Borough of Adamstown, PA
Lancaster County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
A. 
Within any zoning district established by this chapter or subsequent amendment thereto there exist lots, structures, uses of land, uses of structures or land and structures in combination, or characteristics of use, which were lawful before this chapter was passed or amended, but which would be prohibited, regulated or restricted under the terms of this chapter or future amendment. It is the intent of this chapter to permit these nonconformities to continue until they are removed. It is further the intent of this chapter that nonconformities shall not be used as grounds for adding other structures or uses prohibited elsewhere in the same district.
B. 
Nonconforming uses are declared by this chapter to be incompatible with permitted uses in the districts involved. A nonconforming use of a structure, a nonconforming use of land, or a nonconforming use of a structure and land in combination shall not be extended or enlarged after passage of this chapter by attachment on a building or premises or by the addition of other uses of a nature which would be prohibited generally in the district involved.
C. 
To avoid undue hardship, nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to require a change in the plans, construction or designated use of any building on which actual construction was lawfully begun prior to the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter and upon which actual building construction has been carried on diligently. Actual construction is hereby defined to include the placing of construction materials in permanent position and fastened in a permanent manner. Where excavations or demolition or removal of an existing building has been substantially begun preparatory to rebuilding, such excavation or demolition or removal shall be deemed to be actual construction, provided that work shall be carried on diligently.
Any nonconforming lot of record held in single and separate ownership on the date of enactment of this chapter or any amendment thereto which rendered such lot nonconforming and continuously held in single and separate ownership thereafter may be developed for any use permitted in the district in which the nonconforming lot is located, provided that such development complies with all setback, coverage, bulk, height and other requirements.
Where lawful use of land exists at the time of the passage of this chapter or as a result of a subsequent amendment which would not be permitted by the regulations imposed by this chapter, and where such use involves no principal structure, the use may be continued, provided that:
A. 
No such nonconforming use of land, which is ceased, removed, discontinued or abandoned for a period of one year, shall thereafter be reestablished. This cessation, discontinuance or abandonment time limit may be extended by an additional one-year time period where contracts or agreements are being negotiated, provided that: 1) the property owner makes written application for an extension, citing the reasons necessary for the extension and the length of extension requested; and 2) the Zoning Officer issues a temporary certificate of zoning compliance to register the reasons for extension, the length of extension, and the nature of the nonconformity.
B. 
No principal structures shall be erected in connection with such nonconforming use of land.
C. 
Expansion of nonconforming uses shall be limited to a maximum aggregate enlargement of 50% of the area of land so used, as compared to the land in nonconforming uses at the date of adoption of this chapter. Contiguous land owned at the effective date of this chapter may be used for expansion of the nonconforming use. However, for purposes of this chapter, approved streets or road rights-of-way define the limit of expansion of any nonconforming use of land, and such uses shall not extend across said streets or road rights-of-way.
A lawful structure existing at the effective date of adoption of this chapter or at the date of subsequent amendment that makes it nonconforming, which could not otherwise be built due to restrictions on lot coverage, height, yards, its location on the lot, or other requirements concerning the structure, may remain, subject to the following provisions:
A. 
A dimensionally nonconforming structure shall not be enlarged or altered in a way that increases its nonconformity, but a structure or portion thereof may be altered to decrease its nonconformity.
B. 
A dimensionally nonconforming structure or portion thereof may be extended along established existing building lines, provided:
(1) 
The extension meets all other applicable yard, lot coverage and height regulations; and
(2) 
Extension or enlargement along the nonconforming setback shall be limited to a maximum one-hundred-percent increase of the area of land covered by the portion of structure which is in a nonconforming status. Extension or enlargement in a conforming manner shall not be subject to the one-hundred-percent limitation. Any extension or enlargement shall be regulated by other applicable yard, lot coverage and height restrictions.
C. 
A dimensionally nonconforming structure which has been damaged or destroyed to any extent by fire, explosion, accident or calamity may be repaired or reconstructed, provided:
(1) 
The rebuilt structure is unchanged in its original size or location or is less nonconforming than the original structure; and
(2) 
Repair or reconstruction is commenced within one year from the date of damage or destruction. This time limit may be extended by an additional one-year time period where contracts or agreements are being negotiated, provided: 1) the property owner makes written application for an extension, citing the reasons necessary for the extension and the length of extension requested; and 2) the Zoning Officer issues a temporary certificate of zoning compliance to register the reasons for extension, the length of extension, and the nature of the nonconformity. Failure to repair or reconstruct within one year or within any approved time extensions thereof shall result in loss of nonconforming rights and any successive structure shall conform with all applicable ordinance requirements.
D. 
A dimensionally nonconforming structure which has been demolished or destroyed to any extent by deterioration or removal shall not be reconstructed or structurally replaced, except that:
(1) 
Any conforming portion of the dimensionally nonconforming structure may be reconstructed or replaced; and
(2) 
Repairs and maintenance shall be permitted to maintain the dimensionally nonconforming structure in a safe condition, however:
(a) 
Restoration and repairs shall be limited to protective exterior improvements; and
(b) 
A maximum aggregate of 50% of the structural or weight-bearing components of the nonconforming structure may be replaced during structural alterations, so that repairs and maintenance do not actually involve replacement of the old structure with a new one over any period of time.
E. 
Should a dimensionally nonconforming structure be moved for any reason, then:
(1) 
Relocation on part of the same land area previously covered by the structure shall equal or decrease the nonconformity; or
(2) 
Relocation to a previously unoccupied area shall conform to all applicable ordinance requirements.
If lawful use involving principal structures or land and structures in combination exists at the effective date of adoption of this chapter or at the date of subsequent amendment that makes it nonconforming, the use may be continued so long as it remains otherwise lawful, subject to the following:
A. 
Abandonment of a nonconforming use of a structure (or land and structure in combination) shall remove the nonconforming status of the structure (or land and structure in combination) so that the nonconforming use may not thereafter be reestablished. Furthermore, use of the structure (or land and structure in combination) shall thereafter conform with the regulations for the zoning district in which it is located. Abandonment shall be deemed to have occurred when the nonconforming uses is ceased, removed or discontinued for a period of one calendar year. However, this cessation, discontinuance or abandonment time limit may be supplemented by an additional one-year time period while the property is being marketed, provided: 1) the property owner makes written application for an extension, citing the reasons necessary for the extension and the length of extension requested; and 2) the Zoning Officer issues a temporary certificate of zoning compliance to register the reasons for extension, the length of extension, and the nature of the nonconformity.
B. 
Extension or enlargement of the structure containing the nonconforming use or the area of land used for storage, display or sales of products or materials in combination with the nonconforming uses shall be subject to the following:
(1) 
Expansion of the nonconforming use shall be limited to a maximum aggregate enlargement of 50% of the area of land so used at the date of adoption of this chapter or at the date of subsequent amendment that makes it nonconforming, subject to the requirements that:
(a) 
The structure containing the nonconforming use may be enlarged to cover fifty-percent additional land area; and
(b) 
Expansion may include only the same number of stories existing on the structure at the date of adoption of this chapter or at the date of subsequent amendment that makes it nonconforming. Additional stories shall not be permitted; and
(c) 
The area of land used for storage, display or sales of products or materials in combination with the nonconforming use may be enlarged to cover fifty-percent additional land area; and
(d) 
Contiguous land may be used for the maximum fifty-percent expansion, provided the land so used was owned at the date of adoption of this chapter or at the date of subsequent amendment that makes it nonconforming and expansion does not extend across any street or road right-of-way.
C. 
The Zoning Hearing Board may, by special exception, permit the substitution of one nonconforming use for an existing nonconforming use in accordance with the following criteria and limitations:
(1) 
The use proposed to be substituted shall not be more detrimental to the other uses in the zoning district than the existing nonconforming use.
(2) 
The proposed use to be substituted shall not generate more traffic than the existing nonconforming use.
(3) 
The proposed use to be substituted, if commercial or industrial in nature, shall not have longer hours of operation than the existing nonconforming use.
(4) 
The proposed use to be substituted shall not generate higher levels of noise, smoke, glare or other potential nuisance conditions or safety hazards beyond the boundaries of the property than the existing nonconforming use.
(5) 
The proposed use to be substituted shall not be more detrimental to the neighboring properties and uses than the existing nonconforming use.
(6) 
The existing nonconforming use shall be completely abandoned.
D. 
Where the nonconformity applies to the use of structure (or land and structure in combination), removal or destruction of the structure shall eliminate the nonconforming status of the land. Destruction, for the purposes of this subsection, is defined as damage to an extent of more than 90% of the replacement cost at the time of destruction.
E. 
Where the nonconformity applies to the use of structure (or land and structure in combination), if the structure (or land and structure in combination) has been damaged or destroyed to any extent by fire, explosion, accident or calamity, it may be repaired or reconstructed, provided:
(1) 
The rebuilt structure is unchanged in its original size or location or is less nonconforming than the original structure; and
(2) 
Repair or reconstruction is commenced within one year from the date of damage or destruction. This time limit may be extended by an additional one-year time period where contracts or agreements are being negotiated, provided: 1) the property owner makes written application for an extension, citing the reasons necessary for the extension and the length of extension requested; and 2) the Zoning Officer issues a temporary certificate of zoning compliance to register the reasons for extension, the length of extension, and the nature of the nonconformity. Failure to repair or reconstruct within one year or within any approved time extensions thereof shall result in loss of nonconforming rights, and any successive structure shall conform with all applicable ordinance requirements.
Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to prevent any repairs or maintenance of a nonconforming building or structure.
Any existing use that is permitted as a special exception or conditional use in a district under the terms of this chapter (other than a change through Zoning Hearing Board action from one nonconforming use to another nonconforming use not generally permitted in the district) shall not be deemed a nonconforming use in such district, but shall without further action be considered a conforming use. However, expansion, enlargement or change to that existing use shall be subject to the same criteria specified for special exception or conditional use approval within the district and administrative sections of this chapter.
In addition to the requirements of this article, all nonconforming uses, activities, construction, and other development occurring within delineated floodplains shall also comply with the applicable requirements of Article VI of this chapter[1] and other Borough ordinances and regulations.
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Section 632, Floodplain regulations, which was in Art. VI, was repealed 3-1-2016 by Ord. No. 385. See now Ch. 140, Floodplain Management, for regulations pertaining to development within floodplains.