Within the districts established by this Resolution, or by amendments thereto which may later be adopted, lots, uses of land, structures and uses of structures and land in combination exist which were lawful before this Resolution was passed or amended, but which would be prohibited, regulated or restricted under the terms of this Resolution. The legitimate interest of those who lawfully established these Nonconformities are herein recognized by providing for their continuance, subject to regulations limiting their completion, restoration, reconstruction, extension and substitution. Furthermore, nothing contained in this Resolution shall be construed to require any change in the layout, plans, construction, size or use of any lot, structure or structure and land in combination, for which a zoning permit became effective prior to the effective date of this Resolution, or any amendment thereto. Nevertheless, while it is the intent of this Resolution that such Nonconformities be allowed to continue until removed, they should not be encouraged to survive. Therefore, no nonconformity may be moved, extended, altered, expanded or used as grounds for any other use(s) or structure(s) prohibited elsewhere in the district without the approval of the Board of Zoning Appeals, except as otherwise specifically provided for in this Resolution.
Nonconformities are declared by this Resolution to be incompatible with permitted uses in the districts in which such uses are located. A nonconforming use of a structure, a nonconforming use of land or a nonconforming use of a structure and land in combination shall not be extended or enlarged after passage of this Resolution by attachment on a building or premises of additional signs intended to be seen from off the premises or by the addition of other uses of a nature which would be generally prohibited in the district in which such use is located without approval of the Board of Zoning Appeals, except as otherwise specifically provided for in this Resolution.
To avoid undue hardship, nothing in this Resolution shall be deemed to require a change in the plans, construction or designated use of any building on which actual construction was lawfully begun prior to the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Resolution and upon which actual building construction has been carried on diligently. Actual construction is hereby defined to include the placing of construction materials in permanent position and fastened in a permanent manner. Where demolition or removal of an existing building has been substantially begun preparatory to rebuilding, such demolition or removal shall be deemed to be actual construction, provided that the work shall be carried out diligently.
The Zoning Inspector may upon his own initiative, or shall upon the request of any owner, issue a certificate for any lot, structure, use of land, use of structure or use of land and structure in combination, that certifies that the lot, structure or use is a valid nonconforming use. The certificate shall specify the reason why the use is a nonconforming use, including a description of the extent and kind of use made of the property in question, the portion of the structure or land used for the nonconforming use and the extent that dimensional requirements are nonconforming. The purpose of this section is to protect the owners of lands or structures that are or become nonconforming. No fee shall be charged for such a certificate. One copy of the certificate shall be returned to the owner and one copy shall be retained by the Zoning Inspector, who shall maintain as a public record a file of all such certificates.
So long as no structural alterations are made, except as required by enforcement of other codes or resolutions, any nonconforming use may, upon appeal to and approval by the Board of Zoning Appeals, be changed to another nonconforming use of the same classification or of a less intensive classification or the Board shall find that the use proposed for substitution is equally appropriate or more appropriate to the district than the existing nonconforming use. In permitting such change, the Board may require that additional conditions and safeguards be met, which requirements shall pertain as stipulated conditions to the approval of such change and failure to meet such conditions shall be considered a punishable violation of this Resolution. Whenever a nonconforming use has been changed to a less intensive use or becomes a conforming use, such use shall not thereafter be changed to a more intensive use.
In any district in which single family dwellings are permitted, a single family dwelling and customary accessory buildings may be erected on any single lot of record at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Resolution, notwithstanding limitations imposed by other provisions of this Resolution. Such lot must be in separate ownership and not of continuous frontage with other lots in the same ownership. This provision shall apply even though such lot fails to meet the requirements for area or width, or both, that are generally applicable in the district, provided that yard dimensions and requirements other than those applying to area or width, or both, of the lot shall conform to the regulations for the district in which such lot is located.
If two or more lots or a combination of lots and portions of lots with continuous frontage in single ownership are of record at the time of passage or amendment of this Resolution and if all or part of the lots with no buildings do not meet the requirement established for lot width and area, the lands involved shall be considered to be an undivided parcel for the purposes of this Resolution and no portion of said parcel shall be used or sold in a manner which diminishes compliance with lot width and area requirements established by this Resolution, nor shall any division of any parcel be made which creates a lot with a width or area below the requirements.
6.7 Nonconforming Uses of Land
Where, at the time of adoption of this Resolution, lawful uses of land exist which would not be permitted by the regulations imposed by this Resolution, the uses may be continued so long as they remain otherwise lawful provided:
- No such nonconforming uses 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 Resolution.
- No such nonconforming uses shall be moved in whole or part to any portion of the lot or parcel other than that occupied by such uses at the effective date of adoption or specifically provided for in this Resolution.
- If any such nonconforming uses of land are discontinued or abandoned for more than two (2) years (except where government action impedes access to the premises), any subsequent use of such land shall conform to the regulations specified by this Resolution for the district in which such land is located.
- No additional structure not conforming to the requirements of this Resolution shall be erected in connection with such nonconforming use of land.
Where a lawful structure exists at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Resolution that does not meet the minimum requirements of the district in which the lot is located, such structure may be continued so long as it remains otherwise lawful, subject to the following provisions:
- The Zoning Board of Appeals, after a public hearing, may permit minimal enlargement or alteration of a nonconforming structure, subject to the following:
- The expansion of the nonconforming use will not be contrary to the public interest.
- Where, owning to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this Resolution would result in unnecessary hardship.
- There must exist special circumstances or conditions fully described by the applicant and which are such that strict application of the provisions of the Resolution would deprive the applicant of reasonable use of the structure. Mere loss in value shall not justify an approval be the Zoning Board of Appeals; there must be deprivation of beneficial use of the structure.
- The lot area shall be adequate to accommodate the required off street parking for the existing structure and the addition. The design, location and surface of the parking area shall be provided so as to reduce congestion, promote safety and to reduce the impact on the existing neighborhood.
- Any building or structure, existing as a nonconforming use at the time this resolution takes effect, which is damaged or destroyed by fire or the elements, may be reconstructed or restored providing the same is done within two (2) years of the date of said damage or destruction. However, any enlargement or relocation of the nonconforming building or structure proposed to be reconstructed is subject to approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals.