Earlier this year, the Rhode Island Superior Court upheld the denial of an application for a development in Tiverton, Rhode Island. The developer applied to the Town of Tiverton zoning board to ask permission to develop property. The proposed plan was to construct over 240,000 square feet of mixed use development, which potentially included retail spaces, restaurants, office space, and other kinds of spaces. The application, submitted in 2008, was rejected as incomplete due to the developer not completing the requirement to have a “pre-application meeting.” After the Tiverton Zoning Board denied the application, the plaintiff appealed to the Board of Appeals, who affirmed the decision of the zoning board. The case was then heard by the Rhode Island Superior Court, who affirmed the denial. If you are thinking about real estate development or other real estate matters, it’s crucial that you hire an experienced Rhode Island real estate attorney. A knowledgeable real estate attorney can save you money and headaches by making sure that you follow the correct protocols so that your application does not get rejected for being incomplete, as happened here.
If you are looking to undertake a major development in Rhode Island, this case underscores the importance of crossing your “t”s and dotting your “i”s. When the developer in this case filed his application in 2008, it was just as the town of Tiverton was planning zoning changes in compliance with their community plan. The proposed changes would have changed the property at issue from commercial property to residential property with minimum lot sizes of 40,000 square feet. Since this change was anticipated, it was important that this 2008 application was approved for the development to take place rather than starting a new application.
To get an application for a development of this size approved, the town regulations require a “pre-application” meeting. Initially, the administrator tasked with application approval was going to approve the application. However, on the advice of the Town Solicitors, he learned that the rules required a pre-application meeting and decided to reject the application due to incompleteness. The developer appealed to the Town of Tiverton Zoning Board, who were sitting as the Board of Appeals. They upheld the denial, as did the Rhode Island Superior Court. In the current appeal, the court could only overturn the Board’s decision if there was prejudice, procedural error, clear error, or lack of evidence. Since none of these conditions was found to apply, the application denial was upheld.
Contact an Experienced Rhode Island Real Estate Attorney Today!
This case should serve as a cautionary tale for people who are just beginning in the real estate business and experienced developers alike. It’s so important to understand the laws and regulations of the localities where you are building, and to make sure that all of the procedural requirements are met. The developer in this case lost time and money that he could have saved by hiring a skilled real estate attorney. The knowledgeable attorneys at Bilodeau Capalbo, LLC, can help you have a better chance of getting your real estate development applications approved. Call (401) 300-4055 or use the form on this website to contact us today for a free consultation!