Metro Bay Region Special Area Management Plan


5.1 Authority and Purpose

A. It is the responsibility of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (RICRMC) to preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, restore the coastal natural resources of Rhode Island. The Federal Coastal Zone Management Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 1451-1465) also charges the RICRMC with:

1. assisting in the redevelopment of deteriorating urban waterfronts, and considering the need for economic development that is compatible with the ecological, cultural, historic, and aesthetic values of the coastal zone;

2. ensuring the availability of public access points for coastal recreation;

3. considering the need for siting of facilities for national defense, energy, fisheries development, ports and transportation, as well as appropriate siting of new commercial and industrial developments;

4. timely review of projects through the streamlining of management activities;

5. providing opportunities for public involvement in the decisions regarding coastal management; and

6. protecting uses of regional benefit.

B. As authorized by the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. §§ 1451-1466) and R.I. Gen. Laws Chapter 46-23, the Coastal Resources Management Council may implement special area management plans.

C. The purpose of the rules of the Metro Bay Region Special Area Management Plan (SAMP) within the municipalities of Cranston, East Providence, Pawtucket and Providence is to provide for the management of the Providence Harbor and surrounding Metro Bay region. The boundaries of the Metro Bay region are shown in Figure 1 of § 5.1(D) of this Part. These rules provide an alternative coastal vegetative buffer policy for the Metro Bay region that accommodates increased public access to the coast, improved water quality via on-site vegetative stormwater treatment, and the preservation and restoration of habitat corridors and the general aesthetic value of Rhode Island’s urban shoreline. Additionally, the intent and purpose of these rules is to promote economic development along the urban shorelines with a predictable permitting process, ensure redevelopment proceeds in a coordinated fashion, and ensure that conflicts are resolved in favor of maintaining a balance among port, recreation, commercial, and residential uses consistent with the designated CRMC water types. For additional information on the Metro Bay SAMP region that informed the development of these rules, please see the Metro Bay SAMP guidance document.

D. Map depicting the area of the Metro Bay Region Special Area Management Plan (SAMP)

5.2 Definitions

A. Definitions for this Part are as follows:

1. “Area of particular concern” or “APC” zone means areas within the Metro Bay SAMP boundary that have been identified either as highly significant habitats (High Priority Conservation or Restoration Areas) or as areas of significant recreational value. The conservation, restoration, and recreation designations were identified using a ranking system that includes habitat quality, use of the site by wildlife, presence of rare species, geographic relationships (i.e., contiguous parcels with habitat value), and restoration potential. The APC Zone is delineated in the Urban Coastal Greenway Zone Map (Figure 2 in § 5.4 of this Part), and the ranking system is described in § 5.16(C) (Appendix 3) of this Part.

2. “Capital center district” or “CCD” means the area established in the City of Providence Code of Ordinances that is bounded by I-95, Smith Street, Francis Street, Gaspee Street, Canal Street, Steeple Street, Exchange Terrace, and West Exchange Terrace.

3. “Coastal buffer zone” is a regulatory feature that requires a naturally vegetated area that must be retained in a natural, undisturbed condition, or properly managed in accordance with the standards contained in § 1.1.11 of this Subchapter. In cases where native vegetation does not exist within a buffer zone, the Council may require restoration efforts which include, but are not limited to, replanting the coastal buffer zone with native plant species.

4. “Coastal wetlands” include salt marshes and freshwater or brackish wetlands contiguous to salt marshes or physiographical features as defined in § 1.2.2(D) of this Subchapter. Areas of open water within coastal wetlands are considered a part of the wetland. In addition, coastal wetlands also include freshwater and/or brackish wetlands that are directly associated with non-tidal coastal ponds and freshwater or brackish wetlands that occur on a barrier beach or are separated from tidal waters by a barrier beach.

5. “Compensation” means a required action by an applicant that wishes to reduce the width of an urban coastal greenway below the standard width for the applicable UCG zone. Any reduction in UCG width below that standard requires compensation for the lost urban coastal greenway area as described in § 5.13 of this Part.

6. “Construction setback” means a minimum distance between a shoreline feature, buffer zone, or urban coastal greenway and construction activities.

7. “Council” or “CRMC” or “RICRMC” means the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council.

8. “Development” means the construction of new commercial, industrial, or residential structures, as defined in § 1.3.1(C) of this Subchapter for the purposes of the urban coastal greenway requirements. This also includes structures accommodating a mix of uses within a single development, building, or tract, as allowed by a municipality. Other activities subject to RICRMC jurisdiction may be contained within the RICRMP definition of development.

9. “Development zone” means areas that have been specifically designated for high-density development by the local municipality or the state. Many parcels within this zone are formerly filled tidelands. This zone also incorporates large parcels within the Metro Bay SAMP boundary that may have been primarily industrial in their former use(s) and are therefore constrained by the existence of utility corridors and their associated easements, and/or the need for brownfield remediation prior to development. The boundaries of this Zone are identified on the Urban Coastal Greenway Zone Map (Figure 2 in § 5.4(K) of this Part)

10. “High priority conservation areas” or “HPCA” means those areas identified by the RICRMC as parcels or areas within the metro bay region that should be preserved for their habitat value.

11. “High priority restoration areas” or “HPRA” means those areas identified by the RICRMC as parcels within the metro bay region that should be restored for their habitat value.

12. “Inland edge” means the boundary of a coastal feature, urban coastal greenway, or buffer zone that directly abuts an upland area.

13. “Inner harbor and river zone” or “IHRZ” means a zone that incorporates extensively developed areas where, on the majority of parcels, public infrastructure (i.e., roads and/or sidewalks) already exists between the coastal feature and the proposed development at the time of promulgation of the Urban Coastal Greenway Regulations. The Inner Harbor and River Zone (IHRZ) specifically encompasses the area upriver and inland from the Providence hurricane barrier and along the Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck Rivers, including the Capital Center District (CCD), to the extent of the Metro Bay SAMP boundary as depicted in the Urban Coastal Greenway Zone Map (Figure 2 in § 5.4(K) of this Part). The CCD is defined as the area bounded by I-95, Smith Street, Francis Street, Gaspee Street, Canal Street, Steeple Street, Exchange Terrace, and West Exchange Terrace, and shown on Figure 2 herein.

14. “Mitigation” means as described in § 5.10 of this Part and is required whenever an applicant chooses not to include public access within a development or redevelopment project that triggers the urban coastal greenway regulations. Mitigation is not equivalent to “compensation”, and therefore it is possible that both mitigation and compensation could be required within a single project.

15. “Low impact development” or “LID” means planning and engineering techniques for stormwater management that emphasize conservation and the use of vegetative features to meet water quality goals (See § 5.5.1(F) of this Part for specific LID techniques).

16. “Managed landscape” means for the purposes of the urban coastal greenways policy a vegetated area within a buffer zone or urban coastal greenway where limited landscaping practices are allowed. These practices may include the removal of non-native invasive plants, restorative plantings of native and sustainable plant species and the pruning, trimming, and selective cutting of vegetation designed to manage habitat, maintain scenic view-sheds, and preserve shoreline access. Managed landscapes should also provide for infiltration of stormwater and the minimization of erosion. Activities not allowed in managed landscapes include:

a. clear-cutting of vegetation (except as part of an RICRMC-approved habitat restoration or public access plan);

b. the establishment of lawns (except in areas designated for public access and recreation);

c. the application of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides (except as specifically allowed by an RICRMC-approved managed landscape plan); and

d. any other activities which the RICRMC determines are incompatible with the functions and values of buffer zones and established urban coastal greenways.

17. “Metro bay region” means the northern region of Narragansett Bay, encompassed within the boundaries of the metro bay special area management plan or SAMP. The SAMP boundary stretches north from the southern tip of Pawtuxet Neck in Cranston to Main Street in Pawtucket, then around the bay to the East Providence water pollution control facility at Crest Avenue. The boundary also includes the Woonasquatucket River tidal portion to Atwells Avenue and the Moshassuck River to Orms Street. The municipalities contained within the metro bay region are Pawtucket, East Providence, Providence, and Cranston.

18. “Multi-residential development” means any residential development designed or used to house three or more families.

19. “Native, non-invasive vegetation” means those species that grew naturally (outside of cultivation) in this region prior to European colonization (URI Cooperative Extension, 1999) and do not grow so rapidly that they become difficult to maintain. Native species are well acclimated for local climatic and soil conditions, and often require less frequent replacement and maintenance than non-native species. Native vegetation also provides habitat for wildlife species that depend upon native plant communities for all or part of their life cycle. An assemblage of native non-invasive plants is referred to as a native plant community.

20. “Non-stormwater management wetlands” means those wetlands that provide the recognized functions and values of natural wetlands systems, rather than wetlands designed specifically for a stormwater treatment function. These natural wetlands functions and values include: wildlife and food web support; wildlife habitat; water quality enhancement; recreation; aesthetics; and shoreline anchoring.

21. “Primary public access path” means a linear public access along the length of the shoreline, as part of an Urban Coastal Greenway.

22. “Providence harbor” refers to the harbor area surrounded by and incorporating waterfront areas of the municipalities of Providence, East Providence, and Cranston.

23. “Public roads” means existing, usable public throughways. This does not include streets that have been planned, but not yet constructed.

24. “Redevelopment” means any alteration or reconstruction of existing commercial, industrial, or residential structures.

25. “Residential zone” means the area south from the Johnson and Wales University Campus in Cranston to the southern tip of Pawtuxet Neck, in addition to some areas of Providence and East Providence, as shown in the Urban Coastal Greenway Zone Map (Figure 2 in § 5.4(K) of this Part), and is predominantly composed of single and two-family residences.

26. “RICRMP” means the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Program – Redbook (Part 1 of this Subchapter), as amended.

27. “Secondary public access path” means an arterial or perpendicular public access to a coastal feature, as part of an Urban Coastal Greenway.

28. “Shoreline” or “coastal feature” means a natural or artificially constructed physical feature of the shoreline as defined in § 1.2.2 of this Subchapter.

29. “Shoreward edge” means the boundary of a coastal feature, coastal buffer zone, urban coastal greenway zone, or development site that faces away from the upland area.

30. “Standard urban coastal greenway width” means the maximum urban coastal greenway width required for a project. The standard width varies by UCG zone.

31. “Sustainable vegetation” means non-invasive native plants, as described above, as well as other (non-native) non-invasive plants that require low inputs of pesticides, fertilizers, water, and maintenance. Refer to the Urban Coastal Greenway Design Manual for a list of appropriate plantings. An assemblage of sustainable plants is referred to as a sustainable landscape.

32. “Urban coastal greenway” or “UCG” means a land area that:

a. is located with the Metro Bay Region and adjacent to a coastal (shoreline) feature on a development site;

b. is, or will be, appropriately vegetated to provide native plant communities and/or sustainable landscapes which serve as a natural transition zone between the coast and adjacent upland development;

c. provides public access adjacent to the shoreline; and

d. is established and managed to protect aquatic, wetland, shoreline, and terrestrial environments from man-made disturbances and coastal flood hazards, while allowing for coastal economic development.

33. “Urban coastal greenway design manual” means a CRMC reference guide that provides information regarding urban coastal greenway design options and resources. See:

34. “Urban coastal greenway management plan” means a CRMC-approved document that specifies the property owner’s required best management practices for urban coastal greenway maintenance and management.

35. “Vegetated buffer zone” means a land area that provides a vegetated transition zone composed of native plant communities and/or sustainable landscapes between a waterway and developed land. Native plant communities are often preferred in areas identified for wildlife habitat while sustainable landscapes often support recreation and water quality treatment in areas where wildlife habitat is not a priority. Site development strategies shall be discussed with the CRMC prior to site plan development.

36. “Water quality volume” means the quantity of water that must be captured for water quality treatment by a stormwater management system. The specific requirements for water quality volume are established in the RIDEM Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual, as amended.

5.3 Metro Bay Region Policies

A. Regional approach: The CRMC seeks to promote the revitalization of the Metro Bay region in a manner which increases public access and recreational opportunities as well as economic uses. The consideration of Providence Harbor as part of the broader Metro Bay region, a single geographic, economic and ecological unit, greatly increases the number of individuals whose interest, concern and commitment can be brought to the task of overcoming redevelopment obstacles and providing political and financial support for waterfront revitalization projects.

B. Enlisting the involvement of municipalities: The CRMC shall actively work with the municipalities to develop and implement local waterfront renewal plans.

C. Reviewing municipal waterfront plans: The CRMC shall provide early review and comment on municipal plans and proposals for waterfront development projects to assure their compatibility with its goals and policies for the Metro Bay region.

D. Enlisting the involvement of the public: The CRMC shall actively work to foster public awareness, concern and support for harbor and waterfront redevelopment and renewal at the state and local level.

E. Provisions for shoreline public access: CRMC’s Urban Coastal Greenway policy applies to the Providence Harbor and broader Metro Bay region. It strongly encourages shoreline public access, integrating the need for urban shoreline access within the spatial constraints of urban lots, through both alongshore and arterial access pathways.

F. Improving the management of the Metro Bay region and Narragansett Bay for maritime commerce: The CRMC will support and assist efforts by municipal or state government, or the industry itself, to improve the quality of port planning, operation and management decisions.

G. Adoption of a water quality-based approach to pollution control: The CRMC shall utilize an approach to water quality planning and regulation which links conditions and problems in estuarine waters to sources of pollution.

H. Shoreline use: The CRMC considers the urbanized waterfront of the Metro Bay region as one of Rhode Island’s valuable coastal resources. The CRMC seeks to increase the overall contribution the Metro Bay region makes to the well-being of nearby residents and the region in terms of marine recreation, environmental quality, and economic activity. The goals for the shoreline use of the Metro Bay region are to:

1. Transform deteriorated, abandoned, and vacant waterfront property to high value public and private uses;

2. More effectively utilize open space for outdoor recreation;

3. Protect the economic viability of the port industry and marine commercial uses;

4. Improve the condition of the estuary in order to support greater recreational use, remove aesthetic impediments to waterfront redevelopment projects, and reduce the impact of Harbor pollution on Narragansett Bay; and

5. Foster and protect the existence of a diversity of uses in the Harbor in recognition of the capacity of area to serve a variety of purposes and the persistence of unfulfilled human needs in the surrounding communities for employment, outdoor recreation, housing and environmental quality.

I. Improved water quality: The CRMC seeks to assure that the quality of estuarine waters will be adequate for shoreline and in-water uses and the living resources of the Metro Bay region and upper Narragansett Bay. Continuing estuarine research is necessary to inform management decisions, improve our understanding of how pollutants behave in the estuary, and document the relative importance of human and natural sources of pollution. In addition to establishing use goals, the CRMC will cooperate with the ongoing efforts of the state pollution control agencies including but not limited to the RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM), the RI Department of Health (DOH) and the Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC), publicly owned treatment works, private dischargers, and the research community to grapple with the many-faceted challenge of improving the quality of water in the Metro Bay region and upper Narragansett Bay.

J. Shoreline public access: The CRMC recognizes that the Metro Bay region and upper Narragansett Bay comprise the largest expanse of open space in proximity to residents of the Providence metropolitan area. Opportunities exist for increasing the passive and active recreational value of the harbor’s shore and waters. CRMC’s Urban Coastal Greenway policy applies to the Metro Bay region. It strongly encourages shoreline public access, integrating the need for urban shoreline access within the spatial constraints of urban lots, through both alongshore and arterial access pathways.

K. Coordination and consultation: An essential ingredient in achieving a successful balance among new and old uses of the Metro Bay region is the maintenance of a rich, multilayered process of communication and personal interaction among those involved in developing, using, enjoying, regulating, and managing the urban waterfront. In order to assure that public and private decisions and actions affecting the Metro Bay region meet coastal management goals and policies as stated in this special area plan, the CRMC will provide a variety of forums for the review and discussion of important issues and problems facing the Metro Bay region, in addition to its decision-making role on individual permit applications, through the ongoing work of a permanent subcommittee on urban ports and harbors.

L. Protection of historic resources: The CRMC will provide for the protection of historic resources within the Metro Bay region, including but not limited to the historic shipwrecks on Green Jacket Shoal off Bold Point Park in East Providence.

M. Redevelopment and improvement: The CRMC recognizes that the need for redevelopment and improvement programs in the Metro Bay region is far greater than the amount of government and private sector resources available to carry them out. However, the CRMC views the problems and opportunities in the Metro Bay region as matters of statewide importance. Successful revitalization efforts in the urban waterfront will not only benefit adjacent neighborhoods but the metropolitan area and Rhode Island as a whole. Metro Bay region policies are designed to encourage the establishment of new public and private uses which take advantage of proximity to the harbor, and to promote a carefully balanced mixture of uses. These changes will enable the public to enjoy the shore as well as attract sufficient financial investment to reverse the process of deterioration and keep the waterfront districts of each municipality economically and socially viable for the future.

N. Debris subject to removal: Every pier, wharf, bulkhead, dock, shore protection structure, and foundation shall be maintained in good working condition in service of its intended purpose. Waterfront structures which have deteriorated so that portions of the construction are broken, detached or likely to fall away, possibly entering the water or littering the shore, shall be repaired and the site cleaned. Structures which are so deteriorated that they cannot serve an economic or public function shall be removed and the site returned to a cleared condition. Solid waste of every type shall also be removed. Unauthorized fill is also subject to CRMC action.

O. Fitness of purpose: CRMC’s fitness of purpose standards apply to new and existing commercial marine facilities within the Metro Bay region and other areas within CRMC’s jurisdiction. Further, a fitness of purpose certification is required for structures in Type 4, 5 or 6 waters, bridges, commercial moorings, ship building or repair facilities, public ferry facilities or other commercial type structures within CRMC jurisdiction that in the opinion of the Council warrant such certification for protection of public trust resources. For further information, see CRMC document “Guidelines for Fitness of Purpose Investigations and Certifications” and R.I. Gen. Laws § 46-23-6.

P. Uses of regional benefit: The federal Coastal Zone Management Act requires that CRMC’s management program “contains a method of assuring that local land use and water use regulations within the coastal zone do not unreasonably restrict or exclude land uses and water uses of regional benefit” and that “priority consideration” be given to “coastal-dependent uses and orderly processes for siting major facilities related to national defense, energy, fisheries development, recreation, ports and transportation, and the location, to the maximum extent practicable, of new commercial and industrial developments in or adjacent to areas where such development already exists” (16 U.S.C. § 1451). Accordingly, the following criteria shall be used for applications in the Providence Harbor area:

1. The CRMC shall encourage the development of facilities and operations which require or make direct use of the Harbor channel for maritime commerce or recreation. CRMC will prohibit new or expanded uses that conflict with uses of regional benefit.

2. The CRMC is committed to assuring that existing terminals will be able to maintain berths at required depths through maintenance dredging. Further, it is the CRMC’s policy that full economic use is made of the 40-foot navigation channel serving Providence harbor.

5.3.1 Metro Bay Region Prohibitions

A. Removing marine debris: The CRMC shall prohibit the abandonment of vessels, piers, wharves, or other such structures in the navigable waters of Rhode Island. Additionally, every shore structure shall be maintained in good condition. Deteriorated structures shall be repaired or removed, and every shorefront property owner shall remove all marine debris. Pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws § 46-6-8, authority to remove obstructions to navigation is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

B. Maintenance of shorefront structures and property: The abandonment of vessels, piers, wharves or other such structures in the navigable waters of the State of Rhode Island is specifically prohibited by the Coastal Resources Management Council. The dumping of any solid waste along the shore is also prohibited. Modification to the shore or manmade shoreline features are subject to the requirements established in Part 1 of this Subchapter and all structures are required to be kept in good condition. Upon verification of legal title to abandoned structures the CRMC shall order their repair or removal and site cleanup at owner expense within a time period specified in said order. In 1979, the General Assembly provided the Department of Environmental Management with specific authority to enforce these state policies by requiring the removal of abandoned vessels and marine debris (R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 46-6-8 through 16).

5.3.2 Providence Harbor Policies

A. Balanced and compatible shoreline use: The CRMC believes that greater use can be made of the land and water in Providence Harbor for both public and private benefit. In order to achieve these benefits, redevelopment must take place. The CRMC seeks to encourage good site development proposals by providing assurances that harbor-wide redevelopment will proceed in a coordinated fashion and that conflicts are resolved in favor of maintaining a balance among port, recreation, commercial, and residential uses. The juxtaposition of different human activities and natural features along the shore is one of the unique attributes of the urbanized coast which must be protected.

B. Port development: CRMC’s goal is that the physical development of Providence Harbor contributes to a vigorous, healthy port industry. Port industry activity is an important and necessary economic use of the state’s coastal waters and shore. The construction and maintenance of port facilities as a result of growth and development in the port industry presents the CRMC with a source of change to the shore and marine environment. Underutilized or abandoned facilities contribute to the marine debris problem and preclude other productive, marine dependent uses from access to tidal waters and dredged channels. Maintenance and development dredging of berths and channels is necessary for sustaining the economic viability of port facilities. Careful selection and utilization of a dredged material disposal option is essential to reduce the risk of causing adverse effects on the marine ecosystem. New proposals to fill tidal waters or alter the shore for port development must truly provide a flow of economic benefits to the public as compensation for unavoidable environmental damage and lost waterfront use opportunities. These are all issues that require the CRMC to balance protection of coastal land and water resources with compatible economic development, which is part of CRMC’s responsibility as laid out in the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) (16 U.S.C. § 1452 et seq.).

C. Urban ports and harbors subcommittee: The CRMC has established a permanent subcommittee on urban ports and harbors to implement the policies and regulations in this section. The subcommittee on urban ports and harbors will review and submit recommendations to the full Council on contested Category B applications originating in the area covered by this SAMP.

5.4 Urban Coastal Greenway Policies (formerly § 130)

A. The Council herein establishes an Urban Coastal Greenway (or “UCG”) policy specifically for projects to be located exclusively within the Metro Bay SAMP boundary, and within the RICRMC jurisdiction of 200 feet inland from the coastal feature.

B. The establishment of an Urban Coastal Greenway is based upon the RICRMC’s legislative mandate to preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, restore Rhode Island’s coastal resources.

C. The Urban Coastal Greenway policy allows flexibility for urban sites that is different from the requirements of the RICRMP by four main tenets:

1. The Urban Coastal Greenway policy allows the implementation of a sustainable landscape using plantings that are designed and managed for an urban environment.

2. The UCG policy strongly encourages a public access component that integrates the need for urban shoreline access with the spatial constraints of urban lots.

3. The UCG policy allows for compact greenways provided the applicant meets the compensation requirements in § 5.13 of this Part. Compensation options will be available at such time as the Rhode Island General Assembly establishes a compensation statute; reductions in regulatory requirements provided by the compensation provision are not available until the trust is set up.

4. The UCG policy encourages low impact development (LID) stormwater management techniques that improve water quality and enhance the developer’s ability to maximally utilize an urban lot.

D. It is the intent of this policy to establish a program that protects these ecological, economic, recreational, historic, cultural, and aesthetic values to the greatest extent practicable. The “Urban Coastal Greenway” program consists of a management area designed to accommodate development on the urban coastlines of the Metro Bay Region (see Figure 2 of § 5.4(K) of this Part), while still meeting the mandates of the Coastal Zone Management Act. The purposes of the Urban Coastal Greenway Policy are:

1. to preserve, protect, restore, and enhance the overall quality of Narragansett Bay’s urban coastal waters;

2. to capture nutrients, sediment and other waterborne pollutants from surface runoff;

3. to minimize flood impacts and shoreline erosion;

4. to protect, preserve, enhance, and restore coastal fish and wildlife habitat;

5. to preserve and enhance the experiences available along the urban coast;

6. to achieve responsible shoreline development that will allow a mixture of land uses (residential, recreational, commercial, and industrial) that orient to northern Narragansett Bay, including the Seekonk and Providence Rivers;

7. to preserve, enhance, or create an aesthetically pleasing view from the water, as well as from opposing shorelines;

8. to maintain the accessibility and natural habitat of the Metro Bay regional shoreline, as well as access to established pedestrian and bicycle trails; and

9. to provide safe public access to and along the shoreline.

E. While each of the purposes mentioned above will be considered in the establishment of Urban Coastal Greenways, the preeminent goals of this UCG policy are to prevent further degradation of coastal waters by treating stormwater (through vegetative means where possible), to protect and/or restore coastal habitats, and to ensure public access to the urban shoreline while preserving an aesthetically appealing view from both the water and the shore. In addition, the UCG policy offers a mechanism to encourage thoughtful economic development of the Metro Bay Region shoreline in a way that contributes to the CRMC’s goals of enhancing the natural, recreational, and industrial history of the region.

F. The goals of the Urban Coastal Greenway Policy will be met through the application of the regulations herein. Please refer to § 5.5.1 of this Part for the available coastal buffer options. §§ 5.6 through 5.9 of this Part define the requirements of the Urban Coastal Greenway policy for each particular zone. § 5.12 of this Part describes the policies and standards for Urban Coastal Greenways on RIDEM-designated brownfield sites, while § 5.13 of this Part describes the compensation options available in exchange for a reduction in UCG width. Compensation options will be available at such time as the Rhode Island General Assembly establishes a compensation statute; reductions in regulatory requirements provided by the compensation provision are not available until the trust is set up. These regulations, when applicable and as determined by RICRMC, will supersede applicable sections of Table 2 of § 1.4 of this Subchapter and §§ 1.1.5, 1.1.8, 1.1.10, 1.3.1(B), 1.3.1(G), 1.3.3, and 1.3.4 of this Subchapter. All other RICRMP requirements shall remain in full force and effect.

G. High priority conservation and restoration areas (formerly § 130.2)

1. High Priority Conservation Areas (HPCAs) and High Priority Restoration Areas (HPRAs) have been designated within the Metro Bay SAMP boundary as described in § 5.20 of this Part, and graphically depicted in § 5.21 of this Part. HPCAs are those sites with habitat quality rankings of C4 (highest quality habitat) to C1. Likewise, HPRAs are sites suitable for restoration, with habitat quality rankings of R3 (highest priority restoration) to R1. High priority habitat areas shall be preserved and enhanced to the greatest extent possible, and shall also be afforded a higher level of protection. Fragmentation of the Urban Coastal Greenway corridor (specifically the alongshore component) shall be avoided wherever possible and the development of contiguous habitats will be required wherever possible.

H. Coastal and freshwater wetlands (formerly § 130.3)

1. All coastal wetlands, including salt marshes that are located within the Metro Bay Region, will be subject to the policies and standards in § 1.2.2(D) of this Subchapter. In those cases where impacts to coastal wetlands are unavoidable and approved by the Council, coastal wetland mitigation shall be conducted in accordance with § 1.3.1(L) of this Subchapter. Projects involving impacts or potential impacts to freshwater wetlands within the Metro Bay Region shall be subject to the Council’s “Rules and Regulations Governing the Protection and Management of Freshwater Wetlands in the Vicinity of the Coast”. The Council’s policy is to avoid, minimize, and mitigate for any potential adverse impact to coastal or freshwater wetlands.

I. Building shading (formerly § 130.4)

1. The design of new structures and buildings should minimize shading of the shoreline and the Urban Coastal Greenway, such that the shoreline and UCG are not overwhelmed by tall and dense structures built to the setback line that rise vertically without relief from that line. Accordingly, structures should be designed to minimize the shadow cast upon the UCG and the adjacent shoreline. The RICRMC may negotiate and enter into agreements with the Metro Bay Region municipalities to allow for increased density on a development in exchange for appropriate building massing on the site.

J. Visual elements (formerly § 130.5)

1. The scenic and visual qualities of the Metro Bay Region coastal area shall be considered and protected as a resource of public priority. Development should be sited and designed to protect views to and along coastal areas, minimize the alteration of natural land forms, be visually compatible with the character of surrounding areas, and, where feasible, restore and enhance visual quality in visually degraded areas in accordance with § 1.3.5 of this Subchapter. Detailed landscape plans and artist renderings are helpful to aid the CRMC in project review.

K. Figure 2: Urban Coastal Greenway zone map. Online version: