Narragansett, Rhode Island

The Town of Narragansett, population 15,368 (2010), is located in Washington County, Rhode Island, 30 miles south of Providence. Section 4.8.3 of the Town bylaws, Planned Residential District Regulations, is designed to allow the redesign of approved but vacant subdivisions to transform environmentally inferior developments that would, if developed, create unacceptable habitat loss, water pollution, flooding, infrastructure problems and other effects inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan including unnecessary loss of open space.

This code section uses clustering to motivate subdivision redesign. In addition, it offers density incentives to PRDs for transferring development rights from developable lots elsewhere in Narragansett that are located in wetlands, coastal resource overlay districts, areas within 200 feet of a “blue line stream” and greenbelts delineated in the Comp Plan. The sending sites can be preserved either by conservation easement or by fee title transfer to the Town. These transfers must be approved on a discretionary basis by the planning board and town council. In addition, developers of PRDs can achieve bonus density by up to 10 percent using affordable housing and up to 5 percent for multiple family structures. Using any combination of these three incentives, developers can achieve up to 20 percent density bonus above base density.