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165.23  INTENT OF NONCONFORMING LOTS, NONCONFORMING USES OF LAND, NONCONFORMING STRUCTURES; NONCONFORMING USES OF STRUCTURES AND PREMISES AND NONCONFORMING CHARACTERISTICS OF USE.
Within the districts established by this chapter there exist lots, structures, uses of land and structures, and characteristics of use which were lawful before the zoning ordinance was passed or amended, but which are prohibited, regulated, or restricted under the terms of the ordinance or future amendments.  It is the intent of this chapter to permit these nonconformities to continue until they are removed, but not to encourage their survival.  Further nonconformities shall not be enlarged upon, expanded or extended, or used as grounds for adding other structures or uses prohibited elsewhere in the same district.  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 excavation 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.