18.43.010 Planned unit development.

18.43.020 Purpose.

18.43.030 Objectives.

18.43.040 Standards and requirements for planned unit development districts.

18.43.050 Procedure and applications.

18.43.060 Planning board approval.

18.43.070 Findings required for approval of a planned unit development.

18.43.080 Planning board and town council action.

18.43.010 Planned unit development. Planned unit development (PUD) is a development characterized by a unified site design for clustered buildings, common open space, and a mixture of building types and land uses. It permits the planning of a project and the calculation of densities over the entire development, rather than on an individual lot-by-lot basis. It is a process mainly revolving around the development plan review process, in which public officials have considerable involvement in determining the nature of the development. It includes aspects of both subdivision and zoning regulations and, in the town, will be administered through a rezoning process. Planned unit development may be used for residential complexes, shopping centers, industrial and office parks, and mixed-use developments. Planned unit development allows the unified, and hence more desirable and attractive, development of an area based on a comprehensive development plan. Planned unit development can have a number of advantages over conventional lot-by-lot development including: mixing building types and uses to create communities; combining often unusable yard space on individual lots into larger common open spaces; offering greater opportunities to reduce building costs; lower street and utility costs resulting from reduced frontage; and the possibility of maintaining the permitted density of an area while keeping desired amenities.

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

18.43.020 Purpose. To encourage and provide a means for desirable residential, industrial and commercial developments, and conservation in the town, which will feature variations in siting, mixed land uses and/or varied dwelling types; to preserve open space for community facilities and aesthetic considerations; to provide a more efficient and economical development technique from the viewpoint of both the town and the developer; and to encourage land use development that is responsive to the town’s unique environmental resources and human needs.

The amenities and compatibility of planned unit development districts are to be insured through adoption and periodic updating of a comprehensive community plan reflecting the physical development goals of the community.

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

18.43.030 Objectives. The objectives of the planned unit development are to:

A. Maximize opportunities for flexibility in the design of large developments by providing a more desirable use and arrangement than would be possible through the conventional application of ordinance requirements.

B. Encourage developers to better use the natural features and protect the natural and historic resources by providing the opportunity for more creative approaches in the development of land.

C. Encourage a more efficient, aesthetic and desirable use of land for recreation, conservation and open space uses.

D. Encourage and promote variety in the physical development of land use in the town.

E. Allow for efficient provisions and effective use of physical improvements and municipal services relative to land use development.

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

18.43.040 Standards and requirements for planned unit development districts.

A. Planned unit developments may be established on parcels of land which are suitable for, and of sufficient size to be planned and developed in a manner consistent with the purpose of this chapter and the objectives of the ordinance codified in this chapter.

Minimum acreage suggested for PUD:










Not allowed in NB zones







No planned unit development shall include less than the suggested acreage in contiguous land unless the town council finds that property of less acreage is suitable as a planned unit development by virtue of its unique historical character, topography, location or land features.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, no planned unit development shall be less than two acres in GB and I zones.

B. No planned unit development shall be reviewed by the planning board unless and until there is on file with the town written consent of every property owner within such proposed development agreeing that the applicant(s) shall be bound by the conditions and regulations proposed for the planned unit development. The applicant shall be required to produce evidence of a full ownership interest prior to final rezoning action.

C. Development standards for area, coverage, building height, yard requirements, parking and screening for planned unit development uses shall generally be of the town's existing residential, commercial and industrial zones. In no case shall uses prohibited in the town be allowed in a planned unit development. Standards for public improvement shall be governed by applicable town ordinances. Exceptions to these existing development standards may be made by the planning board only when the board finds that such exceptions encourage a more desirable living environment and are warranted in terms of the total proposed development.

D. The total density and building bulk of any proposed planned unit development may not be increased to exceed density and building requirements of the underlying zoning district. However, lot dimensions, building setbacks and areas do not have to meet the standard zone requirements providing that a more functional and desirable use of the property is made.

E. All water supply sources and sewage treatment systems must be consistent with the Rhode Island Department of Health and Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management regulations. All such regulations are considered part of this chapter together with any new regulations that the Rhode Island State Department of Health or the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management may add from time to time.

F. All areas proposed as open space must meet the requirements of the planning board as to shape, size and location and proposed uses. Appropriate recreational and open space easements must be conveyed to the town to ensure perpetuity.

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

18.43.050 Procedure and applications.

A. Development Plan Review and Approval. The applicant shall apply to the town council for general concept approval for a planned unit development. The council will then refer the proposal to the planning board for site plan review. Upon final site plan approval by the planning board, the proposed development plan will be returned to the town council with an application for rezoning of the planned unit development area. Site plan review of the proposed planned unit development by the planning board will follow the preapplication, preliminary and final review stages as for a subdivision review and will require the same minimum level of information for each stage. In addition, the planning board may require additional information, as needed, for its review of a particular planned unit development proposal. Substantial documentation must be submitted by the PUD applicant to show that the proposed design meets the intent of this chapter by providing a living and working environment that is desirable and adequate and which meets community goals. Such documentation shall include elevations of the proposed buildings, detailed site plans, impact analysis and other information as required by the planning board.

B. Plan Review Phases. Approval, in principal, of the preapplication sketch plan shall be limited to conform to subdivision regulations, as appropriate, and to the general acceptability of the land uses proposed and their interrelationship. Such approval shall not be construed to endorse precise location of uses, configuration of parcels, or engineering feasibility. Any preapplication submission shall be prepared by a qualified land planning specialist, registered engineer or registered professional land surveyor in the state of Rhode Island and shall include the following information presented in a general, schematic fashion:

1. Location map showing the proposed project within the context of a one-quarter mile area, with existing streets and community facilities, approved projects and existing land uses;

2. Proposed land uses, population densities and building intensities;

3. Proposed circulation pattern, indicating all public streets;

4. Proposed parks, playgrounds, school sites and open spaces;

5. A land use marketability study of proposed commercial uses, if the property is not zoned for commercial purposes at the time of submittal;

6. Identification of the development’s construction phasing;

7. Relation to future land uses in surrounding area and comprehensive plan;

8. Anticipated impact of the proposed development on the existing environment and municipal services;

9. Comments from local commissions and agencies who would have jurisdiction/interest in the proposed development;

10. Any additional information that the Richmond planning board may require.

Preliminary and final stages of site plan review will follow procedures of the subdivision process with the addition of any information the planning board may require.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94(part); Ord. dated 5-7-96 (part))

18.43.060 Planning board approval. Planned unit development approval by the planning board, valid for one year, shall be secured for each phase of a planned unit development as delineated on the final development plan. Minor changes to an approved planned unit development pertaining to siting may be approved by the planning board providing the change is in accord with the intent expressed in the final development plan.

A. The planning board shall indicate its approval or disapproval of the final development plan to the applicant by certified mail, precisely stating the reasons for disapproval within forty-five days of the submission of such final development plan to the planning board.

B. Preliminary and final stages of site plan review will follow the procedures of the land development and subdivision regulations for a major land development or major subdivision with the addition of any information the planning board may require.

C. If the final development plan is disapproved by the planning board, the applicant may apply to the platting board of review for a review of the decision of the planning board.

D. If the applicant wants to make an amendment to an approved plan, a written request shall be submitted to the planning board. If, in the opinion of the planning board, a requested change is sufficiently substantiated, the planning board shall require the submission of an amended plan.

(Ord. dated 12-19-94(part); Ord. dated 5-7-96 (part))

18.43.070 Findings required for approval of a planned unit development. The planning board, after public hearing, may recommend to the town council the establishment of a planned unit development. The town council, after public hearing, may establish a planned unit development district, by ordinance, provided that the facts submitted with the application and presented at the hearings establish that:

A. The proposed planned unit development, or given phase thereof, can be substantially completed within four years of the establishment of the planned unit development district;

B. Each individual phase of development, as well as the total development, can exist as an independent unit capable of creating an environment of sustained desirability and stability or that adequate assurance will be provided that such objective will be attained; that the uses proposed will not be detrimental to present and potential surrounding uses, but will have a beneficial effect which could not be achieved under existing conventional zoning;

C. The streets and thoroughfares proposed are suit-able and adequate to carry anticipated traffic, and will not generate traffic in such amounts as to overload the street networks outside the planned unit development district unless the planned unit development includes improvements which will mitigate the impacts caused by increased traffic and use;

D. Any proposed commercial development or shopping center can be justified economically at the locations proposed;

E. Any exception from standard ordinance requirements is warranted by the design and amenities incorporated in the final development plan;

F. The proposed development will not have significant negative impacts on the surrounding area and that impacts on the existing environment will be mitigated as much as is possible through site design and other methods, as agreed to during the site plan review process;

G. The area surrounding the development can be planned and zoned in coordination and substantial compatibility with the proposed development;

H. The planned unit development district is in conformance with the comprehensive community plan of the town;

I. The existing or proposed utility services are adequate for the proposed population and uses.

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

18.43.080 Planning board and town council action. A. If, from the facts presented, the town council is unable to make the necessary findings, the application shall be denied. In taking action, the planning board may recommend denial to the town council of the final development plan and development schedule as submitted, or may recommend approval of the plan and schedule subject to specified amendments. The town council, after receiving the recommendation from the planning board, shall make final determination of zone change.

B. Major changes in a final development plan shall be considered the same as a change in the zoning map and shall be made in accordance with the provisions of this title.

C. At the time of adopting any ordinance establishing a planned unit development, the town council shall make appropriate arrangements with the applicant, which will insure the accomplishment, at the scheduled times, of the public improvements and grants of easement shown on the approved development plans.

D. If the zoning inspector certifies that no development has occurred on the planned unit development within one year after the district is created, the property shall revert to its zoning classification prior to the establishment of the planned unit development.

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


R.I. Gen. Laws § 45-24-47.

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