18.41.010        Purpose.

            18.41.020        Maximum density for conservation development.

            18.41.030        Required open space.

            18.41.040        Zoning incentives.

            18.41.050        Modification of lot requirements.

            18.41.060        Uses permitted within open space areas.

            18.41.070        Agricultural overlay district.


18.41.010   Purpose.  The purposes of this chapter are:

A.  To conserve large contiguous areas of open land;


B.  To preserve historical and archaeological resources and scenic views;


C.  To provide greater design flexibility and efficiency in siting of buildings and infrastructure  in order to reduce length of streets and the amount of impervious surfaces;


D.  To provide for a diversity of lot sizes, building densities, and housing choices to accommodate a variety of residential preferences, so that the population diversity of the community may be maintained;


E.  To implement municipal policies to conserve a variety of irreplaceable and environmentally important resources identified in the comprehensive plan;


F.  To provide reasonable incentives for the creation of greenway systems;


G.  To implement land use, transportation and community service policies identified in the comprehensive plan;


H.  To protect areas with productive agricultural soils for continued or future agricultural use by conserving blocks of land large enough to allow for efficient farm operations; and


I.  To create neighborhoods with direct visual and physical access to open land.

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


18.41.020  Maximum density for conservation development.  The maximum residential density in a conservation development shall not exceed the density that would be permitted by a yield plan, as that term is defined in the land development and subdivision regulations, plus any incentive dwelling units and any dwelling units required by Chapter 18.18 of this Title.   

(Ord. dated 9-2-03 (part); ord. dated 5-2-06; ord. dated 11-19-13)


18.41.030   Required open space.  Every conservation development shall include open space. Except in the Agricultural Overlay District, the open space shall be a separate lot. The minimum size of the open space lot is based on the amount of land suitable for development in the parcel, as shown in the table below.

(Ord. dated 6-16-15)


Zoning District

Open space as a percentage of land suitable for development

Agricultural Overlay








G.B. L.I., I.,PD, SV.



18.41.040  Zoning incentives.  

A.  The Planning Board may increase the residential density of a conservation development where the developer has provided at least 20% (twenty percent) more open space than the minimum required, and where the additional open space would benefit the conservation goals of the town by:

            1.         providing more contiguous open space, or

            2.         protecting the rural character of the town, or

            3.         reducing the amount of infrastructure needed, or

            4.         preserving a specific natural, historical, or environmental feature, or

            5.         reducing development in a state-designated wellhead protection area.


The burden is on the subdivider to prove to the Planning Board that the conservation development with a density bonus would be a benefit to the town.


B.  Density bonuses shall be determined according to the following table. All figures shall be rounded down to the nearest whole number:


Amount of open space provided beyond minimum


Density multiplier

20% to 29%

Factor of 1.05

30% to 39%

Factor of 1.1

40% or more

Factor of 1.15


C.  No conservation development in an aquifer overlay district shall be eligible for a density bonus.

(Ord. dated 9-2-03 (part); ord. dated 5-2-06; ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 6-16-15)


18.41.050  Modification of lot requirements.

A.  Lot size, shape, and other dimensional characteristics may be modified to conform more closely to the natural features of the land. The following minimum dimensional regulations shall  apply:



Lot area

 (sq. ft.)



Front yard


Rear yard


Side yard


Side, rear yard depth - accessory structures (feet)


bldg. coverage

Single family









Two family

















B.  The planning board may approve a reduction in the frontage of any lot to a minimum of twenty (20) feet. On such a lot, front yard depth is measured from the reduced frontage line. The preliminary plan approval shall identify the lot or lots with reduced frontage and shall include a finding that the reduction is appropriate to the site and the subdivision design.


C.  The maximum building heights for principal and accessory structures in a conservation development are those of the underlying zoning district

(Ord. dated 9-2-03 (part); ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 6-16-15)


18.41.060  Uses permitted within open space areas.  The open space in a conservation development shall be used for passive or active recreation or for agricultural purposes, or shall be preserved as a conservation area. Stormwater drainage areas, on-site wastewater treatment systems and wells may be located in open space if the planning board finds that the location of the facility is compatible with nearby uses.

(Ord. dated 9-2-03 (part); Ord. dated 9-7-10; Ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 6-16-15)


18.41.070  Agricultural overlay district.  Conservation developments in the agricultural overlay district shall satisfy all the requirements of Chapter 18.46 of this Title and the corresponding requirements of the land development and subdivision regulations. If more than one farm is created, one must be least twenty-five (25) acres. Additional smaller open space lots may be created if they are necessary to accommodate stormwater management features, fire cisterns, or particular site conditions.

(Ord. dated 9-7-10; Ord dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 6-16-15)



R.I. Gen. Laws § 45-24-33(b)(1), § 45-24-47; Code ch. 18.46; §18.20.010; §18.20.030; land development and subdivision regulations § 4.1.



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