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FAQs

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What is the best way to have a zoning question answered?

The most efficient way is to e-mail the Zoning Officer, Guy Weston directly at gweston@cityofnewport.com or call directly to (401) 845-5452.

You can also request a zoning certificate which will provide general use and zoning information for the property in question by mailing the written request along with a processing fee of $25.00 to the department of Zoning & Inspections.

 

Do you have a copy of a map that shows my property lines?

The  Zoning and Inspections Department does not have any maps that show property lines. Our plat maps show lot approximations in order to determine zoning information only.

 

Can I put a fence on my property?

You may erect a fence on your property without a permit or Zoning approval if the fence does not exceed seven (7) feet in height.  Any fence that measures more than seven (7) feet, zero (0) inches in height will require a building permit issued by the Building Official's office.

 

How do I schedule a building, electrical, or plumbing inspection?

You may schedule an inspection by contacting the inspectors via the Contact Information page where telephone numbers and email addresses are listed.

 

How do I report trash and/or debris on (in front of) my neighbors yard?

The Minimum Housing Inspector will need to be advised. Select the Contact Information page to get the telephone number or the email address of the Minimum Housing Inspector.

 

What do I do if I wish to complain about noise?

The first call you should make is to the Newport Police Department (847-1212). Calling the police helps to document your complaint and gets a response initiated. You should call when you are experiencing the noise problem. Police officers will be dispatched when your call comes in or as soon as officers are available. Please be patient, in summer months the Police Department gets quite busy.  Remember, the sooner you call the quicker the response will be.

 

Do I need to apply for a variance? What are my zoning parameters?

Do you meet the above setbacks, lot coverage, and height restrictions?  If the property does not meet these currently or will not meet with the new construction, then an application will need to be filed to be heard by the Zoning Board of Review.  A site plan would need to be submitted with this application.

If your request is for a special use permit, a use variance, or demolition of a residence, then the Planning Board will also be involved.

 

I need a sign for my business, where do I go and what do I do?

The Newport Sign Ordinance, Chapter 17.76, is highly complex and detailed; therefore, we strongly suggest viewing the ordinance by accessing this link:

https://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientID=16524&stateID=39&statename=Rhode%20Island.

However, in brief, and to highlight certain aspects, we offer the following as a guideline only:

  • You need to determine if you are in the Historic District. A business located in the Historic District requires submission of an application to the Historic District Commission prior to the erection of any sign. The rules for submission are on the application itself.
  • How many signs can I have? One business sign per street frontage, or one for every major entrance.
  • How big of a sign can I have? In most business zones, the ratio is one square foot of signage for each lineal foot of business frontage.
  • How do I apply for a sign? Bring a sketch of your sign with the dimensions and illustrate on the sketch where the sign will be placed on your business to the Permit Clerk, third floor, Inspection Division.

 

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