Except as otherwise provided in this article, the lawful use of land or buildings existing at the date of the adoption or amendment of this chapter may be continued, although such use or building does not conform to the regulations specified by this chapter for the zone district in which such land or building is located. The following provisions shall, however, apply to all nonconforming uses:
A nonconforming lot shall not be further reduced in size.
A nonconforming building shall not be enlarged, extended or increased, unless such enlargement would tend to reduce the degree of nonconformance.
A nonconforming use shall not be expanded, except as may be authorized by § 165-91 of this article.
A nonconforming use existing at the date of adoption of this chapter may not be changed to another nonconforming use.
A nonconforming use may be changed into a conforming use. When a nonconforming use is changed to conform to the requirements of this chapter, the use of the building or tract of land shall not be changed again, except in accordance with these regulations.
After the effective date of this chapter, upon the written request of the user of any structure or premises, or at the instance of the Code Enforcement Officer (CEO), an examination by the CEO of any existing use shall be made. A report of the findings made upon such examination shall thereafter be filed with the Zoning Board of Appeals, together with a certificate of existing nonconforming use, which shall clearly describe the premises and structure, if any, referred to, and shall specify the nature and extent of such existing use. Such certificate shall be prepared in triplicate, one copy of which shall be maintained by the CEO, one copy of which shall be furnished to the Zoning Board of Appeals and one copy to be furnished to the owner or user.
A nonconforming use and/or structure shall not be expanded, except in conformance with the procedures and regulations specified in this section. In no case shall such expansion extend beyond the lot occupied by such nonconforming use or structure. The expansion of a nonconforming use or structure hereunder shall be subject to approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals and each case shall be considered on an individual basis. Application forms for the expansion of a nonconforming use and/or structure shall be obtained from the CEO. The CEO shall issue a permit to allow the expansion of a preexisting nonconforming use and/or structure only upon written authorization of the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Zoning Board of Appeals, in considering such special requests, shall, at a minimum, address the following potential concerns:
Standards applicable to authorizing the expansion of a nonconforming use and/or structure.
The location and size of the nonconforming use and/or structure, the nature and intensity of the operations involved in or conducted in connection with it, the size and site in relation to it, and the location of the site in relation to it, and the location of the site with respect to streets providing access thereto. Conditions shall be in place such that the expansion will not be inconsistent with the orderly development of the district in which the use is located.
Screening or other protective measures shall be adequate to protect any adjacent properties from objectionable aspects of any such expansion of the nonconforming use.
Off-street parking areas shall be of adequate size for the particular use, and access drives shall be laid out so as to achieve maximum safety and minimum inconvenience to adjacent properties.
The Zoning Board of Appeals may prescribe any condition that it deems necessary or desirable to aid it in making a determination on the application and to protect the interests of the community and adjacent properties.
Before authorizing the expansion of a nonconforming use and/or structure, the Zoning Board of Appeals shall give public notice and hold a public hearing on the application in the same manner as required by law for amendments to this chapter.
Prior to such public hearing, the application shall be referred to the Town Planning Board for report and recommendation. The Planning Board shall have 30 days after said referral to state its position relative to the proposed application. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall hold such public hearing at the earliest possible date following the thirty-day referral period and may take action on the proposal as it deems appropriate.
Limitations. An authorization to permit the expansion of a nonconforming use and/or structure shall be deemed to authorize only the particular use or structure specified in the application and shall apply only to the area specified in the permit. A permit authorizing an expansion under this section shall expire within six months from the date of issuance if the nonconforming use and/or structure is not expanded or enlarged.
In any district, whenever a nonconforming use of land, premises, building or structure, or any part or portion thereof, has been discontinued for a period of one year, such nonconforming use shall not thereafter be reestablished, and all future uses shall be in conformity with the provisions of this chapter. If actual abandonment, in fact, is evidenced by the CEO in the form of removal of buildings, structures, machinery, equipment and other evidences of such nonconforming use of the land and premises, the abandonment shall be construed and considered to be completed as of the date observed and all rights to reestablish or continue such nonconforming use shall thereupon terminate. The CEO shall prepare written notice of such abandonment and file copies with the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Town Clerk and the property owner(s).
Any building damaged by fire or other unintentional causes may be repaired or rebuilt at its same location and setback prior to being damaged. In no case, however, shall any new construction increase the degree of nonconformance. The failure to exercise any nonconforming use, including the failure to rebuild or repair a building containing a nonconforming use which shall be wholly or partially destroyed by fire or other casualty, for a period of one year, shall terminate the right to such nonconforming use and shall automatically revoke any permit issued hereunder.
Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the strengthening or restoring to a safe condition any wall or roof which has been declared unsafe by the CEO.
Normal maintenance repairs and incidental alteration of a building or other structure containing a nonconforming use shall be permitted, provided that it does not extend the area or volume of space occupied by the nonconforming use.
Any building which is nonconforming due to insufficient yard distances or lot area shall not be considered a nonconforming use. Any alterations or structural changes may be accomplished within the existing frame of said building, but any additions shall conform to the specific setback and yard distance requirements of this chapter.
Whenever the boundaries of a district shall be changed so as to transfer an area from one district to another of a different classification, the foregoing provisions shall also apply to any nonconforming uses existing therein or created thereby.
Nothing herein contained shall require any change in plans, construction or designated use of a building or site complying with existing laws, a permit for which had been duly granted before the date of adoption of this chapter or any applicable amendment thereto.