Township of Upper Hanover, PA
Montgomery County
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All buildings, structures, uses of land, uses of buildings, lots and signs which do not conform to all of the applicable regulations of the district in which they are located or other applicable requirements of this chapter shall be considered as nonconforming, provided that:
A. 
They lawfully existed on the date of passage of this chapter; or
B. 
They lawfully existed on the date of passage of a text or map amendment to this chapter, which amendment caused the nonconforming status.
Nonconforming status shall be classified as follows:
A. 
Nonconforming use. A use, whether of land or within a structure, which does not comply with the applicable use provisions in a zoning ordinance or amendment heretofore or hereafter enacted, where such use was lawfully in existence prior to the enactment of such ordinance or amendment or prior to the application of such ordinance or amendment to its location by reason of annexation.
B. 
Nonconforming building or structure. A structure or part of a structure manifestly not in compliance with the applicable use or extent of use, dimensional or locational provisions in a zoning ordinance or amendment heretofore or hereafter enacted, where such structure was lawfully in existence prior to the enactment of such ordinance or amendment or prior to the application of such ordinance or amendment to its location by reason of annexation. Such nonconforming structures include nonconforming signs.
C. 
Nonconforming lot. A lot, the area or dimension of which was lawful prior to the adoption or amendment of a zoning ordinance, but which fails to conform to the requirements of the zoning district in which it is located by reasons of such adoption or amendment.
D. 
Nonconforming signs. Any sign, signboard, billboard or advertising device existing at the time of the passing of this chapter that does not conform in use, location, height or size with the regulations of this chapter shall be considered a nonconforming sign and may continue in such use in its present location.
(1) 
If and when the sign is replaced, the new sign shall comply with the requirements of this chapter.
(2) 
Replacement of the sign shall not include simply revising the text or color of the sign but shall include structural replacement and/or relocation of the sign.
E. 
Temporary nonconforming use. A temporary nonconforming use, which will benefit the public health or welfare or promote proper development of a district in conformity with the intent of this chapter, may be permitted for a period of not more than 30 days on the approval of an application for a special exception by the Zoning Hearing Board, but any such use to be permitted for a longer period shall require a public hearing thereon, after which a Zoning Hearing Board approval may be granted for a period not to exceed one year. A building permit and/or use and occupancy permit shall be required for any structure associated with such a temporary use, in accordance with the standards and regulations for permanent structures and uses.
The following regulations shall govern all properties to which nonconforming status is applied:
A. 
Nonconforming status shall continue and a property may continue to be used as nonconforming until it complies with the requirements of this chapter.
B. 
Change of use.
(1) 
A nonconforming use may be changed to another nonconforming use only if the new use is no more detrimental than the existing nonconforming use and the new use is no less appropriate or is more appropriate for the district in which it is located. The new use shall be considered more detrimental and less appropriate than the existing nonconforming use if it creates a significant increase in one or more of the following factors:
(a) 
Traffic generation and parking capacity, including truck traffic and loading areas.
(b) 
Building and/or impervious coverage.
(c) 
Generation of noise, odors and/or lighting glare.
(d) 
Other negative impacts on adjacent conforming properties caused by new construction and/or relocation of existing facilities.
(2) 
A nonconforming use shall not be changed to another nonconforming use of a lower (less restrictive) land use classification.
(3) 
If a nonconforming use is changed to a conforming use, then the nonconforming status shall become null and void when the use and occupancy permit is issued for the conforming use.
C. 
Discontinuance. A nonconforming use, when discontinued, may be resumed any time within one year from such discontinuance, but thereafter shall be considered abandoned. The resumption may be of the same class or use, but shall not be less appropriate or more detrimental than the previous nonconforming use, as regulated by § 500-702B herein. Abandonment may be subject to legal interpretation based on applicable case law.
D. 
Extension or expansion. A nonconforming use, building or structure, not including signs, may be extended or expanded when permitted by special exception in compliance with the following:
[Amended 7-14-1998 by Ord. No. 98-2]
(1) 
A nonconforming use shall not be extended or expanded onto an adjoining lot, but shall be confined to the lot on which the use existed at the time it became nonconforming.
(2) 
A nonconforming use may be extended throughout the interior of a building as it existed when the use became nonconforming.
(3) 
A conforming or nonconforming building that contains a nonconforming use may be expanded in compliance with § 500-702D(6) herein.
(4) 
A nonconforming use may be extended to another building that existed on the same lot at the time the use became nonconforming, in compliance with § 500-702D(6) herein, provided that the nonconforming use continues in the existing building.
(5) 
Expansion of nonconforming building.
(a) 
A nonconforming building in any zoning district may be expanded in compliance with § 500-702D(6) herein.
(b) 
A nonconforming residential building located on a nonconforming lot of less than 40,000 square feet in an R-1 Residential District may be expanded in compliance with § 500-702D(6) herein to a minimum side yard requirement of 10 feet, 40 feet aggregate.
(6) 
Extension and/or expansion of a nonconforming building or building containing a nonconforming use may be permitted more than one time but shall be limited to a total of 25% of the gross floor area of the building as it existed when it first became nonconforming. All new construction shall comply with the dimensional standards of the district in which the building is located, including building coverage.
(7) 
A nonconforming use of land may be expanded by no more than 10% of the gross lot area at the time it became nonconforming.
(8) 
A special exception shall not be required to expand a single-family detached residential building that does not conform to front, rear or side yard setbacks when the building expansion does not intrude into the required yard areas any further than the existing nonconforming building.
E. 
Additional building regulations. The following regulations apply to buildings:
(1) 
When new ordinance provisions are adopted and affect planned construction which has not been completed:
(a) 
Buildings under construction to the extent of completion of footings may be completed as nonconforming buildings, provided that valid building permits have been issued for those buildings. If the building was intended for a use which has become nonconforming after construction of the building had begun, the building may be occupied and used for that legal use intended at the time the building permit was issued or for a use which is otherwise in conformance with the regulations for the zoning district in which the building is located.
(b) 
Buildings not yet under construction shall be built in conformance to this chapter.
(2) 
Nonconforming primary structures damaged or destroyed by fire, explosion, accident or calamity (as contrasted to deterioration due to time or neglect) may be reconstructed and used as before, provided that:
(a) 
The reconstructed building shall not exceed the dimensions of the damaged or destroyed building, including height, width, depth and/or volume.
(b) 
Building reconstruction shall be started within one year from the date the building was damaged or destroyed and shall be carried out without interruption.
(c) 
The building will pose no hazards to safety by virtue of its location.
(3) 
Legally condemned nonconforming buildings shall not be rebuilt or used except in conformance with this chapter.
F. 
Development of nonconforming lots. A single-family detached dwelling unit may be constructed on a nonconforming lot in a residential district in accordance with the dimensional requirements of the district. Relief from dimensional requirements which present a hardship may be sought through the Zoning Hearing Board variance procedure.
G. 
Contiguous undeveloped lots. Where two or more contiguous undeveloped lots are held in single ownership, which lots are individually not of the required minimum area or width for the district in which they are situated, such lots may be developed only in groups thereof in order to provide the minimum lot area and width required. When all lots in single ownership are combined and still do not meet area and/or width requirements, they may be considered a single nonconforming lot in accordance with § 500-702F herein. These lots may not be sold, conveyed or otherwise transferred individually for the purpose of using one or more as building lots unless the transfer consists of sufficient lots to satisfy zoning standards or the complete set of lots in single ownership that do not satisfy zoning standards.
H. 
Exception. A nonconforming lot of record which is part of a subdivision plan approved by the Board of Supervisors and recorded in the office of the Recorder of Deeds as such, and which is in compliance with the zoning regulations in effect immediately prior to the date of enactment of this chapter, may be developed in accordance with the terms of such approval and zoning regulations.
I. 
Nonconforming signs. If and when a nonconforming sign is replaced, the new sign shall comply with the requirements of this chapter. "Replacement" shall not include simply revising the text or color of the sign but shall refer to structural replacement and/or relocation of the sign.
A. 
Registration. The Zoning Officer shall maintain a list and map of properties with nonconforming status, including uses, buildings, structures, lots and signs. For each property identified, the Zoning Officer shall have on file a written record documenting the evidence and reasoning that led to the assignment of nonconforming status.
B. 
Jurisdiction. In all matters pertaining to nonconforming status, the Zoning Officer shall make the initial determination.
(1) 
The Zoning Officer may seek the advice of the Township Planning Commission, Township Solicitor, and/or others in making a determination.
(2) 
If it cannot be determined by means of positive documentation that a use or structure was in lawful existence at the time an ordinance or amendment would have rendered it nonconforming, the Zoning Officer must refuse to confer nonconforming status.
(3) 
If the applicant disagrees with the Zoning Officer's determination, the applicant may appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board as provided by law.
(4) 
Appeals to the Zoning Hearing Board may be in the following forms:
(a) 
Request for an interpretation to determine whether or not the subject property qualifies as nonconforming.
(b) 
Request for special exception, as applicable under nonconforming regulations.
(c) 
Request for a variance from the nonconforming regulations otherwise applicable to the subject property.