Superior Court to zoning board: Try again


The Rhode Island Superior Court has ruled that a 2011 zoning board decision allowing a Laurel Lane couple to build a garage on their property, be reheard.

In early 2011, 48 Laurel Lane residents Ann and Kenneth Morrill asked for variances which would allow them to build a large detached garage, 16 by 30 feet, on their property just up from the Kickemuit River. The Morrills sought zoning relief because the proposed garage exceeded thee town's 10-foot setback and lot coverage requirements.

At a hearing held June 20, 2011 two abutters, including David Rotondo, spoke against the application. After the board unanimously approved the variances, Mr. Rotondo promptly appealed the decision to the Superior Court.

In a ruling issued Monday, June 17, Superior Court Magistrate Sarah Taft-Carter ruled that the board acted improperly in granting the variances, saying members failed to satisfy the standard of review necessary before making a decision, and did not make the required "findings of fact" necessary to make an informed decision, including whether the applicant will suffer a hardship if the request is not permitted. In his ruling, Justice Taft-Carter ruled that the board did not do that.

"Here, the record is void of any findings or conclusions," she wrote, and for that reason the Superior Court cannot even rule if the application had merit. "The court will not … decide for itself what is proper in the circumstances if the zoning board fails to make required findings."

Therefore, she wrote, the board must reconsider the application.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment

2016 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Prudence Island · Riverside · Rumford · Seekonk · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc., email