City of Cranston
Pursuant to Section 3.15 of the City Charter, notice is hereby given of the Final Adoption of the Ordinances below.
Complete copies of all Ordinances are available for public review at the City Clerk’s Office, Cranston Central Library and the City website cranstonri.com under calendar by clicking on the meeting date.
Maria Medeiros Wall, JD
ORDINANCE NO. 2019-40 IN AMENDMENT OF CHAPTER 17 OF THE CODE OF THE CITY OF CRANSTON, 2005, ENTITLED ‘ZONING”
(Solar Farm Installation Moratorium Extension to January 31, 2020)
*As amended in Committee 10/17/2019
Passed: October 17, 2019
Approved: October 21, 2019
It is ordained by the City Council of the City of Cranston as follows:
Section 1: Chapter 17.24 entitled “Performance Standards – Generally” is hereby amended as follows:
17.24.021 Ground-Mounted Solar Farm Installation Moratorium
Definition: For purposes of this Moratorium, a Ground-Mounted Solar Farm Installation is defined as a ground–mounted solar farm installation (“installation”) shall mean the use of a parcel of land for production and sale and/or distribution of electricity by collecting energy produced by the sun in ground-mounted structures. Said structures shall be specifically designed to use ground-mounted supports upon which the solar collectors are mounted.
Permitted Locations: the City has duly amended its locally adopted
Comprehensive Plan and its Zoning Code to specifically permit these “installations” within the A-80, S-1, M-1 and M-2 zones.
At the time of introduction of this Moratorium, the City has received, vetted and legally permitted several large-scale “installations” in the western portion of the community; the existing regulatory framework under which these “installations” are vetted has not been amended or comprehensively reevaluated since 2015;
Existing ordinances, zoning regulations, and land development performance standards are fragmented and are lacking several key provisions necessary to ensure the strictest standards for visual, aesthetic and neighborhood compatibility. Concerns have arisen from the general public and the State of Rhode Island as a whole about the degree of performances standards and siting concerns governing these “installations”;
*The Planning Department and Plan Commission have been working on a comprehensive rewrite of the City’s solar regulations since that time. A public forum, multiple workshops with the Plan Commission and a joint Council/Plan Commission workshop have been held. Staff has presented information, analysis, maps, findings, and draft ordinances at numerous iterations throughout the process. Below is a list of events that have taken place, demonstrating the City’s progression on the issue under the charge of the moratorium.
Feb 4 - Moratorium signed by Mayor
May 13 - Public Forum/Workshop
June 4 - Plan Commission workshop
June - Ordinances 06-19-09 &
06-19-10 are submitted
June 24- Council accepts Ordinances
as new business
July 9- Plan Commission workshop
on ordinance draft
July 18- Joint Council/Plan
Aug- Ordinances 8-19-07, 8-19-08
& 8-19-10 are submitted
Aug 26- Council accepts Ordinances
as new business
Sept 12- Ordinance Committee
06-10-09 & 06-19-10 to
October so it may consider
all proposed solar ordinances
The City will need [two hundred seventy (270) days, or approximately *nine months,] until January 31st, 2020 to study its existing ordinances, performance standards, zoning regulations, and previously permitted and constructed “installations” to determine the implications of future proposed “installations” and to develop reasonable ordinances and zoning regulations or amendments thereto governing the location and operations of such “installations” to address the concerns cited above; and
The City Plan Commission and the City Planning Department will be specifically tasked to study and adopt regulations to address the following issues including, but not limited to:
Landscaped buffer areas, mandatory minimum setbacks from abutting residential uses, open space conservation areas, maximum lot coverage percentage, maximum lot clearance percentage, minimum lot sizes, soil conservation & erosion management plans, operation and maintenance plan requirements, noise, herbicides or other chemicals lighting, impacts and mitigation plan for interconnection path, fencing standards, pollinator species for the grass mix, topography grading and site preparation standards (including blasting), stormwater management, decommissioning requirements, taxation and other revenue generation, land banking / open space preservation, solar farm growth cap;
Temporary Stay Imposed on New Projects. “Ground-Mounted Solar Farm Installation Moratorium Ordinance” is hereby adopted imposing a stay on all “installation” applications effective immediately upon passage, and applicable to any proposed “installation” which has not yet received a Certificate of Completeness from the Cranston Planning Department prior to the date of its enactment, and that any amendments to or enactment of a new “Solar Farm Ordinance” will require public hearings by the City Plan Commission and the City Council, and shall be voted upon at a City Council Meeting or a Special City Council Meeting.
Existing Projects Vested. Notwithstanding any provision contained herein to the contrary, any proposal for an “installation” for which an applicant has received a
Certificate of Completeness for a Master Plan submittal shall be considered vested and may proceed under applicable regulations presently in effect.
Section 2: This Ordinance shall take effect upon its final adoption.
Sponsored by Allan W. Fung,
Council President Farina and