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City of Biddeford, ME
York County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Amended 6-20-2017 by Ord. No. 2017.57]
The intent of this Zoning Ordinance is to regulate nonconforming lots, uses and structures. This ordinance intends to be realistic so that: nonconforming vacant lots of record can be reasonably developed; nonconforming existing structures can be properly maintained or repaired; and nonconforming uses can continue to be changed to other less nonconforming or to conforming uses; and nonconforming (as to use) single-family residential dwelling units can create accessory dwelling units subject to the performance standards in Article VI of this ordinance. When nonconforming uses fall into disuse, the intent of these regulations is not to allow them to be reestablished after a twelve-month period of dormancy. These regulations are designed for the betterment of the community and for the improvement of property values.
A. 
Continuance, enlargement, reconstruction. Any use of land, or any building, structure, or parts thereof, legally existing at the time of the adoption of this ordinance, or at any time a zone is changed by amendment hereafter, which does not conform to the requirements of this ordinance or its amendments, may continue, and may not be extended, reconstructed, enlarged, or structurally altered except as specified by this article.
B. 
Transfer of ownership. Ownership of lots, structures and uses which remain lawful but become nonconforming by the adoption or amendment of this ordinance may be transferred, and the new owner may continue the nonconforming use or continue to use the nonconforming structure or lot, subject to the provisions of this ordinance.
C. 
Restoration or replacement.
1. 
This ordinance allows the normal upkeep and maintenance of nonconforming uses and structures; repairs, renovations, or modernizations which do not involve expansion of the nonconforming use or structure; and such other changes in a nonconforming use or structure as federal, state, or local building and safety codes may require.
2. 
Any nonconforming use or structure which is hereafter damaged or destroyed by fire or any cause other than the willful act of the owner or his agent, may be restored or reconstructed within one year of the date of said damage or destruction, provided that:
(a) 
Any nonconforming structure shall not be enlarged except in conformity with this ordinance and the Maine State Plumbing Code, and is within the existing lines of nonconformity; and
(b) 
Any nonconforming use shall not be expanded in area.
3. 
Multiple structures on a single parcel of land, including rental cottages, shall not be converted, replaced, or reconstructed into one or more multifamily structures, unless such change is specifically approved by the several review bodies of the City of Biddeford as required.
4. 
Nothing in this section shall prevent the demolition of the remains of any building so damaged or destroyed.
A. 
Resumption prohibited. A building or structure in which a nonconforming use is discontinued for a period exceeding one year, or which is superseded by a conforming use, may not again be devoted to a nonconforming use, even if the owner has not intended to abandon the use. The burden of proof in this situation rests with the property owner and must be proven to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
B. 
A structure nonconforming as to use.
[Amended 6-20-2017 by Ord. No. 2017.57]
1. 
A building or structure, nonconforming as to use, shall not be enlarged unless the nonconforming use is terminated, and otherwise meets the provisions of this ordinance. This does not apply to accessory dwelling units which may be created in accordance with the performance standards in Article VI of this ordinance.
2. 
A nonconforming use of part of a building or structure shall not be extended throughout other parts of the building or structure unless those parts of the building or structure were manifestly arranged or designed for such use prior to the adoption of this ordinance, or of any amendment making such use nonconforming. This shall not apply accessory dwelling units which may be created in accordance with the performance standards in Article VI of this ordinance.
3. 
Accessory dwelling units on parcels containing a single nonconforming (as to use) dwelling unit, which was in existence as of January 1, 2017, that are created in accordance with the performance standards in Article VI of this ordinance shall not be considered the expansion or creation of a nonconforming use.
C. 
Change of use.
1. 
An existing nonconforming use may be changed to another nonconforming use provided that:
a. 
The proposed use is equally or more appropriate to the district than the existing nonconforming use; and
b. 
The impact on adjacent properties is less adverse than the impact of the former use, as determined by the appeals board. The case shall be heard as an administrative appeal.
2. 
The determination of appropriateness shall include consideration of the probable changes in traffic (volume and type), parking, noise, potential for litter, wastes or by products, fumes, odors, or other nuisances likely to result from such change of use. The performance standards in Article VI of this ordinance shall apply to such requests to establish new nonconforming uses.
D. 
Use of land.
1. 
A nonconforming use of land may not be extended into any part of the remainder of a lot of land or onto any other lot.
A nonconforming use of land which is incidental to or accessory to a nonconforming use of a building shall be discontinued at the same time the nonconforming use of the principal building is discontinued.
2. 
In the case of earth removal operations, the removal of earth may not be extended as a nonconforming use beyond the required seventy-five-foot setback lines of the specific parcel upon which such operations were in progress when such use became nonconforming. Adjacent parcels in the same or different ownership shall not be eligible for exemption under the nonconforming use provisions unless earth removal operations were in progress on these parcels before these provisions were enacted.
[Ord. No. 2001.81, 10-2-2001]
(Pertaining to dimensional requirements. Applications regarding nonconforming use shall be reviewed under the provisions above.)
A. 
Enlargements controlled.
1. 
A nonconforming structure shall not be added to or enlarged unless such addition or enlargement conforms to all the regulations of the zone in which it is located, or a variance is obtained. In addition, state laws must be adhered to.
2. 
In any situation, the total of any, or all, enlargement(s) shall be limited to no more than 25% of the total original floor area of the original nonconforming structure; further, total lot coverage shall be limited to within the setback standards specified in Table B in Article V of this ordinance relating to lot setbacks.
The placing of a foundation below a lawfully existing nonconforming structure shall not constitute the expansion of the structure, provided that the first floor space of the structure is not increased, and provided that the maximum height limit within the zone is not exceeded.
Construction or expansion of a foundation under an existing dwelling which expands habitable space shall be considered an expansion.
B. 
Discontinuance. Discontinuance of the use of a legally existing nonconforming structure shall not constitute abandonment of the structure.
Conforming use of the structure may be revived at any time.
C. 
Lack of required parking or loading space. A building or structure which is nonconforming as to the requirements for off-street parking and/or loading space shall not be enlarged, added to, or altered unless off-street parking and/or loading space is provided. This parking and/or loading space shall be in conformance with the requirements of this ordinance for both the addition or alteration and for the original building or structure, or unless a variance is obtained. Off-street parking may be provided on another property upon documentation that a deeded right has been obtained and recorded at the York County Registry of deeds.
D. 
Any nonconforming building or structure which existed on or before January 1, 1985, may continue to be used and occupied, even though its original construction may have violated the space and bulk requirements of the zoning ordinance in effect at the time of construction, if it appears from the City's records that:
1. 
A building permit was issued for the building or structure; and
2. 
Since January 1, 1985, there have been no expansion or enlargement of the building or structure or alteration of the dimensions of the lot on which the building or structure is located which increased the nonconformity beyond that existing on January 1, 1985.
[Ord. No. 2001.81, 10-2-2001]
A. 
Vacant lots. A nonconforming vacant lot that existed prior to the effective date of this ordinance may be built upon, provided that such lot is in separate ownership and not contiguous with any other vacant lot in the same ownership, and that all provisions of this ordinance except lot size and frontage can be met. Variance of setbacks or other requirements not involving area or width shall be obtained only by action of the Board of Appeals.
B. 
Built lots. A nonconforming lot that was built upon prior to the date of adoption of this ordinance is subject to the following restrictions. The structure(s) may be repaired, maintained, or improved, and if it is a conforming structure, it may be enlarged in conformity with all dimensional requirements of this ordinance except lot area, and/or lot frontage, provided that in single-family zones, single structures on such nonconforming lot shall not be connected to form multifamily structures. If the proposed enlargement of the structure(s) cannot meet the dimensional requirements of this ordinance, the applicant shall apply for a variance from the Board of Appeals.
C. 
Contiguous built lots. If two or more contiguous lots or parcels are in single or joint ownership of record as of the date of adoption of this ordinance, if all or part of the lots do not meet the dimensional requirements of this ordinance, and if a principal use exists on each lot, the nonconforming lots may be conveyed separately or together, providing the state minimum lot size law and plumbing code are complied with.
If two or more principal uses existed on a single lot of record as of the date of adoption of this ordinance, each may be sold on a separate lot providing the state minimum lot size law and plumbing code are complied with.
D. 
Contiguous lots, vacant or partially built.
1. 
a. 
If two or more contiguous lots or parcels are in single or joint ownership of record as of the date of adoption of this ordinance; or
b. 
If either or both of these lots do not individually meet the dimensional requirement of this ordinance or subsequent amendments; or
c. 
If one or more of the lots are vacant or contains a primary structure, or an accessory structure the lots shall be combined to the extent necessary to meet the dimensional standards.
2. 
The preceding shall be true except where rights have vested or the lots have frontage on parallel streets and state laws are complied with.
Nonconforming use rights cannot arise by the mere filing of a notice of intent to build, an application for building permits, or an application for required state permits and approvals. Such rights usually arise when actual construction has begun, or, in the case of pending applications, when the review process on a complete application commences. Such construction must be legal at the time it is commenced and the owner must be in possession of and in compliance with all validly issued permits, both state and local.
Nothing herein contained shall require any change in the plans, construction, size or designated use of any building, structure, or part thereof, for which a building permit has been granted prior to the adoption or amendment of this ordinance, provided construction shall start within 90 days after the granting of such permit.
[Added 9-17-2009 by Ord. No. 2009.73; amended 2-2-2010 by Ord. No. 2009.98]
Whenever a provision of this Article (Article IV) conflicts with or is inconsistent with a provision of Article XIV (Shoreland Zoning), Section 12 (Nonconformance), the provisions of Article XIV (Shoreland Zoning), Section 12 (Nonconformance) shall prevail.