§ 1704  PROCEDURE.
   Any applicant proposing to build low or moderate income housing may submit to the local review board a single application for a comprehensive permit to build that housing in lieu of separate applications to the applicable local boards. This procedure is only available for proposals in which at least 25% of the housing is low or moderate income housing. The application and review process for a comprehensive permit shall be as follows.
   § 1704.1  Application.
      (A)   Pre-application conference.
         (1)   Prior to submission of the comprehensive permit application, the applicant shall first schedule a pre-application conference with the administrative officer. Members of the Planning Board, the Technical Review Committee, the Administrative Officer and other local officials as appropriate may participate in the pre-application conference.
         (2)   To request a pre-application conference, the applicant shall submit to the Administrative Officer a short description of the project in writing including the number of units, type of housing, as well as a location map. The purpose of the pre-application conference shall be to review the concept plan of the proposed development, and to allow town officials and staff to provide guidance to the applicant.
         (3)   The Administrative Officer shall schedule the pre-application conference to be held within 30 days of receipt of the applicant's request, if 30 days has elapsed from the filing of the request for pre-application conference and no pre-application conference has taken place, nothing shall be deemed to preclude an applicant from thereafter filing and proceeding with an application for a comprehensive permit.
      (B)   Submission requirements. All applications for comprehensive permits shall include:
         (1)   A completed "Application for Comprehensive Permit" form;
         (2)   A letter of eligibility issued by the Rhode Island Housing Mortgage Finance Corporation, or in the case of projects primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or other state or federal agencies, an award letter indicating the subsidy, or application in the form of a letter, or such other form as may be prescribed, for a municipal government subsidy;
         (3)   A written request to the local review board to submit a single application to build or rehabilitate low or moderate income housing in lieu of separate applications to the applicable local boards. The written request shall identify the specific sections and provisions of applicable local ordinances and regulations from which the applicant is seeking relief;
         (4)   A proposed timetable for the commencement of construction and completion of the project;
         (5)   A sample land lease or deed restriction with affordability liens that will restrict use as low and moderate income housing in conformance with the guidelines of the agency providing the subsidy for the low and moderate income housing, but for a period of not less than 30 years;
         (6)   Identification of an approved entity that will monitor the long-term affordability of the low and moderate income units;
         (7)   A financial pro-forma for the proposed development;
         (8)   Application fee, as established in this subchapter.
      (C)   Additional requirements. 
         (1)   In addition to the requirements of division (B) above:
 
Low and Moderate Income Housing
Application Requirements
If a project requires:
The application shall include materials required by:
Zoning variance
Zoning Board's Variance, Special Use and Appeals Information and Instructions
Special use permit
Zoning Board's Variance, Special Use and Appeals Information and Instructions
Zoning Ordinance development plan review (DPR)
Development impact review
Zoning Ordinance development impact review
Administrative subdivision
Administrative Subdivision Checklist - Plat Checklist
(Appendix A - Rules and Regulations Regarding the Subdivision of Land)
Minor subdivision or land development project
Minor Subdivision Checklist - Preliminary Plat Checklist
(Appendix A - Rules and Regulations Regarding the Subdivision of Land)
Major subdivision or land development project
Major Subdivision Checklist - Master Plat Checklist
(Appendix A - Rules and Regulations Regarding the Subdivision of Land), except evidence of state and federal permits.
 
         (2)   Notwithstanding the submission requirements set forth above, the Planning Board may request additional, reasonable documentation throughout the public hearing, including, but not limited to, opinions of experts, credible evidence of application for necessary federal and/or state permits, statements and advice from other local boards and officials.
         (3)   All required state and federal permits must be obtained prior to the final plan approval or the issuance of a building permit.
      (D)   Fees.  Fees shall be consistent with fees that would otherwise be assessed for a project of the same scope and type but not proceeding under this subchapter, provided, however, that the imposition of such fees shall not preclude a showing by a non-profit applicant that the fees make the project financially infeasible. Applications shall include fees as follows:
 
Low and Moderate Income Housing Application Fees
For applications requiring:
Fees as established by:
Zoning variance or special use permit
Zoning Board - Fee schedule
Subdivision of land
Subdivision and Land Use Regulations - Appendix A
Development impact review
Zoning Ordinance development impact review
 
   § 1704.2  Certificate of completeness. 
      (A)   Applications for comprehensive permits shall be made to the Administrative Officer, who shall review all applications for form and content in conformity with the requirements set forth herein. Complete applications shall then be officially filed for review by the Planning Board, and the Administrative Officer shall stamp all such applications with the date of official submission to the town. The application shall be certified complete or incomplete by the administrative officer as follows:
         (1)   Minor project: Within 25 days;
         (2)   Major project: Within 30 days for a master plan and within 45 days for a preliminary plan.
      (B)   The running of the time period set forth herein will be deemed stopped upon the issuance of a certificate of incompleteness of the application by the Administrative Officer and will recommence upon the resubmission of a corrected application by the applicant. However, in no event will the Administrative Officer be required to certify a corrected submission as complete or incomplete less than 14 days after its resubmission. If the Administrative Officer certifies the application as incomplete, the Officer shall set forth in writing with specificity the missing or incomplete items.
   § 1704.3  Notification.  Upon issuance of a certificate of completeness for a comprehensive permit, the Planning Board shall immediately notify each local board, as applicable, of the filing of the application, by sending a copy to the local boards and to other parties entitled to notice of hearings on applications under the zoning ordinance and/or land development and subdivision regulations as applicable, and as further provided below.
   § 1704.4  Public hearing.
      (A)   Requirement. A public hearing, held in accordance with the applicable state and local regulations, shall be held for all comprehensive permit applications requiring one or more of the following:
         (1)   A special use permit;
         (2)   A zoning variance;
         (3)   Major or minor subdivision or land development project approval.
      (B)   Procedure.  Public notice of the hearing shall be given at least 14 days prior to the date of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation within the town following the town's usual and customary practices for such advertising. Notice shall be sent to the applicant and to each abutter, by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the time and place of the hearing not less than ten days prior to the date of the hearing. Said notice shall also include the street address of the subject property, or if no street address is available, the distance from the nearest existing intersection in tenths of a mile. In addition, notice of public hearing shall be sent:
         (1)   By first class mail to the city or town planning board of any municipality where there is a public or quasi-public water source, or private water source that is used or is suitable for use as a public water source, located within 2,000 feet of the town's boundaries.
         (2)   To the governing body of any state or municipal water department or agency, special water district, or private water company that has riparian rights to a surface water resource and/or surface watershed that is used or is suitable for use as a public water source located within either  the town or 2,000 feet of the town's boundaries, provided, that a map survey has been filed with the building inspector as specified in R.I. Gen. Laws § 45-24-53(E)
         (3)   To an adjacent municipality if:
            a.   The adjacent municipality is an abutter; or
            b.   The development site extends into the adjacent municipality; or
            c.   There is a potential for significant negative impact to the adjacent municipality.
         (4)   The cost of all notices for public hearings shall be borne by the applicant.
   § 1704.5  Review. In taking final action on an application, the local review board shall make positive findings, supported by legally competent evidence on the record which discloses the nature and character of the observations upon which the fact finders acted, on each of the following standard provisions, where applicable:
      (1)   The proposed development is consistent with local needs as identified in the local comprehensive community plan with particular emphasis on the community's affordable housing plan and/or has satisfactorily addressed the issues where there may be inconsistencies.
      (2)   The proposed development is in compliance with the standards and provisions of the municipality's zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations, and/or where expressly varied or waived local concerns that have been affected by the relief granted do not outweigh the state and local need for low and moderate income housing.
      (3)   All low and moderate income housing units proposed are integrated throughout the development; are similar in scale and architectural style to the market rate units within the project; and will be built and occupied prior to, or simultaneous with the construction and occupancy of any market rate units.
      (4)   There will be no significant negative environmental impacts from the proposed development as shown on the final plan, with all required conditions for approval.
      (5)   There will be no significant negative impacts on the health and safety of current or future residents of the community, in areas including, but not limited to, safe circulation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, provision of emergency services, sewerage disposal, availability of potable water, adequate surface water run-off, and the preservation of natural, historical or cultural features that contribute to the attractiveness of the community.
      (6)   All proposed land developments and all subdivisions lots will have adequate and permanent physical access to a public street in accordance with the requirements of R.I. Gen. Laws § 45-23-60(5).
      (7)   The proposed development will not result in the creation of individual lots with any physical constraints to development that building on those lots according to pertinent regulations and building standards would be impracticable, unless created only as permanent open space or permanently reserved for a public purpose on the approved recorded plans.
   § 1704.6  Decision.
      (A)   All local review board decisions on comprehensive permits shall be by majority vote of the membership of the board and may be appealed by the applicant to the state housing appeals board as provided in this subchapter. Unless agreed to by both the applicant and the local review board, the local review board shall render a decision as follows:
         (1)   For minor projects: Within 95 days after the issuance of the certificate of completeness.
         (2)   For major projects: Within 120 days of issuance of the certification of completeness.
      (B)   If the public hearing is not convened or a decision is not rendered within the time allowed, the application is deemed to have been allowed and the relevant approvals shall issue immediately.
      (C)   In reviewing the comprehensive permit request, the local review board may deny the request for any of the following reasons:
         (1)   The town has an approved affordable housing plan and is meeting housing needs, and the proposal is inconsistent with the affordable housing plan;
         (2)   The proposal is not consistent with local needs, including, but not limited to, the needs
identified in an approved comprehensive plan, and/or local zoning ordinances and procedures promulgated in conformance with the comprehensive plan;
         (3)   The proposal is not in conformance with the comprehensive plan;
         (4)   The community has met or has plans to meet the goal of 10% of the year-round units as defined in R.I. Gen. Laws § 45-53-3(2)(i) being low and moderate income housing;
         (5)   Concerns for the environment and the health and safety of current residents have not been adequately addressed.
   § 1704.7  Expiration.  A comprehensive permit shall expire unless construction is started within 12 months and competed within 60 months of final plan approval unless a longer and/or phased period for development is agreed to by the local review board and applicant. Low and moderate income housing units shall be built and occupied prior to, or simultaneous with the construction and occupancy of any market rate units that are part of the project.
   § 1704.8  Appeal.
      (A)   By applicant.  Whenever an application filed under the provisions this subchapter is denied, or is granted with conditions and requirements that make the building or operation of the housing infeasible, the applicant has the right to appeal to the state housing appeals board established by R.I. Gen. Laws § 45-53-7, for a review of the application. The appeal shall be taken within 20 days after the date of the notice of the decision by the local review board by filing with the state housing appeals board a statement of the prior proceedings and the reasons upon which the appeal is based.
      (B)   By aggrieved person.  Any person aggrieved by the issuance of an approval may appeal to the Supreme Court as provided in the applicable local or state regulation.
(Ord. passed 10-30-06)