[Amended 12-12-1988 by Ord. No. 1491]
The zoning districts established by this chapter are designed to guide future use of land in the City by encouraging the development of desirable residential, commercial and manufacturing areas, with appropriate groupings of compatible and related uses, to the end of promoting and protecting the public health, safety, comfort, property and other aspects of the general welfare.
To achieve this end, lawful existing uses which would be prohibited or restricted under the terms of the chapter or future amendments, and which do not conform to the character and regulations of the zoning district in which they are located, shall be subject to certain limitations.
Similarly, buildings or other structures which do not comply with one or more of the applicable district use requirements are deemed to be nonconforming.
Nonconforming uses and structures will be generally permitted to remain; the purpose of regulating them is to restrict further investment in uses or structures which are inappropriate to their locations.
To avoid undue hardship, nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to require a change in plans, construction or intended use of any building on which actual construction was lawfully begun prior to the effective date or amendment of this chapter and on which actual building construction has been diligently carried on.
[Amended 7-11-1983 by Ord. No. 1358; 8-8-1988 by Ord. No. 1481; 5-8-1989 by Ord. No. 1500; 5-18-1989 by Ord. No. 1549; 12-8-1997 by Ord. No. 1622]
Lawful uses, located either within a building or other structure or part thereof or on the land, or combination of both, which, at the effective date of this chapter or subsequent amendment thereto, became nonconforming, may be continued so long as they remain otherwise lawful, including subsequent sales of the property, subject to the following regulations:
Enlargement and change.
A nonconforming use of a building may be changed to another nonconforming use of the same or a more restricted classification, if no structural alterations are made therein, and such change may include structural alterations when authorized as a special exception. Whenever a nonconforming use of a building has been changed to a more restricted classification or to a conforming use, such use shall not thereafter be changed to a use of less restricted classification.
A nonconforming use shall be enlarged or increased only on land in the same lot and in the same ownership as the nonconforming use on the effective date of this chapter or any nonconforming use created by an amendment hereto. Such enlargements, up to 25%, may be permitted by the Zoning Administrator upon the applicant meeting all other requirements of this chapter. A special exception from the Zoning Hearing Board must be obtained for all enlargements in excess of 25%.
Damage or destruction.
A structure in which a nonconforming use is conducted, in a district permitting less restrictive uses, which is damaged in whole or in part by fire, explosion or natural disaster, may be rebuilt or repaired and used for a nonconforming use, provided that:
The reconstructed building shall comply with the area regulations of the district in which it is located.
A building permit for reconstruction of the building must be obtained within one year from the date of occurrence of such damage and reconstruction shall commence.
A structure in which a nonconforming use is constructed in a district permitting more restrictive uses, which is damaged in whole or in part by fire, explosion or natural disaster, may be rebuilt and used for the same use in accordance with Subsection B(1), (2) and (3) above, provided that a special exception is granted by the Zoning Hearing Board.
If a nonconforming use of land or building is discontinued for a period of six months, the owner must file, within such six-month period with the Zoning Administrator, a certificate of intention to maintain such use. Such certificate of intention shall terminate after a period of six months and may be renewed by the owner for successive six-month periods to a maximum of two years next proceeding such discontinued nonconforming use.
Should such owner fail to file a certification of intention to maintain such nonconforming use, for each of the six-month periods as prescribed for above, then this shall be presumed to be intent to abandon such nonconforming use, and any subsequent use of the land or building must conform to the regulations of this chapter.
[Amended 5-18-1989 by Ord. No. 1549]
Regulations. In any district in which single-family houses are permitted, notwithstanding the area limitation imposed by other provisions of this chapter, a single-family house and customary accessory buildings may be erected or enlarged on any single lot of record in existence at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter, provided that the following requirements shall be observed:
Such lot must be in separate ownership and not form part of a continuous frontage with other lots in the same ownership.
The provisions of this section shall apply even though such lot fails to meet requirements of area or width, or both, generally applicable in the district in which the lot is located, and a permit shall be issued by the Zoning Administrator, provided all requirements for front yard, side and/or rear yards are observed.
An application for a special exception may be made if two or more lots with continuous frontage in a single ownership are of record at the time of passage or amendment of this chapter, and if all or part of the lots do not meet the requirements for lot widths and area established by this chapter, the lands involved shall be considered an undivided parcel, and no portion of such parcel shall be occupied which does not meet lot width and area requirements established by this chapter.
Signs in existence at the effective date of this chapter or amendments thereto may be continued, subject to the regulations at § 470-52F.
[Amended 5-18-1989 by Ord. No. 1549]
In order to administer this chapter, the Building Inspector, or any other person designated as Zoning Administrator, shall prepare, immediately after the adoption of this chapter, a complete list of all nonconforming uses and signs.