House approves Chairman Craven’s bills to make developing housing easier

Legislation is part of Speaker Shekarchi’s legislative package addressing the housing crisis in Rhode Island


            STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today passed two bills sponsored by Rep. Robert E. Craven, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, that relate to zoning standards and subdivision and land developments in order to spur more housing development in the state.

            Both bills are part of House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi’s (D-Dist. 23, Warwick) 14-bill package of legislation to address Rhode Island’s housing crisis.

            “These bills will make is easier for vital housing developments to become a reality through clarifying and simplifying the processes relating to zoning standards and subdivision and land development permits.  Our state cannot afford to wait any longer when it comes to building more housing and I commend Speaker Shekarchi for tackling the daunting problem of the state’s housing crisis this legislative session.  These important bills will have a meaningful and significant impact on the lives of all Rhode Islanders and their need for proper and affordable housing,” said Chairman Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown).

            The first bill (2023-H 6059A) would amend zoning standards and make changes to dimensional variance standards. The legislation further emphasizes the current requirement that each special use permit is required to have specific criteria for each allowed use, and clarifies and adjusts the process for the application and granting of administrative zoning approvals. This legislation does not change the process or permitting by municipalities and it adds a provision that allows municipalities, if they choose, to consider requests for relief for uses established by variance or permit. The legislation would be effective January 1, 2024.

            The second bill (2023-H 6061Aaa) would amend subdivision and land development permits and processes to provide more predictability and to standardize processes throughout the state.  The legislation provides clarification on the review process and categories of record and allows certain approvals to be done administratively under certain limited circumstances.  Municipal approval of all projects would still be required under the legislation.  It would be effective January 1, 2024.

            Both bills now head to the Senate for consideration.

Former President Trump says he has been indicted over what he calls the "boxes hoax." In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump said that he has been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday. Prosecutors decided to indict Trump for his alleged mishandling of classified documents and obstruction of the government's attempt to retrieve the documents after a months-long investigation by special counsel Jack Smith.       Donald Trump Junior is reacting to news of former President Trump's indictment over the handling of sensitive documents. In a tweet Thursday, Trump's oldest son said "We're living in a 3rd world Banana Republic." He added that "the only way to stop what the corrupt Biden DOJ" is doing is to put Trump back in the White House.       Forecasters say the wildfire smoke blanketing the Northeast may start lifting tonight. Air quality alerts have been posted across the region after smoke from Canadian wildfires created hazardous breathing conditions. Meteorologists say the smoke has settled over the Northeast because a stationary low pressure system has been steering a persistent wind southward into the U.S.       More than twenty teenagers are hurt after a deck collapsed at a park in Southeast Texas. The collapse happened this afternoon at Stahlman Park in Surfside Beach during a summer camp event. Officials said 21 victims between the ages of 14 and 18 were taken to the hospital.       Half of American adults say they disapprove of affirmative action. A Pew Research Center survey shows that half of Americans don't think colleges and universities should take prospective students' racial and ethnic backgrounds into consideration. A Supreme Court decision is expected this month on the issue, based on two cases involving Harvard and the University of North Carolina.       The Florida Panthers are looking to get on the board tonight against the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final. Game Three of the best of seven series is taking place in Sunrise. Florida is down two-oh after losing the first two matchups in Las Vegas.