Belton Court & Former Zion Bible College

The 39-acre property at 33 Middle Highway in Barrington, RI is the location of the historic Belton Court mansion and the former Zion Bible College campus.   The Town approved a Master Plan in 2016 for redevelopment of the property as a Continuing Care Retirement Village and changed the Zoning to "Senior Village Residential." The approved Master Plan has not yet been realized and Master Plan approval was extended by the Barrington Planning Board to expire January 2023.  Please see below for information on demolition permits, a timeline of actions since 2016, and materials from the 2016 Master Plan approval, including the 1976 National Register of Historic Places nomination package for Belton Court.

Read more about Belton Court on the Barrington Preservation Society's webpage.  

Demolition Permits - 33 Middle Highway, Belton Court & the former Zion Bible Institute

Master Plan Timeline and Status Overview

  1. Planning Board actions to date:
    • March 3, 2016 – Master Plan Approval for Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). Master Plan expiration date, July 21, 2019. Two by-right extensions for a period of one year were granted. After these two extensions, the approval can be extended again by the Planning Board for good cause.
    • March 7, 2016 - The Senior Residential Village District was adopted [Ord. No. 2016-1] The Senior Residential Village District consists of the former Zion Bible Institute on Middle Highway (Plat 14, Lots 2, 4, 13, 341, 342, and 343), as more specifically set forth on the Official Zoning Map.  
    • May 7, 2019 – One-year extension of Master Plan Approval was approved by Barrington Planning Board
    • June 2, 2020 – A second one-year extension of Master Plan Approval was approved by the Barrington Planning Board 
    • July 6, 2021 – The Barrington Planning Board granted a 3-month extension to expire October 21, 2021, with conditions focused on security upgrades on site, demolition, asbestos abatement, rodent control, and the requirement to provide a conceptual amended Master Plan including a plan to restore and repurpose Belton Court. It was noted in the minutes that any violation of conditions results in immediate prosecution for $500 per day per violation.
    • November 2, 2021 – The Barrington Planning Board granted an extension to July 21, 2022, based on conditions that included many of the same same conditions outlined in the July 6th approval, but adding a requirement to secure the roof of Belton Court to be weathertight, and to provide a report of the status of asbestos abatement and demolition on site. 
    • July 12, 2022 -  The Barrington Planning Board granted an extension of Master Plan Approval for six months, including an update in 90 days for a status report and demolition report, which would be for the October 4, 2022 Regular Meeting, and an expiration for on or about January 31, 2023. 
  2. Status:
    • Per public record provided by the Barrington Tax Assessor, the 2021 Tax Bill the owner was billed $170,670.75 at the $19.15/1,000 in assessed value. Any tax relief would require approval of Town Council and could require an ordinance change and approval at a Financial Town Meeting.
    • March 2022, the owner’s Attorney and new Project Manager met with the Town Manager, Town Planner, Building Official, and Town Solicitor to discuss developing a cost estimating study for Belton Court. The Town set the expectation that it could hire its own peer reviewer  of the cost estimating study at the owner’s expense.
    • 2022 Maps with Demolition Status 
  3. Considerations for next steps:
    • The Planning Board has the right to grant additional extensions for good cause and can impose reasonable conditions. The Planning Board could continue to issue fewer than one-year extensions and require updates and performance measures.
    • The Building Official has broad authority to issue Notice of Violation (NOVs), based on the State Building Code for vacant property
    • Any condition of approval not fulfilled constitutes a plan violation. 
    • A new Comprehensive Plan Amendment and Zoning Amendment will be required if further extensions of the 2016 Master Plan are denied, and a new Master Plan is required.

2016 Master Plan Materials

2016 - Presentation to Planning Board

2016 - Application Materials

Supplemental Narrative

Supplemental Info - Planting

2016 Master Plan Maps & Plans

Master Plan 1

Master Plan 2

Belton Court Plans

Existing Conditions & Site Plan

Aerial Photo, 2015

National Register of Historic Places

National Register, 1976 Nomination Package