Comprehensive Planning Standards and Guidance


In accordance with the General Laws, subsections 45-22.2-10(b), the Division of Planning is to develop standards to assist municipalities in the incorporation of state goals and policies into comprehensive plans, and to assist the Division in the review of comprehensive plans.   These standards are contained within the RI Comprehensive Planning Standards Manual

Land use planning in the State of Rhode Island has been set up as a reciprocal system, where State goals and policies are reflected in local plans and local plans have the ability to guide State actions. Therefore, the Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Act requires that adopted comprehensive plans be submitted to the Division of Planning for review and that the Division of Planning review adopted comprehensive plans for consistency with the goals and intent of the Act and the State Guide Plan.

The standards are accompanied by several guidance handbooks that are intended to assist communities in preparing plans that will fulfill each standard. Each handbook provides helpful guidance on fulfilling the standards, including data sources, as well as general information on including the required topics within a comprehensive plan.  The RI Division of Planning has also produced GIS layer files that can assist municipalities in fulfilling Standards Manual's mapping standards; for more information visit GIS Symbology.