Office of Planning 

The Office of Planning (commonly referred to as Planning) is an agency of the Department of Development Services and is located downtown, on the lower level of Westerly Town Hall. Our ambition is to continuously make Westerly a more prosperous, sustainable, and beautiful place to live, work, and enjoy.

As a process and municipal function, our work incorporates several disciplines including urban planning, architecture, urban design, historic preservation, social and natural sciences, and land use law. To fulfill our mission, our staff draws on a dynamic skill set to:

  • Engage with residents, stakeholders, and organizations, as well as other government agencies, to ensure local growth aligns strategic priorities with community needs and aspirations
  • Maintain the municipal Land Development and Subdivision Regulations that, together with the municipal Zoning Ordinance (maintained by the Zoning Office), provides the policy and regulatory basis for all local land use and development, as mandated by State and municipal laws
  • Serve as staff and technical support to the Planning Board in its yearly review of approximately 70 applications and ensure that processes, reviews, and approvals are efficient, consistent, and user-friendly
  • Serve as staff and technical support to several additional public bodies, including the Architectural Review Board and the Economic Development Commission
  • Provide technical assistance and analysis on housing, land use, architecture, urban design, historic preservation, public infrastructure and facilities, transportation, demography, and public spaces (including open spaces, civic spaces, and the waterfront) to better inform government agencies and the public in their strategic and capital planning decisions
  • Promote high-quality, sustainable development that respects and enhances the Town's historic and contemporary contexts
  • Capitalize on the Town's assets, including its built and natural environments as well as its commercial, artistic, and cultural activities, and advance regulatory changes when appropriate
  • Prepare and manage the Comprehensive Plan as well as master plans and neighborhood plans
  • Design and implement human scale projects, including complete streets, parks, and other public spaces, which offer exciting and unique opportunities for community involvement and interaction

Important Points:


  • All Planning applications require review by the Zoning Office as part of the permitting process. In certain cases, a project may require one or more modifications, variances, and/or special use permits. Be sure to contact the Zoning Office as part of your project planning.

Relevant Documents:

"The vision for the Town of Westerly is to preserve and enhance its quality of life for all generations as a safe, resilient, and compassionate community with a healthy environment, a distinctive heritage, extraordinary cultural and natural resources, a strong, stable, equitable economy, and a responsible and publicly-engaged government.

-Town of Westerly 2020-2040 Comprehensive Community Plan