area that includes Richmond as of the date of marketing of the dwelling unit to which it is being applied.

(Ord. dated 5-6-08)

 

Buffer.  Land maintained in either a natural or landscaped state, used to minimize or eliminate the impacts of development on surrounding areas. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Building.  Any structure used or intended for supporting or sheltering any use or occupancy. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Building envelope.  The three-dimensional space on a lot within which construction of a structure is permitted according to the minimum yard requirements, maximum height rquirements, and other dimensional regulations applicable to the lot.

(Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

Building height.  The vertical distance from the average grade at the outermost corners of the foundation to the top of the highest point of the roof or structure, excluding spires, chimneys, and flag poles. In a flood hazard area, building height shall be measured from the base flood elevation. If a building in a flood hazard area is designed with additional height, also known as freeboard, to mitigate the potential effects of flooding, up to five feet of that additional height shall be excluded from the building height calculation. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 5-16-17; Ord. dated 11-20-18)

 

Conservation development.  A type of land development project that utilizes prescribed site planning techniques to conserve open land, protect site features and provide flexibility in the siting of structures, services and infrastructure. 

(Ord. dated 9-2-03 (part); ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Common ownership.  Lots are in common ownership when title is held by identical persons or entities.

(Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Community residence.  A home or residential facility where children or adults live in a family setting and may receive assistance or supervised care, including but not limited to:

 

A.  A residence for no more than six mentally handicapped persons that is licensed by the state;

 

B.  A group home for no more than eight mentally disabled, mentally handicapped, or physically handicapped persons that is licensed by the state;

 

C.  A family day care home;

 

D.  A transitional residence providing care or assistance to no more than six unrelated persons, or up to three families totaling no more than eight persons, for at least sixty days but no longer than two years. 

 

Facilities for persons formerly institutionalized for criminal conduct that facilitate the transition to society and substance abuse treatment facilities are not community residences. Community residences are permitted in all zoning districts where residential use is permitted.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Comprehensive plan.  The comprehensive community plan adopted and approved pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws title 45, ch. 22.2.  

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Day care - Day care center.  A day care center that is not a family day care home as defined in this Chapter.  If the day care center is operated by a business for its employees and is located in the same building or on the same parcel as the business, the use shall be considered an accessory use to the business. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 5-4-04 (part))

 

Day care - Family day care home.  A home or residence other than the home or residence of the individuals receiving day care in lieu of family care or supervision, in which the supervision is offered at the same time to six or fewer individuals who are not relatives of the care giver, provided that the home or residence may contain no more than a total of eight individuals receiving day care. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 5-4-04 (part))

 

Density, residential.  The number of dwelling units per unit of land.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

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. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Development plan review. The process whereby the planning board reviews the site plans, maps and other documentation of a development to determine the compliance with the stated purposes and standards of the zoning ordinance.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Domestic livestock.  Cattle, cows, sheep, horses, ponies, mules, asses, burros, donkeys, goats, llamas, alpacas, rabbits, chickens, roosters, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, pea fowl, peacocks, ostriches, and emus.

(Ord. dated 7-15-97(part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Dwelling unit.  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. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Equestrian academy.  A facility that provides daily care to more than three horses, mules, asses, burros, donkeys and where one or more of the following activities take place: riding instruction; hiring of horses for riding; training of horses; and equestrian shows, exhibits, or competitions to which the public may be admitted.

(Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Equestrian boarding or breeding facility.  A facility where horses and other equines are boarded or bred that provides daily care to more than three horses, mules, asses, burros, or donkeys.

(Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Extractive industry.  The extraction of minerals, including: solids, such as coal and ores, and sand and gravel; liquids, such as crude petroleum; and gases, such as natural gases.  The term also includes quarrying; well operation for oil or gas extraction; 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. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Family.  A person or persons related by blood, marriage or other legal means.   

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Farm lot.  A type of lot in a conservation development or residential compound in the agricultural overlay district. The lot is intended for residential use and also for farming or forestry use because of its size and its prime agricultural soils. There are two types of farm lots:

 

A.  Farm lots in conservation developments: A farm lot in a conservation development is made up of some or all of the subdivision's required open space. One acre of the lot is reserved for the principal residential structure. If there is more than one farm lot in a conservation development, one must be at least 25 acres.    

 

B.  Farm lots in residential compounds: All lots in a residential compound are farm lots of at least eleven (11) acres. 

(Ord. dated 9-7-10; Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Farmers’ market.  A temporary, seasonal market at which individual vendors may offer locally-grown produce, agricultural products and home-baked goods from open-air or semi-enclosed temporary stalls, stands or structures. Farmers’ markets are typically conducted regularly at the same location on the same day or days of the week.

(Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

Flood hazard area.  An area subject to flooding from a storm having a one percent (1%) chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. Flood hazard areas are delineated on the FEMA flood hazard map that is incorporated into the zoning map.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 9-7-10; Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Ground floor area.  The area of the ground floor of a building or a portion of a building in square feet, measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls or from the center line of  common walls.

 (Ord. dated 9-7-10; Ord. dated 11-3-15)

 

Groundwater.  Water found underground that completely fills the open spaces between particles of sand, gravel, clay, silt, and consolidated rock fractures.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Gross floor area.  The sum of the horizontal area of all floors of a building, excluding unoccupied basements or attics, measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls or from the center line of a common wall separating two buildings or units within a building.

(Ord. dated 9-7-10; Ord. dated 1-2-18)

 

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 and facilities for the preparation and storage of food within the dwelling unit. A family may include servants or other employees, and may be a group of persons unrelated by blood. The terms “household unit” and “dwelling unit” are synonymous when determining the number of units allowed within any structure on any lot in a zoning district. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Infrastructure.  Facilities and services needed to sustain residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and other activities. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Junk.  The term "junk" includes, but is not limited to: old or scrap copper, brass, rope, rags, paper, trash, rubber debris, waste or junked, dismantled or wrecked automobiles, or parts thereof, iron steel, and other old or scrap ferrous or nonferrous material. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part))

 

Land development project.  A project in which one or more lots are developed or redeveloped as a coordinated site for a complex of uses or structures.  Land development projects include, but are not limited to, conservation development subdivisions, planned unit developments, and planned district developments; any development that contains more than one principal structure, one or more multifamily buildings, or more than twenty-four (24) parking spaces is a land development project.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 9-2-03 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Large-scale retail development.  A retail structure or group of structures with a gross floor area of more than 50,000 sq. ft  where pharmaceuticals, health and beauty aids, furniture, appliances, or other household merchandise, clothing, or other consumer goods are sold, and that may also include office space, movie theaters, or indoor recreational uses, but shall not include supermarkets.

(Ord. dated 9-7-10)

 

Lot.  The basic development unit for determining the area, depth and other dimensional regulations of a parcel of land; or a parcel of land whose boundaries have been established by a legal instrument such as a recorded deed or recorded map and is recognized as a separate legal entity for purposes of transfer of title. 

 

A.  Corner lot: A lot with frontage on two substantially perpendicular streets. See Fig. 1-C.

 

B.  Interior lot: A lot with frontage on one street. See Fig. 1-C.

 

C.  Through lot: A lot other than a corner lot that fronts on two substantially parallel streets, or  fronts on two streets that do not intersect at the boundaries of the lot. See Fig. 1-C.

 

D.  Lot front yard: The area between the front lot line and the nearest principal building, extending the full width of the lot . See Fig. 1-E.

 

E.  Lot rear yard: The area between the rear lot line and the nearest principal building, extending  the full width of the lot. See Fig. 1-E.

 

F. Lot side yard: The area between a side lot line and the principal building, extending the full depth of the principal building. See Fig. 1-E. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94(part); Ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 5-16-17; Ord. dated 1-2-18)

 

Lot area.  The total area within the boundaries of a lot, usually reported in acres or square feet. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94(part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Lot building coverage.  The percentage of the total area of a lot that is or may be covered by buildings.  

(Ord. dated 12-19-94(part); Ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

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. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94(part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Lot frontage.  That portion of a lot abutting a street. Lot frontage must be contiguous frontage to meet minimum frontage requirements. See Fig. 1-C.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94(part); Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

Lot line.  A line of record, bounding a lot, that divides a lot from another lot or from a street.  

Lot lines include:

 

A.  Front lot line:  The lot line separating a lot from a street right-of-way. On an interior lot, the lot line abutting a street. On a developed corner lot, the front lot line is the lot line currently used for that purpose. On an undeveloped corner lot, the front lot line is the lot line chosen by the property owner when initial development begins. On a through lot, the lot line abutting the street providing the primary access to the lot. See Figs. 1-B, 1-D, 1-F.

 

B.  Rear lot line:  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 ten feet in length entirely within the lot, parallel to and at a maximum distance from the front lot line. If the front lot line is a curved line, then the rear lot line shall be assumed to be a line not less than ten feet long, lying within the lot and parallel to a line tangent to the front property line at its midpoint. See Figs. 1-B, 1-D, 1-F.

 

C.  Side lot line:  Any lot line other than a front or rear lot line.  On a corner lot, a side lot line is along the street lot line other than the front lot line. See Fig. 1-E.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 5-16-17; Ord. dated 1-2-18)

 

Lot setback line.  A line that delineates the minimum distance required between a front lot line, side lot line, or rear lot line and a building.

(Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

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. See Fig. 1-A.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

Low- or moderate-income housing.  Housing that is subsidized by a federal, state, or municipal government subsidy, that is affordable to low or moderate income households, as defined in the applicable federal or state statute or regulation, and that will remain affordable through a land lease and/or deed restriction for at least thirty (30) years from initial occupancy.

(Ord. dated 5-6-08)

 

Minimum lot area.  The smallest contiguous area permitted for a buildable lot. Freshwater wetlands and regulatory wetland buffers abutting surface water bodies that provide public drinking water, flood hazard areas, easements for above-ground utilities, and land with ledge or rock outcrops within four feet of the surface area may be included in any lot but shall not make up any part of the minimum lot area.  Land shall not be excluded from minimum lot area because of its natural gradient.

(Ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

Mixed use.  A combination of land uses within a single development, building, tract or parcel. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Mobile home.  A structure designed or used for year-round residential occupancy built upon or having a frame or chassis to which wheels may be attached by which it may be moved on a highway, whether or not such structure actually has, at any given time had such wheels attached, or is jacked up or skirted, and attached to a permanent slab foundation.  “Manufactured home” means the same as “mobile home”.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Mobile home park.  Privately owned land upon which two or more mobile homes occupied for permanent residential use are located.

(Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Modification.  Dimensional relief issued by the zoning enforcement officer rather than by the zoning board of review. The zoning enforcement officer may issue only the relief specified in Ch. 18.59.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Figure 1

 

Figure 1

 

Multi-family building.  A building that contains three or more principal dwelling units.

(Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Municipal subsidy.  Assistance that is made available by the Town to make housing affordable, including but not limited to density bonuses, waiver of growth rate controls, waiver of impact fees, or direct financial support from a restricted account established for that purpose.

(Ord. dated 5-6-08)

 

Nonconformance.  A structure, parcel of land, or use that lawfully existed at the time a zoning ordinance was adopted or amended but does not conform to the provisions of the ordinance. There are two types of nonconformance:

 

A.  A lawfully established use of land that is not permitted in the zoning district is nonconforming by use.  A building or structure containing more dwelling units than are permitted by the use regulations of the zoning ordinance is nonconforming by use.

 

B.  A lawfully-built structure or lawfully-created lot that does not comply with the dimensional regulations of this title is nonconforming by dimension. Dimensional regulations include all regulations other than use requirements.  A structure that contains a number of dwelling units permitted by the use regulations of this title, but does not satisfy the ordinance’s density regulations is nonconforming by dimension. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Overlay district.  A zoning district superimposed over one or more other zoning districts, or parts of districts, that imposes requirements that are more or less restrictive than those of the underlying district.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Owner.  Any person or other legal entity who alone, or jointly, or severally with others: (a) has a legal title to any premises, or (b) has control of any premises as agent, executor, executrix, administrator, administrator trustee, guardian of the estate of the holder of a legal title, or the holder of equitable title. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Performance standards.  Criteria or limits that a particular use or process either must meet or may not exceed. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Permitted use.  A use by right that is specifically authorized in a particular zoning district. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Planned development.  A land development project that is developed as a single entity and  contains one or more structures and/or uses with appurtenant common areas. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Planned district development.  A development characterized by a unified site design for clustered buildings, common open space, and a mixture of building types and land uses.  

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Preapplication conference.  The planning board’s informal review of a proposed development that takes place before formal submission of an application.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Prime agricultural soils.  Soils identified in maps and other data prepared by the natural resources conservation service, U.S. department of agriculture, or its successor agency, as prime agricultural soils.

(Ord. dated 9-7-10)

 

Redevelopment.  Any significant change to an existing development or an existing non-residential use, including but not limited to demolition of a structure, expansion of a structure’s footprint by more than 50 percent, construction of a new structure, or change in the use of a building or land. 

(Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Site plan.   A development plan for one or more lots that shows existing and proposed conditions and improvements.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 5-16-17)

 

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. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Substandard lot of record.  A lawfully-created lot that does not comply with the dimensional regulations of this title.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Supermarket.  A retail establishment primarily devoted to the sale of food that may also sell household goods and convenience items.

(Ord. dated 9-7-10; Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Variance.  Permission to depart from the literal requirements of this Title or authorization to construct or maintain a building or use that is prohibited by this Title.  There are two types of variance:

 

A.  A use variance is permission to depart from the use requirements of this Title when property or a structure cannot yield any beneficial use if it is made to conform to the ordinance.

 

B.  A dimensional variance is permission to depart from the dimensional regulations in the ordinance governing a permitted use when conforming to those regulations would amount to more than a mere inconvenience. The fact that a use may be more profitable or that a structure may be more valuable after the relief is granted is not grounds for relief. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 10-21-03 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Wetland, coastal.  “Coastal wetland” is as defined in R.I. Gen. Laws § 2-1-14. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part))

 

Wetland, freshwater.  “Freshwater wetland” is as defined in R.I. Gen. Laws § 2-1-20. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part))

 

Zoning certificate.  A written, signed determination by the zoning enforcement officer that a use, structure or lot complies with this Title, is legally nonconforming, or has been authorized by variance or modification. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Zoning map.  The map or maps that delineate the zoning districts and overlay districts in this Title. A zoning map is part of the zoning ordinance.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94 (part); Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

REFERENCES

R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 42-128-8.1, 45-22.2-3, 45-24-31, 45-24-32(2), 45-24-35, 45-24-37, 45-53-3, 46-13.1-3.

 

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