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In light of the adverse impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on commerce, especially the local restaurant and retail sectors, Rhode Island’s Governor has provided for reopening such businesses in a limited and gradual way. The Town seeks to take additional measures to support local business via local initiatives that include amendments to the Town’s Zoning Code (Chapter 260 of the Town Code) and to the provisions regarding the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages (Chapter 15 of the Town Code) - to relax certain restrictions and make temporary expansion accommodations to promote and encourage economic activity. From a zoning perspective, changes proposed to Sections 260-19 and 260-59 of the Zoning Code are under consideration. These changes, respectively, would provide temporary relief from the Town’s off-street parking requirements where outdoor business expansions are planned and would waive the purview of the Historic District Commission where certain physical alterations related to temporary expansions are proposed. The full text of these amendments can be viewed here.
The East Greenwich Planning Board has reviewed and recommended the proposed amendments as required. Their review was conducted in the context of all existing COVID-19-related Executive Orders at the State level as well as local Executive Order 20-1, dated May 13, 2020. The analysis was further rounded out by a review of the draft amendments to Section 15 of the Town Code, “Alcoholic Beverages,” which is a companion piece to the proposed zoning amendments. The full package of Ordinance amendments will be considered by the Town Council in a public hearing (via the ZOOM video- and tele-conferencing platform) at 7:00 PM on Monday June 22, 2020. Please click here to view Town Council agendas with detailed instructions for accessing the virtual meetings. Should you have any questions about any of the proposed revisions, please contact the Planning Department at 886-8645 or the Town Manager’s office at 886-8676.