Chapter 18.60 ZONING ENFORCEMENT

 

18.60.010        Zoning enforcement officer – Authority and duties.

18.60.020        Appeal of zoning enforcement officer’s determination.

18.60.030        Zoning board of review hearing and decision.

18.60.040        Violations – penalties – injunctive relief.

 

18.60.010   Zoning enforcement officer – authority and duties.  The zoning enforcement officer is responsible for interpretation and enforcement of this title. 

 

A.  The town council shall appoint a zoning enforcement officer with minimum qualifications of an associate’s degree and one year of experience in zoning enforcement or the equivalent education, training, and experience. 

 

B.  The zoning enforcement officer shall have the following authority and duties:

1.   Upon written request, the zoning enforcement officer shall issue any certificate, determination, authorization, or permit required by this code, including but not limited to the following:

a.   A zoning certificate stating that an existing use, structure or lot complies with this title, was established by variance or special use permit, or is legally nonconforming.

b.   A written zoning determination concerning the application of this title to an existing or proposed use.

The zoning enforcement officer shall provide the requested certificate or determination within fifteen (15) days of receiving the request. If no response is received within fifteen (15) days, the person making the request has the right to file an appeal to the zoning board of review to request a determination.

2.   The zoning enforcement officer shall review each application for a variance or special use permit at the time it is submitted. The zoning enforcement officer may recommend to the zoning board of review that an application be referred to the planning board for advisory development review pursuant to chapter 18.54 of this Title, for a determination of consistency or inconsistency with the comprehensive plan, or for any other written advisory opinion. A copy of any such recommendation by the zoning enforcement officer shall be sent to the applicant.

3.   The zoning enforcement officer shall investigate any suspected violation of this title. If the zoning enforcement officer determines that a violation exists, he or she may issue a written zoning violation notice to the owner of the property or refer the matter to the town solicitor for legal action. A violation notice shall specifically describe the violation and the action necessary to correct it, and shall state the time period within which the violation must be corrected.

4.   The zoning enforcement officer shall grant modification permits pursuant to chapter 18.59 of this Title.

5.   The zoning enforcement officer shall keep a written record of the issuance of every  certificate, determination, authorization, or permit, all recommendations to the zoning board of review, and all investigations of violations and violation notices.

(Ord. dated 4-1-14)

 

18.60.020  Appeal of zoning enforcement officer’s determination.

A.  An aggrieved party shall have the right to appeal a decision or violation notice by the zoning enforcement officer to the zoning board of review. The appeal shall be taken within thirty (30) days from the date the appellant received the decision or violation notice or the date on which the appellant knew or should have known of the decision or violation notice.

 

B.  An aggrieved party appealing a decision or violation notice shall complete a form provided by the clerk of the zoning board of review. A copy of the decision or violation notice shall be filed with the appeal.

 

C.  The zoning enforcement officer shall immediately transmit to the zoning board of review all of the documents constituting the record upon which the action appealed from was taken. The zoning board of review clerk shall transmit notice of the appeal to the planning board.

 

D.  An appeal shall stay all proceedings in furtherance of the action appealed from, unless the zoning enforcement officer submits a certified statement to the zoning board of review that because of facts stated, a stay would in the officer’s opinion cause imminent peril to life or property. In that case, proceedings shall not be stayed other than by a restraining order issued by the superior court, after notice to the zoning enforcement officer.

(Ord. dated 4-1-14; Ord. dated 6-16-15)

 

18.60.030  Zoning board of review hearing and decision.

A.  Notice shall be given and the appeal shall be heard in the same manner as applications for variances and special use permits are heard pursuant to chapter 18.52 of this Title. Any party may appear in person or by agent or attorney.

 

B.  The zoning board of review may reverse or affirm wholly or partly and may modify the order, requirement, decision, or determination appealed from, and may make any orders, requirements, decisions, or determinations that ought to be made, and to that end has the powers of the zoning enforcement officer. The concurring votes of three (3) of the five (5) voting members are required to reverse any order, requirement, decision, or determination by the zoning enforcement officer.

 

C.  The zoning board of review decision shall be issued in the same manner as decisions on  variances and special use permits pursuant to chapter 18.52 of this Title. 

 

D.  An aggrieved party may appeal the decision of the zoning board of review to the superior court in the same manner that appeals are taken from other zoning board of review decisions under chapter 18.52 of this Title.

(Ord. dated 4-1-14)

 

18.060.040  Violations – penalties – injunctive relief.

A.  Any violation of the provisions of this Title, or any terms or conditions imposed by any decision of the zoning board of review or the zoning enforcement officer, shall be punishable by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500). Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.

 

B. The town may bring suit in the district court or the superior court to impose a fine for violation of this title or any terms or conditions imposed by any decision of the zoning board of review or the zoning enforcement officer; to compel compliance this Title or any terms or conditions imposed by any decision of the zoning board of review or the zoning enforcement officer; or to restrain violation of this Title or any terms or conditions imposed by any decision of the zoning board of review or the zoning enforcement officer. An action for the imposition of a fine may be consolidated with an action for injunctive relief in the superior court. The suit may seek:

1.   To restrain the erection, alteration, or use of any building, structure, sign, or land erected, altered, or used in violation of the provisions of this Title or any terms or conditions imposed by any decision of the zoning board of review or the zoning enforcement officer, and to order its removal or abatement; and

2.   To compel compliance with the provisions of this Title or any terms or conditions imposed by any decision of the zoning board of review or the zoning enforcement officer; and

3.   To order the removal by the property owner of any building, structure, sign, or improvement existing in violation of this Title or any terms or conditions imposed by any decision of the zoning board of review or the zoning enforcement officer, and to authorize the zoning enforcement officer, in the case of default by the property owner, to remove it at the property owner’s expense; and

4.   To order reimbursement to the town for any work or materials done or furnished by or at the cost of the town; and

5.   To order restoration by the property owner, where practicable; and

6.   To impose fines and other penalties for violation of this title or any terms or conditions imposed by any decision of the zoning board of review or the zoning enforcement officer.

(Ord. dated 4-1-14)

 

REFERENCES: R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 45-24-31(65), 54, 60, 62, 63, 64, 65, 68; Zoning Board of Review Rules of Procedure for the Submission and Consideration of Petitions, as amended.

 

 

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