Strategy-of-the-Month: Block Island Zoning Amendments
Posted Date: February 26, 2007


Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse
February 2007
Local jurisdictions often enforce zoning regulations
that restrict or exclude affordable housing development.
Block Island, Rhode Island recently approved zoning
amendments to allow more flexibility in the development
of affordable housing.
The Block Island Housing Board, an affordable housing
task group, recommended changes to the town's zoning
code in an effort to promote the production of
affordable housing. Upon reviewing the Board's
recommendations, the town council agreed to incorporate
the zoning changes. The new provisions will expire when
30 affordable rental units and 40 affordable for-
purchase units have been constructed. The new language
also allows low- to moderate-income housing to be
subsidized by municipal (in addition to state or
federal) funds; these units will remain affordable for
a period of 99 years.
Amendments to the zoning code include the following:
o Special Use Permits can be granted to double the
density of housing in any zone to accommodate more
affordable housing units. The Housing Board will
serve in an advisory role to the Zoning Board for
issuance of the permits.
o The number of accessory (dwellings) apartments
constructed per year will no longer be restricted.
o Individual sewage disposal systems used for
affordable housing will now be allowed on lots
separate from the structure.
o Bedroom limit standards in accessory (dwellings)
apartments will no longer be enforced in structures
not connected to the public sewer system.
Additional information on Block Island's zoning
amendments can be found
We hope this information proves useful to you in your
efforts to grow your region's affordable housing stock.
If you have regulatory reform strategies or resources
that you'd like to share, send us an email
at, call us at 1-800-245-2691
(option 4), or visit our website at
Feel free to forward this message to anyone who is
working to reduce regulatory barriers to affordable
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