Preparing Westerly for Climate Change

Walking dogs on a beach - Westerly RI. Photo credit: Larry St. Pierre / Shutterstock

Westerly is revising the town comprehensive plan and the new plan will address natural hazards. Let your Council know that you care about the comprehensive plan and that you want the revised plan to identify areas vulnerable to sea-level rise, flooding, storm damage, drought and other natural hazards.

Cities and towns throughout Rhode Island are required by law to create comprehensive plans that express local conditions and desires. Comprehensive plans cover many topics including land use, economic development, water, transportation, energy, solid waste, natural resources, outdoor recreation, etc. Zoning regulations must be consistent with comprehensive plans and once a local plan is approved by the State, state actions must also follow the direction established by the local plan. In 2011, state law was amended to add natural hazards to the comprehensive plan. Cities and towns are asked to identify areas that are vulnerable to natural hazards – including sea-level rise and flooding – and are asked to establish goals, policies and implementation actions to avoid or minimize the effects that natural hazards pose to lives, infrastructure and property.

Super Storm Sandy severely impacted Westerly. Many Misquamacut businesses were damaged or destroyed and Atlantic Ave. was buried under 5 feet of sand. The Comprehensive Plan must prepare Westerly for future impacts of climate change.

Westerly Residents - Town Council President Jamie Silvestri needs to hear from you today!