Comprehensive planning in the State of Rhode Island is governed by Chapter 45-22.2 of the Rhode Island General Laws, entitled the “Rhode Island Comprehensive Planning and Land Use Act” (the Act). When the General Assembly adopted the Act in 1988, it intended to meld two existing land use planning processes into a reciprocal system comprised of the State Guide Plan (SGP) and municipal comprehensive plans. The State Guide Plan addressed land use and physical development, environmental and natural resources, economic development, housing, transportation, and other concerns. Historically, the State had delegated land use authority to its municipalities, most of which already had some type of comprehensive plan. However, at that time, there was no formal connection between the SGP, State agency plans, and municipal plans. The new system envisioned by the Act sought to address this by:
Some of the key features of the Act include:
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Act was amended in 2011. The amendments to the Act set certain new requirements for the contents of comprehensive plans. Municipalities are required to revise their plans as needed and have them approved by the State by June 1, 2016 [RIGL 45-22.2-2(a)].