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(A) Purpose and intent. The purpose of this section is to establish regulations to address lots, structures, uses and site elements that were lawfully established before this chapter was adopted or amended, but do not conform to the terms and current requirements of this chapter, or were required as part of an approval but do not exist. It is the intent of this section to regulate and limit the continued existence of such nonconformities; and, where possible, bring them into conformance with this chapter.
(B) Applicability. This section applies to nonconforming lots, structures, uses and site elements. In determining whether such nonconformities will be regulated by the provisions of this section, the following shall apply:
(1) Nonconforming status shall not be provided for any lot, structure, use, or site element which was illegally created, commenced, constructed, or unlawfully continued.
(2) Nonconforming status shall only be authorized upon demonstration by the applicant that a lot, structure, use or site element was lawfully approved, created, commenced or constructed, and not merely contemplated.
(a) To obtain nonconforming status, the applicant must demonstrate that the use was in continuous operation during business hours and not an occasional use of the property.
(3) An accessory nonconforming use shall not become the principal use.
(C) Nonconforming lot. A nonconforming lot is a lot that was lawfully created before this chapter was adopted or amended, but does not conform to the minimum lot acreage and dimensional criteria as set forth in Article 2, Zoning Districts of this chapter.
(1) Where the owner of a residential lot that was lawfully created before this chapter was adopted or amended, or any successor in title does not own sufficient land to conform to the standards provided in § 155.203, District Standards, such a lot may be used as a building site for a single-family residence in a district in which residences are permitted, provided that the required standards are not more than 20% below the minimum specified in this chapter, or within 5% of the average deviation on lots adjacent to or within the same subdivision. The County Health Department's approval of the reduction is required if on-site water or wastewater facilities are involved. In cases where the criteria above cannot be met, the Board of Adjustment may grant a variance, subject to the required findings set forth in § 155.716, Variance.
(2) Nonconforming nonresidential substandard lots may be granted a variance for development, subject to approval by the Board of Adjustment and the required findings set forth in § 155.716, Variance.
(3) If two or more adjoining and vacant lots are in one ownership when this chapter is adopted, or at any time after the adoption of this chapter, and either or both lots do not meet the dimensional requirements of this chapter for the district in which such lots are located, then such group of lots shall be considered as a single lot.
(D) Nonconforming use. A nonconforming use is the use of land, buildings, or structures that was lawfully established on a property prior before this chapter was adopted or amended, but does not conform to the use regulations of this chapter.
(1) Continuation. No nonconforming use may be enlarged, expanded or extended, or moved to occupy a different or greater area of land, buildings or structures than was occupied by the use at the time it became nonconforming.
(2) Change in use. A nonconforming use shall not be changed to any other use, unless the new use conforms to this chapter. A nonconforming use physically replaced by a permitted use shall not be re-established.
(3) Maintenance. Maintenance and repair of a building occupied by a nonconforming use is permitted, provided it does not extend the nonconforming use.
(4) Discontinuance or cessation. A nonconforming use that is discontinued, abandoned, or changed to an accessory use for a period of more than 90 consecutive days, or for a total of 180 calendar days during any 12-month period, shall lose its nonconforming status and shall not be re-established or resumed. Any subsequent use in the same location shall be consistent with this chapter.
(E) Nonconforming structure. A nonconforming structure is a structure that was lawfully established on a property prior to this chapter being adopted or amended, but does not conform with the square footage, density, yard, dimensional, height, lot coverage or other structural provision of this chapter.
(1) The nonconforming features of a structure shall not be changed or increased in such a way as to intensify the nonconformity or increase the degree to which the structure is nonconforming. A nonconforming structure can be changed if the area of the improvement will reduce the nonconformity.
(2) Changes to or expansion of a nonconforming structure shall not result in the intensification or expansion of a nonconforming use.
(3) Substandard structures which are damaged or destroyed by fire, wind, flood or other natural causes may be reconstructed and shall comply with the applicable provisions of this chapter, unless the structure is situated on a substandard lot of record, in which case the provisions concerning nonconforming lots shall apply.
(F) Nonconforming site element. A nonconforming site element is a site improvement that is required as part of an approval but does not exist, or was existing or lawfully established prior to this chapter being adopted or amended. Site elements include, but are not limited to access, parking, landscaping, signage and lighting.
(1) No nonconforming site element shall be erected, replaced, or modified except to reduce or eliminate the nonconformity. Repair and maintenance of nonconforming site elements is permitted.
(2) When improvements or major external renovations are proposed to an existing conforming structure, the associated nonconforming site elements must also be improved to comply with the current requirements of this chapter.
(3) If all site elements cannot be brought into compliance with the current requirements of this chapter for reasons which include, but are not limited to site layout, space limitations, tree preservation or other natural features, the Planning Director may approve a deviation from site element requirements so long as the modifications to the elements are moving in the direction of conformity with the provisions of this chapter.
(G) Nonconformities in the water protection overlay (WPO). Nonconforming lots, buildings and structures located within the WPO may be continued and maintained. Expansions to nonconformities must meet the requirements of § 155.501.
(Ord. 2013-10-03, passed 10-7-13)