Chairman Craven introduces bills to make developing housing easier

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


            STATE HOUSE – Rep. Robert E. Craven, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has introduced two bills relating to zoning standards and subdivision 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 subdivision and land development permits and zoning standards.  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.  I am eager to work with him to help get these important bills passed that will have a meaningful and significant impact on the lives of all Rhode Islanders and their need for proper housing,” said Chairman Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown).

            The first bill (2023-H 6059) would amend zoning standards and make changes to dimensional variance standards. The legislation clarifies 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; it retains the local ability to establish by ordinance the requirements for each type of special use permit. The legislation would be effective January 1, 2024.

            The second bill (2023-H 6061) would amend subdivision and land development permits and processes. It provides clarity on which projects are in each category of application across the state, as well as the permitting process for each. The legislation does not change the process or permitting by municipalities; it standardizes project review categories. It would be effective January 1, 2024.

            Both bills are being heard by the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow (Tuesday, March 28) at the RISE of the House (approximately 5 p.m.) in Room 101 of the State House.