Posted by: Patricia Salkin | November 25, 2008

Lot Not Entitled to Nonconforming Status As Buildable Where it Complied with Zoning But Not With Subdivision Regulations

The Rhode Island Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s finding that the lot in question was not entitled to legal nonconforming use status as a buildable lot, because although when it was created it consisted of more than the 80,000 square feet required for buildable lots under the zoning ordinance, the more restrictive subdivision regulations applied which provided that for purposes of calculating the buildable size of a lot, wetlands could not be included.  Specifically, the Court noted that the zoning ordinance provides that, “Whenever the requirements of this Ordinance are at variance with the requirements of any other lawfully adopted rules, regulations, ordinances, deed restrictions or covenants, the more restrictive or those imposing the higher standards, shall govern.” As a result, without the wetlands, the lot could not meet the minimum size required to be considered buildable.


Murphy v. Zoning Board of Review of the Town of South Kingstown, 2008 WL 4916314 (R.I. 11/18/2008).


The opinion can be accessed at:

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