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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Ruthie's gonna have to go to school

New law will require regular training for members of Planning and zoning boards

Ruth is looking forward to school
The training for members of local planning and zoning boards and historic district commissions will be more robust under legislation sponsored by Rep. Lauren H. Carson and Sen. Bridget Valverde and passed by the General Assembly today.

Currently, local planning and zoning board members are required once every two years to complete two hours of training on the effects of development in a flood plain and the effects of sea-level rise.

The legislation (2022-H 7023B, 2022-S 2649A) passed today adds to that requirement a three-hour introductory course on land use and planning for them and historic district commission members, to be prepared by the Department of Administration. 

After completing the required introductory course, members would be required to annually complete one hour of continuing education and land use and planning subjects. The courses may be offered in person or online.

“Planning and zoning boards, as well as historic district commissions, are generally volunteers who bring a variety of skills and experience to the job. We are grateful for their service, and want to ensure they are supported with proper training that is designed to provide them with the knowledge they need to make well-informed decisions about the important and often complicated matters that come before them,” said Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), who in 2017 sponsored the bill that created the sea rise and flood plain training requirement.

Said Senator Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, East Greenwich, Narragansett, South Kingstown), “The decisions made by planning boards, zoning boards and historic district commissions have profound effects on our communities, now and into the future. They hold a lot of power in determining what kind of development moves forward and where it can go. The expectations and the stakes are high, so all the members should be provided training in development laws and their responsibilities.”

The legislation now goes to the governor for consideration.