House passes Giraldo bill to allow mixed-use, multifamily housing in local zoning ordinances

 

STATE HOUSE — The House of Representatives today passed legislation introduced by Rep. Joshua J. Giraldo (D-Dist. 56, Central Falls) that aims to increase housing supply by requiring municipalities to allow for duplexes, mixed-use development and multifamily housing in certain areas of each municipality.

The bill is part of a 15-bill package of legislation regarding housing issues that Shekarchi announced in March, his fourth comprehensive suite of housing bills since becoming Speaker in 2021, and they continue his efforts to address Rhode Island’s housing crisis and expand upon initiatives outlined in his previous legislative packages. 

The legislation (2024-H 7981Aaa) would direct municipalities to amend their zoning ordinances to establish at least one mixed residential/commercial use zoning district, to adopt provisions that permit duplexes and multifamily development, and to provide for flexibility in their ordinance provisions when a developer provides amenities such as open space, public facilities or traffic improvements. The ordinances would have to be enacted on or before May 15, 2025.

“This legislation will enable housing production in areas of a town or city where it was previously either not allowed or infeasible because of zoning limitations,” said Representative Giraldo. “The implementation of this bill throughout our cities and towns will go a long way toward helping Rhode Islanders find a home — something we are all working hard to make a reality.”

Municipalities continue to be allowed to regulate other standards with respect to these uses and determine the appropriate areas of the community for such uses.

In addition, those communities that choose to prohibit residential development in commercial or industrial zones for health and safety reasons would be required to adopt a specific ordinance map delineating where residential use is prohibited, and setting forth the reasons for determining those areas to be a threat to public health and safety.

The measure now moves to the Senate for consideration.             

 

                                     

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