This article shall apply to all nonconforming uses, structures and lots, as defined by this chapter. Nothing contained herein shall require any change in the overall layout, plans, construction, size or designated use of any development, building, structure or part thereof for which official approval and required permits have been granted prior to the effective date of this chapter or any amendment thereto.
These regulations shall apply to any use of a structure or lot in any zoning district that is a nonconforming use, as defined by this chapter. Whenever the boundaries of a zoning district shall be changed so as to transfer an area from one zoning district to another zoning district of a different classification, these regulations shall apply to any uses which thereby become nonconforming.
Continuation and sale. Where, at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter, a lawful use of a lot or structure exists that is made no longer permissible under the terms of this chapter as enacted or amended, such use may be sold or otherwise transferred to other owners and may be continued as long as it remains otherwise lawful in accordance with the provisions of this article.
Enlargement or expansion.
Single-family dwellings that are nonconforming uses in any C-1, C-2, C-3, I or P District may be enlarged or expanded to occupy a greater area of the lot or to increase the height of the dwelling, provided all applicable area and bulk regulations of the zoning district in which the property is located are met.
No other nonconforming use of a lot or nonconforming use of a structure shall be enlarged or increased or extended to occupy a greater area of the lot or structure than was occupied at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter, unless the Zoning Hearing Board, after public hearing, shall interpret that the enlargement or extension is necessitated by the natural expansion and growth of the nonconforming use. Any such enlargement or expansion shall conform to the area, height and yard requirements of the zoning district in which it is located.
No nonconforming use shall be moved in whole or in part to any other portion of the lot occupied by such use at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter, unless authorized by the Zoning Hearing Board.
Any nonconforming use may be extended throughout any part of a structure that was designed for such use at the time the use became nonconforming; however, a nonconforming use shall not be extended to occupy any structure, lot or portion of a lot that was not owned by the owner of the nonconforming use at the time the use became nonconforming.
Change of use.
A nonconforming use shall not be changed to any use other than a conforming use, except as permitted as a use by special exception by the Zoning Hearing Board in accordance with the following standards:
The new nonconforming use will more closely correspond to the uses authorized in the district as permitted uses, conditional uses or uses by special exception.
The new nonconforming use will be in keeping with the character of the neighborhood in which it is located and will have an equal or lesser impact on the neighborhood than the existing nonconforming use.
Any change from one nonconforming use to another shall comply with the parking requirements of Article XVII for the new use and shall be subject to the area, bulk and buffer area regulations for such use in the zoning district where such use is authorized as a permitted use, conditional use or use by special exception.
When a nonconforming use is changed to a conforming use, the use thereafter shall not be changed to a nonconforming use.
Where a nonconforming use exists on a lot, a conforming use shall not be established on the same lot unless the nonconforming use is discontinued.
Abandonment. When a nonconforming use of a structure and/or lot is discontinued or abandoned for 12 consecutive months, the structure and/or lot shall not thereafter be used, except in conformance with the regulations of the zoning district in which it is located.
Damage or destruction.
Residential dwellings that are nonconforming uses in the C-1, C-2 or C-3 Districts may be rebuilt on the existing foundation in the event of damage or destruction, provided the reconstruction is started within 18 months of the date of destruction.
In the case of nonconforming uses, other than dwellings, when damage or destruction of a structure in which the nonconforming use is conducted involves 50% or less of the gross floor area of the structure, repairs or reconstruction may be undertaken, provided that such restoration is started within 18 months of the date of destruction. No enlargement or expansion of the nonconforming structure shall be undertaken unless the provisions of § 350-121B are met.
In the case of nonconforming uses other than dwellings, when the structure in which the nonconforming use is conducted is damaged or destroyed by fire or other means to an extent of more than 50% of its gross floor area, the structure shall be reconstructed only to house a conforming use.
These regulations shall apply to all nonconforming structures, as defined by this chapter, in all zoning districts.
Structural alteration. A nonconforming structure may be enlarged or structurally altered, provided the enlargement or alteration does not encroach any further into a required yard setback than the existing nonconforming structure does, and further provided that no new nonconformities are created. All other alterations or enlargements shall require review by the Zoning Hearing Board and, after public hearing, the Zoning Hearing Board may determine undue hardship and may authorize a variance for the reasonable modification of such structure.
Damage or destruction. Any nonconforming structure that has been partially or completely damaged or destroyed by fire or other means may be rebuilt or repaired on its existing foundation even though such foundation may violate the setback requirements for the zoning district in which the structure is located, provided that the repair or reconstruction and reoccupancy of the structure occurs within 18 months of the date that the original structure was damaged or destroyed. No enlargement or expansion of the nonconforming structure shall be undertaken unless the provisions of Subsection A are met.
Moving. Should a nonconforming structure be moved for any reason for any distance whatever, it shall thereafter conform to the requirements of the zoning district in which it is located.
Nonconforming signs may be repaired or reconstructed, provided that no structural alterations are made that increase the gross surface area of the sign; however, nonconforming signs that are damaged or destroyed to an extent of more than 51% of their replacement cost at the time of destruction shall not be reconstructed except in conformity with the provisions of this chapter. Replacement cost shall be determined by the Township Engineer upon request by the Township. The Engineer shall inspect the sign and submit a report to the Zoning Officer within 10 working days of the Township's request. The cost of the services of the Township Engineer shall be borne by the applicant. Said cost shall not exceed the amount established, from time to time, by resolution of the Board of Supervisors.
Repair or maintenance. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to prevent the strengthening or restoring to a safe condition of any structure or part thereof declared to be unsafe by any official charged with protecting the safety of the public, provided all other requirements of this section are met.
The following regulations shall apply to nonconforming lots, as defined by this chapter:
Lot area or lot width. Any lot of record existing at the effective date of this chapter may be used for the erection of a structure conforming to the use regulations of the zoning district in which it is located, without a lot area or lot width variance, even though its lot area and width are less than the minimum required by this chapter; however, such lot must comply with the front, rear and side yards, height and lot coverage standards of the zoning district wherein it is located.
Front yard setback. Where structures exist on adjacent nonconforming lots of record that have front yards less than the minimum depth required, the minimum front yard for an adjacent nonconforming lot of record shall be the average depth of the nonconforming front yards on the adjacent nonconforming lots in the same block on the same side of the street.
When the Township has not previously registered a nonconforming use, it shall be the responsibility of the owner of a nonconforming use to make an application for registration of the nonconforming use and to present documentation to the Zoning Officer that the use was lawfully in existence prior to the effective date of this chapter or any amendment that created the nonconformity. If the evidence presented is found to be acceptable, the Zoning Officer shall register the nonconforming use on a Township map and in a register referencing the property by its Westmoreland County Assessor's Tax Parcel Number as a legal nonconforming use.
In the course of administering this chapter and reviewing applications for zoning certificates, certificates of occupancy or variances, the Zoning Officer shall register all nonconforming structures and nonconforming lots as they become known through the application process.