Appeals & Variances

The Board is in the process of converting to a completely online electronic filing format -- stay tuned!

An application form for appeals/variances is available in the red-shaded section below.  Printed versions of the application may also be obtained from the Fire Safety Code Board, the State Fire Marshal's Office or your local city or town fire authority. All applications must be completely filled out, signed by the Applicant (property owner or authorized representative) and accompanied by the appropriate filing fee. See the section below to view the filing fee schedule currently in effect.

*N O T I C E: In accordance with provisions of RI State Fire Safety Code Section 450-RICR-00-00-1.7.1(K), any person, other than an attorney at law, who signs an application form as an authorized representative, shall provide the Board of Appeal & Review with a letter of authorization signed by the owner of the subject property.

If you are unfamiliar with the variance process, kindly take a few minutes to review the Appeal Process Timeline, Variance Application Instructions and Scheduling Protocols tabs below which provide useful information to assist in ensuring that your application makes its way to a successful outcome.

  • Notice of Violation / Plan Review Disapproval

    The appeal process begins once a property owner has received a notice of violation or a plan review letter of disapproval from the State Fire Marshal's Office or a local city, town or fire district fire marshal.

    Once a notice of violation is received, the property owner typically has thirty (30) days to comply with all violations or to file an appeal for variance with the Board.

    Customary requests for relief include:

    • Time extension to comply
    • Equivalency - alternative compliance proposal / plan of action
    • Variance - outright relief to permit existing condition to remain unchanged due to a structural or other hardship condition.
  • Application for Appeal

    Once an application has been filed, the Board schedules a hearing on the matter within thirty (30) days of the filing date in most cases.  For good cause where a hearing is needed sooner, a request for an "expedited hearing" may be submitted and will be considered - see 450-RICR-00-00-1.7.2(C), (D).

    An appeal application is not deemed to be filed unless it is completely filled out, with all required documents, signatures and the correct filing fee included.

    As a general rule, if there is more than one building or structure referenced in a violation notice or plan review denial, separate applications and filing fees are required.

    If you have any questions regarding your application, feel free to contact the Board staff for guidance prior to submission.

  • Appeal Hearing

    Hearings are typically held every Tuesday at the Board headquarters in Warwick starting at 1:00 PM.  Hearings are not held in the weeks where there is a State or Federal holiday.

    The property owner or their authorized representative must attend the hearing to present their case.  If an authorized representative is not an attorney, a letter of authorization from the owner is required.

    A tenant, lessee or business owner who is not the legal owner of the property is not considered an authorized representative without a letter of authorization.

    When filing an appeal application, if you are aware of any Tuesday dates in the future when you will not be available, it would be helpful to include a separate notice to that effect to assist with scheduling logistics.

  • Decision Issued

    A written decision will be issued by the Board within two (2) weeks of the date of the hearing in most cases.  The "date of the decision" is the benchmark for compliance in the majority of cases and is the mailing date of the decision, not the date of the hearing, unless specifically stated otherwise in the decision.

    Any time after a hearing has been held, but before a final decision has been mailed, the Board may reopen a case at the request of the Applicant, AHJ or a Board member for the purpose of taking additional previously unavailable testimony and/or evidence.

    Any time after a final decision has been mailed, the Board may, at the request of the Applicant, AHJ or a Board member correct any administrative, clerical or other mistake.

    Once a final decision has been mailed, an aggrieved Applicant may commence an action against the State Fire Marshal in the Sixth Division District Court within thirty (30) days in accordance with 450-RICR-00-00-1.7.2(S).


    TO FILL OUT AN ON-LINE APPEAL VARIANCE APPLICATION:  The Board is now accepting VARIANCE APPLICATION forms that can be downloaded and printed by clicking HERE.   However, at this time, the completed form still must be manually submitted to the Board with the appropriate filing fee and any supporting documents and signatures before it can be processed.

    When submitting an Appeal application, PLEASE take a moment to review these filing instructions by clicking the document below. Incomplete applications will not be accepted and returned to you if all required fields are not completed, most importantly, Section 1 which is the address for the actual property in question!

    NOTE: This is a SAMPLE and not an actual variance application - please utilize the section above for an actual application form.


    The Board will make a good faith effort to schedule a request for an appeal hearing within thirty (30) days of the filing date (See the SCHEDULED HEARINGS page for tentative meeting dates) provided that a COMPLETE application is RECEIVED AND FILED. In order for the appeal to be filed and scheduled for a hearing, the application form must be filled out completely and signed by the Applicant (property owner, authorized representative or attorney for the owner) and include any relevant documents and approvals or disapprovals from the fire official (AHJ), and the submittal of the appropriate filing fee.

    For good cause, an appeal may be scheduled on the next available meeting date for an expedited hearing upon the request of the Applicant or the AHJ in accordance with 450-RICR-00-00-1.7.2(C).


    ** ** **   Any documents that either the Applicant or the AHJ wishes to rely upon during their scheduled hearing shall be submitted to the Board, and the opposing side, at least seven (7) calendar days prior to their scheduled Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal & Review hearing. This requirement may be either shortened or waived by the Board for good cause shown in accordance with 450-RICR-00-00-7.1.1 [1:].

    You will receive notification from the Board once your application has been processed and a hearing date scheduled.

    These are the current filing fees in effect for variance applications.  Fees are payable to the "State of Rhode Island".  A filing fee is not required for an appeal of a permit/license suspension or revocation or an abatement proceeding.

    If you are not sure of which filing fee is applicable, kindly contact the Board.

    Filing fees* for appeal applications submitted to the Board must be in the form of a business check, certified bank check or personal check made payable to "State of Rhode Island." We do not accept money orders, cash or credit cards**.

    You will be notified immediately if your check is returned due to insufficient funds, at which point you will have 24 hours to bring a certified bank check to the Board in the amount that the returned check was for, plus an additional $25 processing fee for each returned check.  NOTE: Your appeal process will be halted and will not proceed until this is resolved!

    * Printed or electronic journal / payment vouchers may be submitted for State-owned properties.

    ** Credit card payments will become available when the new on-line application process becomes operational.

    *** FOOD TRUCKS: If you are submitting an application for violations in a mobile food establishment (food truck), please review this document:

    Add supplemental information to an appeal application that is pending.