Skip to code content (skip section selection)
(A) Nonconforming uses, lots, buildings, and structures.
(1) Within the districts established by this chapter or by amendments that may be adopted later, there exist:
(a) Nonconforming uses; and
(b) Nonconforming structures; and
(c) Nonconforming uses of land and structures in combination, which were lawful before the effective date of this chapter, but which would be prohibited, regulated, or restricted under the terms of this chapter.
(2) It is the purpose of this chapter to prohibit the enlargement, expansion, or extension of such nonconforming lots, structures, and uses.
(B) Existing uses. Any lawful lot, structure, or use of land existing at the effective date of this chapter which will become a nonconforming use by the terms of this chapter shall not be considered to be in violation of this chapter. However, any such lot, structure, or use shall be subject to their continuance, change, or discontinuance.
(C) Buildings under construction. To avoid undue hardship, nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to require a change in the plans, construction, or designated use of any building on which a valid building permit was issued prior to the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter.
(D) Nonconforming uses of land. Any use of land having lawful existence at the effective date of adoption or amendment to this chapter which does not conform to the provisions of this chapter may be continued, subject to the following provisions:
(1) Nonconforming uses shall not be extended to occupy a greater land area or replaced by another use not specifically permitted in the zoning district;
(2) If any nonconforming uses of land are discontinued or abandoned for more than six months, any subsequent use of land shall conform to the requirements specified by this chapter for the district in which the land is located;
(3) No additional structure not conforming to the requirements of this chapter shall be erected in connection with the nonconforming land use.
(E) Nonconforming structures. Where a lawful structure exists at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter that could not now be built under the terms of this chapter by reason of restrictions on area, lot coverage, height, yards, its location on the lot, bulk, or other requirements concerning the structure, such a structure may be continued so long as it remains lawful, subject to the following provisions:
(1) The nonconforming structure may not be enlarged or altered in any way which increases its nonconformity, but any structure or portion thereof may be altered to decrease its nonconformity;
(2) A non residential, nonconforming structure damaged to the extent of more than 50% of its fair market value shall not be reconstructed except in conformity with all then current provisions of this chapter. With regard to a non-residential, nonconforming structure damaged to the extent of less than 50% of its fair market value and all residential nonconforming structures damaged to any extent, the provisions of this chapter that were applicable at the time of original construction of the nonconforming use shall apply. This exception, however, relates only to this chapter and does not except or affect any other applicable town ordinances, federal, state, or county laws, rules, codes, and regulations that may apply;
(3) If a structure is moved for any reason for any length of distance, it shall thereafter conform to the regulations for the district in which it is located after the move.
(F) Nonconforming uses of structure and land in combination. If a lawful use involving individual structures, or if a structure and land use in combination, exist at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter that would not be allowed in the district under the terms of this chapter, the lawful use may be continued subject to the following provisions:
(1) No existing structures devoted to a use not permitted by this chapter in the district in which it is located shall be enlarged, constructed, reconstructed, moved, or structurally altered, except in changing the use to a use permitted in the district.
(2) A non-conforming use may be extended throughout any part of the building which was arranged or designed for such use at the time of adoption or amendment of the regulations of this chapter, but no such use shall be extended to occupy land outside such a building.
(3) If no structural alterations are made, any nonconforming use of a structure, or structure and land, may upon appeal to the Board of Zoning Appeals be changed to another nonconforming use provided that the Board of Zoning Appeals shall find that the proposed use is equally appropriate or more appropriate to the district than the existing nonconforming use. In permitting such a change, the Board of Zoning Appeals may require appropriate conditions and safeguards in accordance with other provisions of this chapter;
(4) Any structure or combination of structures and land where nonconforming use is superseded by a permitted use, shall thereafter conform to the regulations for the district, and the nonconforming use may not be resumed;
(5) When a nonconforming use of a structure, combination of structure and land is discontinued or abandoned for more than six months, the structure or structure and land combination, shall thereafter only be used on conformity with the regulations of the district in which it is located;
(6) Where nonconforming use status applies to a structure and land in combination, removal or destruction of the structure shall eliminate the nonconforming status of the land.
(G) Repairs and maintenance. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to prevent the strengthening or restoring to a safe condition of any building or part thereof declared to be unsafe by an official charge with protecting the public safety. On any nonconforming structure or portion of a structure containing a nonconforming use, work may be done on ordinary repairs, provided that the area of the nonconforming use is not increased.
(H) Uses under special exception provision are not nonconforming use. Any use which is a permitted use as a special exception in district under the terms of this chapter shall not be deemed a nonconforming use in such district, but shall without further action be considered a conforming use.
(Ord. 172, §§ 7-100 - 7-107, passed 4-5-90; Am. Ord. 188, passed 2-10-92; Am. Ord. 216, passed 5-8-95; Am. Ord. 363, passed 11-19-12)