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RI Coastal Resources Management Council preserve, protect, develop, and restore coastal resources for all Rhode Islanders

CRMC issues 2017-2018 ROW report

April 5, 2019, WAKEFIELD – The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) has released its 2017-2018 annual report on rights-of-way in the state, “Designation of Public Rights-of-Way to The Tidal Areas of The State.”

From July 2017 through June 2018, the CRMC continued its ongoing efforts to discover and designate public rights-of-way to the tidal areas of Rhode Island, under its legislative mandate (RIGL 46-23-17). Beginning in 1978, this mandate tasked the Council with identifying and designating all public rights-of-way to the shore. To meet this charge, the CRMC created a Rights-of-Way Subcommittee. The report details actions of the subcommittee, as well as legal proceedings stemming from these activities and subsequent actions of the Council.

The CRMC is in the process of extensively researching five potential rights-of-way in the Buttonwoods Fire District in Warwick. This information was submitted by a fire district resident, who has contended that Andrew Comstock Road, Buttonwoods Avenue, Promenade Avenue, Claflin Road, and Lorna Avenue have been accepted by the City of Warwick and lead to the shore, making them candidates for designation as CRMC rights-of-way.

Staff and legal counsel agreed that evidence submitted by the Warren Harbor Commission supported the designation of Bridge Street, Beach Street, Baker Street, and Riverview Drive, and the Council designated all four by a unanimous vote.

Employees at the Atlantic Beach Club in Middletown were found to be telling people using an adjacent CRMC right-of-way (Y-9) that they were trespassing on the club’s property, and ordering them to leave the beach, so the CRMC intervened. When informed of the problem, the CRMC coordinated with the town to ensure the club would stop this unlawful practice, and as of this time, CRMC legal counsel has reported the club is no longer engaging in the practice.

The CRMC also denied a permit application that proposed to “improve” a parcel on which CRMC ROW T-3 exists in the Town of Tiverton. The applicant claimed the purpose of the proposed activity was to improve the parcel by building a rain garden and other landscaping, but when it became clear that the activities would result in the de facto extinction of the right-of-way, the CRMC intervened and the application was denied.

The goal of the CRMC is to designate at least one public right-of-way for each mile of shoreline. With 222 sites designated along 420 miles of Rhode Island shoreline, the Council is more than halfway to its goal. For more information on the CRMC ROW designation process, go to the web site at For more detailed information on all right-of-way efforts, read the full report here.


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