Process Overview

The Westerly Land Development and Subdivision Regulations provide complete descriptions of the following processes:

  • Administrative Subdivision
    A re-subdivision of one or more existing lots which yields no additional lots for development nor involves any street creations nor extensions. In most cases, this process only involves extinguishing and/or adjusting existing lot boundaries. A decision is normally rendered by the Planning Office in a single review stage (Final Plan).
  • Minor Subdivision
    A residential subdivision of land consisting of five or fewer units or lots, provided it does not require any modifications and/or waivers as specified in the Westerly Land Development and Subdivision Regulations. A decision is rendered by the Planning Board in two review stages (Preliminary Plan and Final Plan). Prior to the first review stage (Preliminary Plan), a Pre-Application/Concept Plan can be submitted at the request of either the Town or the Applicant to encourage information sharing and discussion of the project concepts early on.
  • Minor Land Development
    A development plan for a residential project, provided it does not require any modifications and/or waivers as specified in the Westerly Land Development and Subdivision Regulations. A decision is rendered by the Planning Board in two review stages (Preliminary Plan and Final Plan). Prior to the first review stage (Preliminary Plan), a Pre-Application/Concept Plan can be submitted at the request of either the Town or the Applicant to encourage information sharing and discussion of the project concepts early on.
  • Major Subdivision
    A subdivision not classified as either an Administrative Subdivision or a Minor Subdivision. This process involves all non-residential subdivisions and all residential subdivision consisting of six or more units or lots. A decision is rendered by the Planning Board in three review stages (Master Plan, Preliminary Plan, and Final Plan). Prior to the first review stage (Master Plan), a Pre-Application/ Concept Plan can be submitted at the request of either the Town or the Applicant to encourage information sharing and discussion of the project concepts early on.
  • Major Land Development
    A development plan not classified as a Minor Land Development. This process involves all non-residential projects. A decision is rendered by the Planning Board in three review stages (Master Plan, Preliminary Plan, and Final Plan). Prior to the first review stage (Master Plan), a Pre-Application/ Concept Plan can be submitted at the request of either the Town or the Applicant to encourage information sharing and discussion of the project concepts early on.

Most of the steps in these processes are mandated by the Rhode Island General Laws, specifically by the Rhode Island Land Development and Subdivision Review Enabling Act of 1992 (also known as the Development Review Act).

In addition to these, the municipal Zoning Ordinance provides complete descriptions of the following processes administered by the Planning Board and/or the Town Planner:

  • Development Plan Review
    A development plan requiring a Special Use Permit, a Variance, an amendment to the municipal Zoning Ordinance, and/or a revision to the official Zoning Map, or requiring that the review be conducted to assure the orderly development of uses which, by their nature or scale and intensity, significantly impact the Town's services and facilities. More specifically, it's intents are to minimize traffic hazards and congestion, to guarantee the adequate provision of water, sewage disposal, police, fire, and other public services, and to promote the overall public health, safety, and general welfare of the community and its citizens. A decision is rendered by the Planning Board in either two (Preliminary Plan and Final Plan) or three review stages (Master Plan, Preliminary Plan and Final Plan), depending on whether a Special Use Permit, Variance, or other relief from the Zoning Ordinance is requested. Prior to the first review stage (either Master Plan or Preliminary Plan), a Pre-Application/Concept Plan can be submitted at the request of either the Town or the Applicant to encourage information sharing and discussion of the project concepts early on.
  • Comprehensive Permit
    A residential development plan in which at least 25% of the proposed residential units will be deed-restricted and subsidized, in part or in whole, for persons of low-to-moderate income. This is a single, unified process administered by Planning which can substitute a more complex process involving formal review by multiple government agencies and public bodies and/or compliance with other sections and/or subsections of the Zoning Ordinance.

The Rhode Island General Laws, specifically the Rhode Island Zoning Enabling Act of 1991 and the Rhode Island Low and Moderate Income Housing Act, respectively, provide for the Town to exercise these opportunities.