Appeals & Variances

The Board has converted to a completely online electronic filing format.

A link to the application form for appeals/variances is located in the red-shaded section below.  This is now the required method of filing an appeal before the Board. All applications must be completely filled out, digitally signed by the Appellant (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.


Once you have completed all required fields and payment is received (if required), you will receive an automated confirmation email from OpenGov indicating that your application has been successfully submitted.

If you are unfamiliar with the appeal process, kindly take a few minutes to review the Application FAQsAppeal Process Timeline and Scheduling Protocols tabs below which provide useful information to assist in ensuring that your application makes its way to a successful outcome.  SHOULD YOU ENCOUNTER A ROADBLOCK IN THIS NEW PROCESS THAT YOU CANNOT OVERCOME, FEEL FREE TO SEEK GUIDANCE FROM THE BOARD STAFF BY UTILIZING THE "CONTACT US" PAGE.



This format can be used to file any appeal, including:

  • Notices of Violation / Inspection Reports
  • Plan Review Denials and/or Rejections
  • Abatement Proceedings Reviews
  • License/Permit Disciplinary Actions Taken by the OSFM
  • Municipal Ordinance Approvals
  • Requests for Product, Process or System Equivalency
  • Any Other Miscellaneous Relief Requested from the Board


  1. Why is it necessary to create an account?  An account is required to access the OpenGov Citizen Service portal for any purpose.  This is a one-time process and can be used multiple times as needed - there is no fee for creating an account.
  2. Who is the Applicant?  The Applicant is the person who created the OpenGov account and completed the application form.  In some cases, the Applicant, Appellant and Owner may be one and the same person yet in others, it could be three separate persons.
  3. Who is the Appellant The Appellant is the person seeking relief before the Board and can be the legal owner, an authorized representative of the owner or an attorney for the owner.  The Appellant is the person who digitally signs the application and is typically the person who appears before the Board at the appeal hearing.
  4. Who is the Owner The owner is the "legal" owner of the property and not a tenant, lessee or renter unless they are one and the same.
  5. Note: For properties owned by a corporation, LLC, partnership or other business entity: officers, directors, partners, members or other persons with decision-making authority are typically acceptable to file an application.  If unsure, check with the Board for clarification.
  6. Who must appear at the hearing?  The owner or their authorized representative must appear at the hearing to present the appeal.  The authorized representative must have a written letter of authorization unless they are an attorney.  DO NOT SEND A SUBSTITUTE -- ONLY AN ATTORNEY OR AN AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE WITH WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION WILL BE PERMITTED TO PRESENT THE APPEAL IF THE OWNER IS NOT PRESENT.
  • 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.

    Once you have completed all required fields and payment is received (if required), you will receive an automated confirmation email from OpenGov indicating that your application has been successfully submitted.

    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 are not familiar with the hearing process before the Board, it may be helpful to review Guidance Document # 23-01.

    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 Appellant, 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 Appellant, AHJ or a Board member correct any administrative, clerical or other mistake.

    Once a final decision has been mailed, an aggrieved Appellant 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).


    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 Appellant (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).

    DO NOT ASSUME THAT ANY MATERIAL(S) SENT TO THE BOARD VIA US MAIL, FACSIMILE OR EMAIL HAS BEEN RECEIVED WITHOUT VERIFICATION!  The most reliable way to submit material(s) is through the online appeal application process in the OpenGov Citizen Services platform by clicking your application once logged in and adding the material(s) with the ‘Attachments’ option on the left side of the page.

    >> >> >>  Any documents that either the Appellant 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 RIFC Section

    You will receive notification from the Board via US mail 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 online should be paid by credit card.  If you do not have a credit card, you may submit a business check, certified bank check or personal check made payable to "State of Rhode Island" by following the instructions in the form.  We do not accept money orders or cash.

    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.

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