Sunday, January 29, 2023        

Zoning Department

Christopher McWhite, Building & Zoning Official

Christopher McWhite, CBO, HCO
Building and Zoning Official

FUNCTION:  The Building & Zoning Department is responsible for interpreting and enforcing the State of Rhode Island Building Codes and Minimum Housing Codes, the Town of Smithfield Zoning Ordinances, various sections of the Town Code, Health Ordinance, the Americans with Disabilities Act, along with several State regulations. The office responds to complaints, corrects violations, processes permit applications and performs plan review, as well as numerous other related functions.

Looking for the Building Department page? Click here

Zoning Board of Review Meeting Information

Next Meeting: December 7, 2022


 Zoning Forms
Downloadable Forms & Documents (.pdf)

Signed Zoning Certificates are mailed to the applicant or may be picked up during normal business hours.

The Building and Zoning Department has reopened to the public from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. When Town Hall is closed, there is a secure  drop box at the front of Town Hall. Documents and other correspondence can be placed there and must be labeled Building & Zoning Department and marked Attention with the intended recipients name or job title. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is zoning?
Zoning is a term that refers to how cities and towns regulate land use.  Chapter 45-24 of the Rhode Island General Laws, titled the “Rhode Island Zoning Enabling Act of 1991,” requires that every city and town create, maintain, and enforce a zoning ordinance that conforms to the basic provisions enumerated therein. Zoning includes, but is not limited to, the regulation of signs, parking, and land development.

How does zoning benefit me?
Zoning promotes responsible growth and operation by ensuring that parties coexist in a functional, clean, and aesthetically pleasing environment.  These benefits flow to you via zoning enforcement by zoning officials and decisions from the Smithfield Zoning Board.

I have an interest in a specific property.  What is that property zoned?
Determine a property’s zone using Smithfield’s electronic Geographic Information System (GIS).  Find the “Geographic Information (GIS)” tool under the link titled “Smithfield Info” on the menu at the top-left hand corner of this page.  Follow the instructions on the “Geographic Information (GIS)” page.

Need assistance?  Contact the Building and Zoning Office at (401) 233 – 1039.

What is a zoning certificate and how can I get one?
A zoning certificate is a zoning official’s written determination of a property’s zoning status.  Zoning certificates may include information on zoning districts, legality of use, and zoning violations.  Parties can appeal a zoning official’s determination to the Zoning Board.  Zoning certificates cost twenty dollars ($20).  Click here for a zoning certificate application.

Can I operate a business from my home?
Home offices are permitted by right in most, but not all, all residential districts.  An appearance before the Zoning Board for a special use permit may be required.  Furthermore, some business operations are prohibited in residential districts altogether.  Avoid unwanted problems by consulting with the Zoning Official before operating a business from your home.

No worries.  Call the Building and Zoning Office at (401) 233-1039 and let us explain.  We are willing to meet you on site, at your home, office, or the subject property, to help you get the job done.