PURPOSE. The requirements imposed by this Title are designed to guide the use of land by encouraging the development of structures and uses that are compatible with the predominant character of each of the various districts. Lots, structures, and uses of land or structures that do not conform to the requirements of the district in which they are located impede appropriate development. For example, nonconformities are frequently responsible for heavy traffic on residential streets, the overtaxing of parking facilities, the emission of noxious fumes or excessive noise, and/or the lowering of property values. The regulations of this Title are intended to alleviate such existing/potential problems by encouraging the gradual elimination of nonconformities.
Any vacant lot that does not conform to one or more of the lot size (area, dimensions) requirements of the district in which it is located may be used if such vacant lot:
A. is of record on the date of the adoption or amendment of this Title; and
B. has continuously remained in separate ownership from abutting tracts of land throughout the entire period during which the creation of such lot was prohibited by an applicable zoning or other Title, and
C. is at least thirty (30) feet wide.
Two or More Lots in Common Ownership. If two or more lots or combinations of lots and portions of lots with continuous frontage were of record and in common ownership on the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Title, and if one or more of those lots does not meet the minimum lot width, depth, and area requirements of the district in which it is located, the land involved shall be considered an undivided parcel. No portion of any such parcel shall be developed except in compliance with this Title, nor shall any such parcel be divided so as to create a lot that does not meet the requirements of this Title.
18.3 Nonconforming Buildings
NONCONFORMING BUILDINGS. If a lawful use of a building, or of buildings and premises in combination exists at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Title, that would not be allowed in the district under the terms of this Title, the lawful use may be continued subject to the following provisions:
Enlargement/Alterations. No existing building devoted to a use not permitted in the district in which it is located shall be enlarged, extended, constructed, reconstructed or structurally altered except in changing the use of the building to a use permitted in the district in which it is located, nor shall the intensity of such use be increased or extended. Except, any nonconforming use may be extended throughout any parts of a building which were initially arranged or designed for use at the time of adoption or amendment of this Title, but no such use shall be extended to occupy any land outside such building.
Restoration/Reconstruction. Any nonconforming building or structure destroyed or damaged by any means by more than sixty (60) percent of its then fair market value, exclusive of the foundations, shall not be restored or reconstructed unless after restoration or reconstruction of the building or structure it will conform to all regulations of the district in which it is located. If the Administrator determines that less than sixty (60) percent of its then fair market value above the foundations has been damaged or destroyed, restoration or reconstruction shall be permitted, provided it can be done within six months from the date the damage occurred.
The Administrator may require that the reconstruction cost estimate be made by a bona fide construction contractor, and that the building’s market value at the time of loss be determined by a licensed real estate appraiser. The owner of the damaged building shall be responsible for obtaining these estimates for the Administrator.
Setbacks. Any building at the time of passage or amendment to this Title which was not in conformity with required side yard, rear yard or front yard setbacks of the zoning district in which it is located shall not be considered a nonconforming use, building or premises, and may be expanded or structurally enlarged provided all requirements of the district regulations including setback requirements are complied with for the portion of the expanded or structurally enlarged building. Also, any building within a commercial district where the existing and continuing use of such building is in conformity with the commercial zoning district regulations within which it is located shall not be considered a nonconforming use if not in conformity with required side yard, rear yard or front yard setbacks and may be reconstructed if damaged or destroyed providing the reconstructed building does no contain more floor space or occupy a larger area than the original building.
Repairs/Safety. On any building devoted in whole or in part to any nonconforming use, work may be done on ordinary repairs, or on repair or replacement of nonbearing walls, fixtures, wiring or plumbing, provided that the cubic content of the building as it existed at the time of passage or amendment of this Title shall not be increased except as above provided. Nothing in this Title shall be deemed to prevent the strengthening or restoring to a safe condition of any building or part thereof declared to be unsafe by any official charged with protecting the public safety, upon order of such official.
Where, at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Title, lawful use of land exists that is made no longer permissible under the terms of this Title, such use may be continued subject to the following provisions:
A. No such nonconforming use or the intensity of such use, shall be enlarged or increased, nor extended to occupy a greater area of land than was occupied at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Title.
B. No such nonconforming use shall be moved in whole or in part to any other portion of the lot or parcel occupied by such use at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Title.
C. A nonconforming use occupying a structure shall not be changed except to another nonconforming use of the same restricted classification or to a use permitted under the applicable district regulations. The foregoing provisions shall also apply to nonconforming uses in districts hereafter changed. Whenever a nonconforming use of a building has been changed to a more restricted use or to a conforming use, such use shall not thereafter be changed to a less restricted use.
D. When a nonconforming use of a structure, or of a structure and premises in combination, is discontinued for a period of six (6) months, the nonconforming use shall not thereafter be resumed, and any subsequent use of such land shall conform to the applicable district regulations. Any discontinuance caused by government action and without any contributing fault by the nonconforming user shall not be counted in calculating the length of the said discontinuance. (Amended 10/3/94; Ordinance #94-1225)
18.5 Nonconformities Under Permit Authority
NONCONFORMITIES UNDER PERMIT AUTHORITY. The regulations of this Title shall not apply to any change in an existing building or to any change in the use of a building or of land for which a permit was issued prior to the effective date of this title or any pertinent amendment thereto provided that the work authorized by such permit has been substantially begun within six (6) months and is being diligently pursued to completion