A Public Hearing on the following proposed Ordinance and Resolution will be held before the Ordinance Committee on Thursday, March 17, 2022 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, City Hall, 869 Park Avenue, City Hall, Cranston, R.I. pursuant to Section 3.12 of the Charter, in accordance with the RI General Laws Chapter 45-24-53 for the purpose of considering the following items listed on the agenda. Remote participation is also available by using the logon information provided below as posted on the City’s website at www.cranstonri.gov and Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ri.gov.
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Complete copies of proposed Ordinance and Resolution are available for public review at the City Clerk’s Office, and the Cranston Central Library and the City’s website cranstonri.com under calendar by clicking on the meeting date.
“Individuals requesting interpreter services for the dear or hard of hearing must notify the City Clerk’s Office at 461-1000 ext. 3197 seventy-two (72) hours in advance of the hearing date.”
Matthew Reilly, Chair
Acting City Clerk
PROPOSED ORDINANCE NO. 2-22-02 IN AMENDMENT OF TITLE 15 OF THE CODE OF THE CITY OF CRANSTON, 2005, ENTITLED “BUILDINGS AND CONTRUCTIONS”
It is Ordained by the City of Cranston City Council as follows:
Section 1. Title 15, Chapter 12 is hereby amended by adding the following Section:
Section 780 – Certificate of Safe Occupancy
“Applicant” shall mean any owner seeking a certificate of safe occupancy.
“Low or Moderate Income Housing” shall mean any housing built or operated by any public agency or any nonprofit organization, limited equity housing cooperative, or private developer, that is subsidized with funds appropriated by the federal, state, or city government pursuant to the terms of any program aimed at the construction or rehabilitation of housing intended as to be affordable to low or moderate income households, as defined by federal or state statute or by ordinance and that will remain affordable through a land lease and/or deed restriction for ninety-nine (99) years or such other period that is either agreed to by the applicant and the City of Cranston or prescribed by the federal, state, or city subsidy program but that is not less than thirty (30) years from initial occupancy.
“Owner” shall mean any person, agent, operator, firm or corporation having a legal or equitable interest in the property, or recorded in the official records of the state, county, or city as holding title to the property.
15.12.782 Certificate of Safe Occupancy Required
No owner shall offer for rent or allow to be occupied any dwelling or dwelling units without obtaining a certificate of safe occupancy for each dwelling unit. If a building contains multiple dwelling units, a single certificate of safe occupancy may be obtained for the entire building provided that such certificate of safe occupancy shall specify each unit in such building governed by the certificate.
An application for a certificate of safe occupancy shall be submitted to the Department of Inspections which shall include all of the following information:
- name of the applicant and the address of the principal place of business of the applicant;
- number of units in the building;
- address of the building and unit(s) by house number and/or unit number(s);
- name and address of the managing operator, resident agent, or trustee, as applicable;
- name, physical address and email address of an adult individual who is a resident of Rhode Island and is designated as the applicant’s agent for receiving service of process, notices, or any other papers from the City;
- number of adult individuals authorized to occupy the building and each dwelling unit therein;
- type of building, including the number of floors, in which each unit is located;
- year the building in which the dwelling unit(s) is located was constructed;
- number of smoke detectors in the building and in each unit therein and/or indoor water sprinklers;
- type of heating system in the building and in each dwelling unit;
- source of water; and
- type of sewage disposal.
- Lead safe certificate
A certificate fee of $100 per dwelling unit made payable to the City of Cranston.
Within 30 days of receipt of an application for a certificate of safe occupancy, the Director of Inspections, or their assigned designee, shall inspect the building and dwelling unit(s) covered under the application to confirm that the building and no unit therein are in violation of the Cranston City Code. If the Director of Inspections, or their assigned designee, confirms that the building and its unit(s) therein do not violate the provisions of the Code, then a certificate of safe occupancy shall be issued to the applicant. Should the building or any unit(s) therein be found in violation of the Code, then the Director of Inspections, or their assigned designee, shall send a letter via USPS certified mail, return receipt requested to the managing operator, resident agent, and trustee, as may be applicable, detailing Code violations and specifying a time horizon for corrective action. The applicant shall contact the Department of Inspections to have the building and its unit(s) re-inspected to ensure that all violations have been cured to the satisfaction of the City and the issuance of a certificate shall be reconsidered by the City.
15.12.783 Length of certificate, revocation, and renewal
A certificate of safe occupancy shall be valid for three (3) years from the date of issuance.
Upon change of ownership, a current certificate of safe occupancy shall transfer with the purchase or sale of the property to the new owner provided that the new owner provides a written amendment providing all current information that differs from the application not more than thirty (30) days after a change in ownership.
A certificate of safe occupancy shall be revoked if it is determined that the building or any unit therein is in violation of Code or if the building or any unit therein is found in violation of any federal, state, or City building, zoning or housing code on three (3) or more separate occasions during the three (3) year period that the certificate is valid.
Not more than sixty (60) days from the date of expiration, the Department of Inspections shall issue a renewal notice to the managing operator, resident agent, or trustee, as may be applicable, that the current certificate of safe occupancy shall expire within the next sixty (60) days. The notice shall also include a copy of the application for a certificate of safe occupancy and notice of the corresponding certificate fee per dwelling unit.
This section shall not apply to: (1) owner-occupied single-family dwellings; (2) owner-occupied dwelling units; (3) publicly subsidized low and moderate income housing or rental assistance vouchers that are required to undergo periodic housing quality inspections.
15.12.785 Duties of the Department of Inspections
The Department of Inspections shall maintain a record of all certificates and shall be tasked with issuing and reissuing certificates as well as renewal notices.
Annually, in the month of September, the Director of Inspections, or their assigned designee, shall present before a joint meeting of the Cranston City Council and Cranston Housing Commission, a written report on the findings of their inspections from the most recent year.
15.12.786 Duties of the owner
Possession of a valid certificate does not abrogate an owner(s) duty to comply with any federal, state of local law or regulation.
Any owner shall have until January 1, 2025 to obtain an initial certificate, and all other dwelling units developed as new construction or changing ownership shall be required to acquire a Certificate of Safe Occupancy before leasing or in the purchase and sales process.
As of January 2, 2025 any owner violating this chapter shall be subject to the following penalties payable to the City of Cranston:
For a first offense, the owner shall be cited for violating this chapter and shall be served with a warning letter delivered via USPS certified mail, return receipt requested to the person(s) identified in this section. The warning letter shall inform the owner of the violation and provide 28 days from the date of the letter within which to comply.
Owners who fail to correct a violation of this chapter or who dispute the violation, shall be l be heard by the Housing Board of Review.
Should the owner not correct the violation outlined in the warning letter, a notice of violation shall be issued and a fine of $100 (one hundred) shall be assessed and imposed for each day that the owner is found in violation. The notice of violation shall be delivered via certified mail to the person(s) identified as a managing operator, resident agent, or trustee and shall direct the owner to pay the fine assessed by mail or in person.
15.12.788 Fees Collected
All fees collected pursuant to this section shall be used to create a permanent source of funding to support the development, repair, and rehabilitation of low or moderate income housing as well as the administration of issuing and reissuing certificates.
Section 2. This Ordinance shall take effect upon its final adoption.
Sponsored by Councilman Donegan and Councilwoman Marino
Councilwomen Germain and Vargas