Rhode Island Land Use Law

When the General Assembly is in session, the Land Use Unit reviews planning related and other proposed bills. As part of the central planning agency for Rhode Island, the Unit will recommend policy positions for bills for the Division to forward to the Director of Administration and the Governor’s Policy Office. Each year a summary of information about the General Assembly is prepared for use by the Division and other interested persons. The annual summary does not represent a complete listing of more than 100 bills the Division typically analyzes and follows. It highlights a selection of interesting bills concerning land use and regional planning, and transportation related issues.

2017 Mandatory Education for Planning Boards/Commissions

In 2017, a provision (see Public Law Chapter 403) was added to RIGL §45-22-7. of the Rhode Island General Laws. This portion of State Law describes the powers and duties of a planning board or commission. The provision (j) requires that each member of a planning board or commission must participate in training and education classes concerning the effects of development in a flood plain and the effects of sea-level rise once every two years. To meet this requirement, planning board/commission members can watch educational modules on-line regarding making informed choices for supporting resilience to the impacts from climate change. Access the six training modules called PREP-RI. In addition, members are strongly encouraged to review or watch the additional resources listed below to round out the 2-hour training requirement. Each member must complete two hours of training by September 30, 2019 and file with the municipal clerk a statement asserting that the training has been completed. A sample “Statement of Completion” is included in the 2017 Planning Guidance Memo.


Community Planning Information:

Flood Mitigation Information:

General Climate Adaptation Information:

Green Infrastructure Information:

Wastewater Information:

Enabling Laws

Rhode Island has a series of enabling laws that empower municipalities to plan for the conservation and development of communities in the State. The links to the various laws are listed below.

Planning Boards and Commissions

Comprehensive Planning


Subdivision and Land Development

Other Relevant Statutes