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Housing creation legislation signed into law

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(The Center Square) – Five bills focused on increasing housing throughout Rhode Island are now law.

The legislation was ceremoniously signed into law by Democratic Gov. Dan McKee on Wednesday. The bills, ratified by the General Assembly, aim to spur housing development across the Ocean State.

According to a release, the bills and housing investments in the fiscal years 2023 and 2024 budgets are designed to address housing production rates in Rhode Island, which have been lagging for years. The bills will also expand the housing supply and mitigate upward pressure on rents and home purchasing prices.

“This budget cycle and legislative session was a major step in the right direction for Rhode Island in terms of creating more affordable accessible housing for all,” McKee said in a statement.

House Bill 6081 A and Senate Bill 1037A, sponsored by Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi, D-Warwick, and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, D-North Providence, work to streamline the permitting process within the Low- and Moderate-Housing Act.

House Bill 6060A and Senate Bill 1053A, sponsored by Shekarchi and Sen. Mark P. McKenney, D-Warwick, create a housing and land use court calendar.

House Bill 6061Aaa and Senate Bill 1034A, sponsored by House Chairman Rep. Robert Craven, D-North Kingstown, and Senate Majority Leader Ryan Pearson, D-Cumberland, amend the subdivision and land development permits for housing creation.

“This package fundamentally changes our state’s approach to the housing crisis, particularly for the moderate and affordable development we need most,“ Shekarchi said in a statement. “The bills will help cut through a great deal of the frustrating red tape that is standing in the way of the development of new housing. The legislative package will move housing forward for Rhode Islanders in all our communities who need and deserve safe and affordable homes.”

House Bill 6090A and Senate Bill 1035A, sponsored by Rep. Karen Alzate, D-Pawtucket, and Sen. Meghan Kallman, D-Pawtucket, allow for adaptive reuse of existing buildings, such as schools, factories, and hospitals to be repurposed for housing.

House Bill 6048B and Senate Bill 1052A, sponsored by Rep. Leonela Felix, D-Pawtucket, and Kallman, work to create a pilot program for transit-oriented housing development in Rhode Island.

“Our state continues to face a housing emergency,” Kallman said in a statement. “Too many individuals and families are unable to realize the dream of home ownership, and for those who are struggling, housing insecurity remains an all-too-common reality.

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