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Township of Millcreek, PA
Erie County
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A. 
If, within the zoning districts established by this chapter or due to amendments that may later be adopted, there exist lots, structures, uses or signs which were lawful before regulations were first enacted but which would be prohibited, regulated or restricted under the terms of this chapter, ordinances restated by this chapter and/or future amendments of this chapter, it is the intent of this chapter to permit these nonconformities until they are abandoned or removed, except as specifically provided to the contrary in this chapter.
B. 
Such lots, structures, uses and signs are declared to be incompatible with authorized lots, structures and uses in the zoning districts involved. It is the intent of this chapter that lots, structures, uses and signs be brought into compliance with existing regulations and that any expansion of a nonconformity be effected in accordance with then-existing regulations, subject to the provisions of this article.
C. 
A nonconforming lot, structure, sign or use shall not be extended, expanded or enlarged upon by:
(1) 
The addition of other uses or structures, if such additions are of a nature which would be prohibited generally in the district;
(2) 
Attachment of additional signs to a building; or
(3) 
The placement of additional signs or display devices on the land outside the building.
D. 
To avoid undue hardship, this chapter shall not be deemed to require a change in the plans, construction or designated use of any building or structure on which actual construction was lawfully begun prior to the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter and upon which actual construction has been diligently commenced. "Actual construction" is defined to include the placing of construction materials in permanent position and fastened in a permanent manner, and where demolition or removal of an existing building or structure has substantially begun preparatory to rebuilding, such demolition or removal shall be deemed to be actual construction so long as that work shall be diligently carried on until completion of the building or structure involved, in any event within 12 months after the date on which a zoning permit was issued.
E. 
Where the zoning use classification of property is amended upon petition by the owner or equitable owner of such property, such amendment shall not be deemed one according protection to uses existing as of the date of such amendment, and the owner, upon amendment of the zoning classification, shall bring uses of the property into compliance with those permitted in this chapter for the district so requested by the owner. All petitions for rezoning shall include the owner's agreement to bring uses into conformity with those permitted in the requested zoning district.
F. 
If boundaries of a zoning district are changed so as to transfer land from one zoning district to another, other than pursuant to a petition by the owner or equitable owner of that land, this article shall govern uses that thereby become nonconforming.
G. 
Nonconformities which are dimensional in nature shall not be deemed to have any natural right of expansion.
H. 
A nonconforming private residence or residential use shall not be deemed to have any natural right of expansion.
I. 
Except where specifically authorized in this article, any change, expansion, enlargement, construction, reconstruction or structural alteration of a nonconforming lot, structure or use shall be allowed only upon the grant by the Zoning Hearing Board of a variance upon the Board's finding that grounds for a variance exist.
A. 
Any existing lot of record within a subdivision or otherwise which was created prior to the enactment of this chapter and which is located in any district in which single-family dwellings are permitted may be used for the erection of a single-family dwelling and for a residential garage, addition or building accessory to a single-family dwelling, even though the lot's area, width and/or depth is less than requirements established in this chapter; provided, that yard setback and other regulations shall be complied with. This section shall not alter provisions in Chapter 125, Subdivision and Land Development, pertaining to standards for subdivision waiver approval.
B. 
If two or more lots of record with continuous frontage are held in single ownership and if both, all or any of such lots do not meet the requirements in this chapter for lot area and width in the zoning district, the lands involved shall be considered to be an undivided parcel for purposes of this chapter. No portion of said parcel(s) shall be used or sold which does not meet lot width and lot area requirements established by this chapter, nor shall any division of the parcel(s) be made which leaves remaining any lot having a width or area less than the requirements established in this chapter. Any division of such parcel(s) containing a nonconforming use of a structure shall conform with the minimum lot width and area requirements for authorized uses. The Zoning Administrator, upon receipt of an application for permit, shall have authority to direct that the lots of record be replotted to create fewer lots if necessary to comply with the requirements of this chapter.
If a lawful building or structure exists at the effective date of this chapter that could not be built under the terms of this chapter, such building or structure may be continued so long as it remains otherwise lawful, subject to the following provisions:
A. 
Enlargement and/or alteration. No such building or structure may be enlarged, increased in height or have any structural alterations made in a way which increases its nonconformity, unless the Zoning Hearing Board after finding that an undue hardship exists authorizes a reasonable modification and all applicable area, setback, parking and loading regulations are complied with.
B. 
Damage or destruction. Should such building or structure be damaged or destroyed by any means, it may be repaired or reconstructed; provided, that such restoration must be commenced within 12 months after the date of damage and that the use and intensity of use is no more objectionable or no greater than existed prior to its destruction. For purposes of this subsection, "use and intensity of use" shall include but not be limited to use, height, area, illumination and deviation from setback and other applicable regulations. If work to restore the damaged structure is not commenced within 12 months after the date of the damage, such building or structure shall not be reconstructed except in conformity with the provisions of this chapter.
C. 
If a nonconforming structure should become dilapidated such that complete restoration or replacement is necessary, such structure may only be reconstructed or replaced if permitted and as permitted under regulations of this chapter.
D. 
If a nonconforming structure should be removed, any reconstruction shall conform to all applicable regulations of this chapter.
E. 
Should such building or structure be moved for any reason for any distance on the same or other premises, it shall thereafter conform to the regulations for the zoning district in which it is located.
F. 
No expansion or enlargement of any building or structure shall be allowed within any identified floodplain that would cause any increase in flood heights.
A. 
Nonconforming signs shall be subject to the regulations of this article governing nonconforming structures, as supplemented and/or modified by regulations of this section:
(1) 
Nonconforming signs may be repaired; provided, that no structural alterations shall be made which increase the area of the advertising matter.
(2) 
Nonconforming signs may not be enlarged, added to or replaced by another nonconforming use or structure, except that substitution or interchange of poster panels and painted boards on nonconforming signs shall be permitted.
(3) 
Replaced or repaired signs shall be of equal or lesser dimensions and constructed of the same or less durable material than the sign being replaced or repaired and shall contain no improvements or additions.
(4) 
Nonconforming signs shall not be moved to a different location unless the Zoning Hearing Board finds that a relocation on the lot is necessary to comply with law.
(5) 
A nonconforming sign must be removed or made to conform to this chapter in every respect within 10 days after notice from the Township, whenever:
(a) 
It is not securely attached to the ground or some other object and can be easily removed.
(b) 
It becomes so deteriorated that it no longer serves a useful purpose and is determined by the Township to be a nuisance.
B. 
Any sign in violation of the regulations in Article VII governing prohibited signs shall be removed within 10 days after notice from the Township to do so.
Where a lawful use of a lot exists at the effective date of this chapter that is made no longer permissible under the terms of this chapter as enacted or amended, such use may be continued so long as it remains otherwise lawful, subject to the following provisions:
A. 
No such nonconforming use shall be enlarged, increased, expanded or extended to occupy a greater area of land than was occupied at the effective date of this chapter, unless the Zoning Hearing Board should determine that the enlargement or expansion is necessary by the natural expansion and growth of trade of the nonconforming use. This subsection is not intended and shall not be interpreted to extend the principle of natural expansion to a private residence or other uses not recognized by courts as within its application.
B. 
No such nonconforming use shall be moved, in whole or in part, to any portion of the lot not occupied by such use at the effective date of this chapter.
C. 
If such nonconforming use of the lot ceases or is discontinued for any reason for a period of more than 12 months, it shall be presumed that the nonconforming use has been abandoned, and any subsequent use of such lot shall conform to the regulations established in this chapter for the zoning district in which the lot is located.
D. 
Whenever a nonconforming use of a lot has been changed to a more restrictive use or to a conforming use, such use shall not thereafter be changed to a less restrictive use.
A. 
No existing building or structure devoted to a use not permitted by this chapter in the zoning district in which it is located shall be enlarged, extended, constructed, reconstructed, moved or otherwise have any structural alterations made to it except in changing the use of the structure to an authorized use in the zoning district, unless the Zoning Hearing Board shall determine that the enlargement, extension, construction, reconstruction or structural alteration is necessitated by the natural expansion and growth of trade of the nonconforming use and grant a variance allowing the same, subject to such reasonable conditions as the Board may attach. This subsection is not intended and shall not be interpreted to extend the principle of natural expansion to a private residence or other uses not recognized by courts as within its application.
B. 
The nonconforming use may be extended throughout any part of the building or structure that was manifestly arranged or designed for such use at the time of adoption or amendment of this chapter, but no such use shall be extended to occupy any lot or portion of a lot outside such building or structure and all area, yard and parking requirements for the district in which the building or structure is located shall be complied with.
C. 
A nonconforming use of a building or structure may be changed to another nonconforming use of the same or of a more restrictive nature so long as no structural alterations are made other than those directed by the Zoning Administrator in writing to assure the safety of the building or structure; provided that such change shall:
(1) 
Be registered by the Zoning Administrator;
(2) 
Constitute an abandonment of the former nonconforming use so changed; and
(3) 
Prohibit any future change to a less restrictive use.
D. 
Any building or structure and lot in combination in or on which a nonconforming use is superseded by an authorized use shall thereafter conform to the regulations for the zoning district in which such building or structure is located, and the nonconforming use may not thereafter be resumed.
E. 
If a nonconforming use of a building or structure, or of a building or structure and lot in combination, ceases or is discontinued for any reason for a period of more than 12 months, it shall be presumed that the nonconforming use has been abandoned, and any subsequent use of such building and/or structure and lot shall conform to the regulations established in this chapter for the district in which the lot is located.
F. 
Where nonconforming status applies to both the use and the building or structure, removal or destruction of the nonconforming building or structure shall eliminate the nonconforming use on the lot, except as is otherwise provided in § 145-97.
Nothing in this article shall be deemed to prevent the strengthening or restoring to a safe condition any building or structure or portion thereof which has been declared to be unsafe by any official charged with protecting the safety of the public.
A. 
Any use approved as a permitted use, as a use on special exception or by a variance as authorized in this chapter shall not be deemed a nonconforming use.
B. 
Any lot, structure, use and/or use of a structure and/or a lot which was not lawful when this chapter was enacted or amended shall not be deemed nonconforming.
A. 
The Zoning Administrator is authorized to register nonconforming lots, buildings and structures, uses of lots and uses of buildings and structures existing in the Township.
B. 
When determinations are made in accordance with this article that a nonconforming lot, building or structure or use of a lot or of a building or structure exists or may be altered, a record of the determination shall be maintained in the property file.