FAQs: Sakonnet Bluffs Waterfront and Waterview Lots for sale in Portsmouth, RI
Buying vacant land requires due diligence and Sakonnet Bluffs in Portsmouth, RI is no exception. Here is a list of the most frequently asked questions to help guide you through the process.
WHERE CAN I SITE MY HOUSE?
Sakonnet Bluffs is in an R40 zone which means your house must be at least 20 feet from the side boundaries, 30 feet from the front boundary and 30 feet from the back boundary. You can site your home within this area subject to the approval of the developer or Homeowner's Association Architectural Committee. There is a 35 foot, 2 1/2 story height limit and a 20% lot coverage limit. If you are building on a waterfront lot, you must also avoid construction within 225' of the coastal feature. (see more below regarding CRMC Buffer Zone.)
ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS ON HOME SIZE?
Yes. Homes must be at least 3,000 square feet exclusive of basements and garages. Designs must include a minimum 2-car, maximum 4-car, garage. Height is restricted to 35 feet above mean grade. Your plans must be approved by the developer or the Home Owner Association's architectural committee.
It's both. The section of road on the south side of Sakonnet Bluffs, running east / west from Frank Cohelo Rd down to the circle is private. The road that runs parallel to the shoreline, including the circle, is an extension of Vanderbilt Lane, and it's public.
WILL THERE BE A GATE?
There will be 2 electronic gates. Residents will open them with a special fob or a keypad code. One gate will be located at the main entrance off Frank Cohelo Road and the other will be at the bottom of the hill just south of the Vanderbilt Road circle.
IS NATURAL GAS AVAILABLE?
There is no natural gas at Sakonnet Bluffs. Propane, geothermal or oil are the alternatives.
IS THERE TOWN WATER AND SEWER?
Town water is available. There are no sewers in Portsmouth, so a septic system is required.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR AND INSTALL A SEPTIC SYSTEM?
The first step is determining whether the soil is suitable for a septic system. Soil testing is complete for all the lots at Sakonnet Bluffs and a full report is available upon request. With the soil test and your preliminary home design, an engineer can design your septic system taking into consideration the siting and configuration of your home and any other structures on the site. The completed design is then submitted to the RI Department of Environmental Management for approval. Once DEM approves your septic design, you're good to go.
AM I REQUIRED TO USE A CERTAIN BUILDER?
You can choose your own architect and builder, however, your plans must be approved by the developer or the Home Owners' Association architectural committee. For more details, request a copy of the deed restrictions.
CAN I FINANCE THE LAND AND CONSTRUCTION OF MY HOME TOGETHER?
Yes, many lenders provide land loans that convert to construction loans when you're ready to build. Ask your preferred lender about the programs they offer.
IS THERE A HOMEOWNERS' ASSOCIATION?
Yes, the first meeting of the homeowners' association will take place on March 1, 2020, and directors will be elected at that time. Each lot owner will be responsible for 1/14th of the total expenses for snowplowing, common area maintenance (the land on the south side of the private road is common), some landscaping and occasional maintenance of the stormwater drainage areas. While the association will be governed by its board of directors, the developer will retain the right to enforce the restrictive covenants up until the last lot is sold. For more details, request a copy of the Sakonnet Bluffs homeowner's association documents.
WHAT ABOUT DRAINAGE?
Sakonnet Bluffs has a sophisticated network of spillways, berms, catch basins, plunge pools, swales and detention ponds directing the flow of water throughout the subdivision. The system has been inspected and approved by the town and the RI Department of Environmental Management. Bioswales along the road will be planted with water/drought tolerant plants, and a rain garden will be created in the circle at the bend in the road. The system slows the water down, maximizes absorption and delivers the overflow gently into the Sakonnet River.
I'M INTERESTED IN A WATERFRONT LOT. CAN I CLEAR THE VEGETATION DOWN BY THE WATER?
The answer to this question is a qualified yes. You must have a permit (called an assent) from Rhode Island's Coastal Resources Management Council (a.k.a. CRMC) to modify the area within 200 feet of the coastal feature. The coastal feature is the spot where the land transitions to the shore. Its precise location is determined by an engineer. The area extending in 200 feet from the coastal feature is called the CRMC Buffer Zone. Anything you do in this area must be approved by CRMC. As a rule, CRMC will allow a view corridor of up to 25% of your water frontage. If you have 100 feet of waterfront, for example, you can apply for 25 feet of view corridor. You can also apply for a path to the water (usually within the view corridor), a 200 s.f. recreational feature like a gazebo or pavilion, and a stair to the water. In addition, you can request permission to remove invasive species within the 200' buffer zone. The assent will clearly spell out what you can and cannot do in the CRMC Buffer Zone.
In addition to restrictions in the 200' buffer zone, CRMC prohibits building in the area between the 200-foot mark and the 225-foot mark. This area is called a "no-build zone". Unlike the 200' buffer zone where plant species and locations are regulated by CRMC, you can plant anything you like in the no-build zone.
Professional drawings of your landscape, gazebo, view corridor, path and/or stair must be submitted to CRMC for their review and approval. Every case is different, and CRMC provides precise instructions on how you may proceed. Once you have your CRMC assent you can get to work on your landscape.
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