Rhode Island has a reciprocal system of land use planning whereby the State sets broad goals and policies through the State Guide Plan and municipalities express local desires and conditions through the development of community comprehensive plans. These local comprehensive plans serve as the basis for land use regulation and establish an implementation program for achieving each community’s stated goals. The local comprehensive plans are reviewed by the State, and when approved, become binding on State agencies by requiring conformance of their programs and projects to the comprehensive plan.
Comprehensive plans serve several purposes. They are the primary planning document guiding conservation and development in each city or town. They serve to address the needs and desires of residents for various services provided by the municipality. They also serve as a means for coordinating planning between state and municipal governments.
The Division of Statewide Planning is committed to assisting municipalities in crafting comprehensive plans that are effective at guiding local decision making and embody the State’s goals and policies. Guidance can be found in the Comprehensive Planning Standards Manual and the Comprehensive Planning Guidance Handbook Revised and Abridged. Visit Comprehensive Planning Materials to find resources developed by the Division that may assist in your comprehensive planning process.
For a list of resources on various planning topics please visit Local Planning Resource Library