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4/30/2024 House OKs Cortvriend wetlands buffer bill
Legislation is part of Speaker Shekarchi’s package to address housing crisis
STATE HOUSE – The House today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Terri Cortvriend to simplify wetlands zoning regulations to prevent unnecessary complications that discourage housing development. The bill is part of House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi’s 15-bill package of legislation to address Rhode Island’s housing crisis.  

The legislation (2024-H 7982) amends provisions relative to the application of zoning ordinances pertaining to wetland buffers to projects for development, redevelopment, construction or rehabilitation. It makes clear that there can be no local regulation of coastal wetlands and freshwater wetlands beyond the requirements of the state agency requirements. The legislation does not take away any responsibility from the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) or the Department of Environmental Management (DEM).

“As a founding member of the Aquidneck Island Climate Caucus and someone who has spent my life in the marine trades, I understand how absolutely vital it is to protect our coasts and our wetlands,” said Representative Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Middletown, Portsmouth). “That’s why I support having strong, uniform, statewide regulations that defend them from irresponsible development. This should not vary from one place to another, both for the sake of protecting our resources and to prevent unnecessary complications that stand in the way of the development of the housing our state desperately needs.”

The legislation now goes to the Senate.

Representative Cortvriend is also sponsoring a separate bill (2024-H 7844) to reform the CRMC into the Department of Coastal Resources, placing it within the executive branch and establishing accountability, transparency and the highest level of professional responsibility for a vital part of Rhode Island’s public infrastructure.

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923