THE GALILEE MISSION, INC.
ZONING BOARD OF REVIEW OF THE TOWN OF NARRAGANSETT, JAMES MANNING, ROBERT FERRARO, JOSEPH PAGLIA, GERALDINE CITRONE, and JOHN KENNEDY, in their official capacities only as Members of the Zoning Board of Review of the Town of Narragansett
Plaintiff: John F. Kenyon, Esq.
Defendant: Dawson T. Hodgson, Esq.
the Court is an appeal of a decision from the Zoning Board of
Review of the Town of Narragansett, Rhode Island (the Zoning
Board) upholding the building official's decision.
Appellant, the Galilee Mission, Inc. (Appellant or the
Galilee Mission), asks the Court to reverse the Zoning
Board's decision concerning property at 70 Inez Street,
Narragansett, Rhode Island (the Property). The Zoning Board
found that the Galilee Mission's planned purchase of the
Property constituted a furthering of its business purpose,
and it upheld the building official's decision that
renting the Property to graduates of the Galilee Mission
substance abuse program was prohibited by the Town of
Narragansett Zoning Ordinance (Zoning Ordinance). For the
following reasons, the Court reverses the Zoning Board's
Galilee Mission is a residential substance abuse treatment
program located at 268 Kingstown Road, Narragansett, Rhode
Island (the Mission House). The program is licensed by the
Rhode Island Department of Health and Department of
Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and
Hospitals and provides treatment for up to twelve residents
at the Mission House. The Galilee Mission has a special use
permit (Special Use Permit), approved in 1991, to operate a
group home for twelve residents at the Mission House.
(Special Use Permit Decision, Dec. 3, 1991, Opp. Ex. 1H.)
instant appeal arises from the Galilee Mission's plans to
purchase the Inez Street Property to use as a residential
rental property and to rent it to graduates of its program.
Currently, the Property is a two-family residential home
located in an R-10 zoning district. The Zoning Ordinance
permits two-family dwelling or duplex use in an R-10 zoning
district, pursuant to its Table of Use Regulations. Town of
Narragansett Zoning Ordinance, § 6.3.
neighbors of the Property alerted the building official,
Anthony L. Santilli, Jr. (Building Official), of Galilee
Mission's intended use of the Property. As a result, the
Building Official approached the Executive Director of the
Galilee Mission, Lynn Costigan (Costigan), about the
potential purpose, and, in response, Costigan provided him
with a summary (Summary) of the plans for the Property. After
receipt of the Summary, on May 6, 2015, the Building Official
issued a decision letter (Decision Letter) to Costigan. The
Decision Letter provided in part as follows:
"Please be advised that this office has reviewed your
request to rent 70 Inez Street to tenants who have graduated
the substance abuse program at the Galilee Mission. Under
Section 6.3 of Chapter 731 Zoning, any use not permitted by
this ordinance shall be deemed prohibited.
"You have the right to appeal this decision, obtain a
use variance or apply to the Town Council to change the Table
of Use Regulation 6.1 of Chapter 731 Zoning." (Building
Official Decision Letter, Appellant App. 2.)
14, 2015, the Galilee Mission appealed the Building
Official's Decision Letter.
18, 2015, the Zoning Board held a public hearing regarding
the Galilee Mission's appeal. At the public hearing,
Costigan, Russell W. Brown (Brown), a zoning expert, and
several graduates of the Galilee Mission testified on behalf
of the Galilee Mission. Brown testified that, based on his
understanding of the Zoning Ordinance and the Property, the
proposed use as a residential property is permitted. The
Galilee Mission graduates who testified spoke about their
positive experiences with the Galilee Mission's treatment
programs and the progress they have made in their lives as a
result. Neighboring property owners of the Property testified
in opposition to the Galilee Mission's appeal, expressing
concerns with the Galilee Mission expanding further into
their neighborhood, especially given the fact that
occasionally program graduates will relapse.
testified as to the Galilee Mission's program and
"In general. [sic] Galilee Mission is a residential
treatment program. We cater to 6 to 12 residents. In the
Mission House we do treatment. It's a 6-month, like I
said, residential. We get people back to work, back out in
the community and staying clean and sober." (Tr. 4, June
18, 2015, Appellee Ex. 1.)
also testified that the Property is a two-family dwelling
unit. Id. at 5. She stated that the Galilee Mission
planned to buy the Property to "rent it as . . . a
residence, " not to provide "treatment."
Id. at 6. Among other considerations, the Galilee
Mission's intent in purchasing the property is to provide
additional income for the organization in light of potential