§ 154.059  NON-CONFORMING USES.
   (A)   Purpose and scope.
      (1)   Within the zoning districts established by this chapter and amendments thereto, lots or parcels existing which were legally platted and recorded with the County Clerk as of 1-1-1988, but which would be prohibited or restricted under the terms of this chapter are hereby excepted from the requirements of this section.  The general purpose of this section is to encourage the conversion of non-conforming uses to conforming uses.
      (2)   This section allows non-conforming uses and structures to be continued, altered, restored or replaced subject to satisfaction of the review criteria specified in division (C) below.  Nothing contained in this chapter shall require any change in the plans, construction or designated use of any structure for which a building permit was issued and actual construction commenced prior to the date of adoption of this chapter or any amendments thereto.  No alteration of a non-conforming use shall be permitted except in compliance with the provisions of this section.
   (B)   Definitions.  For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
      ALTERATION.  A change in structure, an increase in the number of structures, or a change of use.  Where the term ALTERATION is applied to a change of a structure, it is intended to be applied to any change, addition or modification in the structure, except for cosmetic changes such as painting, cleaning and the like.  When the term ALTERATION is applied to a change of use, it is intended to be applied to changes of use from 1 business, trade, occupation or use to another, or from 1 division of trade or use to another.
      ACTUAL CONSTRUCTION.  The placement of construction materials in a permanent position and fastened in a permanent manner.  Where excavation, or demolition or removal of an existing structure has substantially begun preparatory to rebuilding, the excavation or demolition or removal shall be deemed to be actual construction, provided that work shall be carried on diligently.
   (C)   Review criteria.
      (1)   The Department shall authorize alteration, restoration or replacement of a non-conforming use or structure pursuant to this section, and subject to the Type A application procedure set forth in § 154.075, when any of the following circumstances apply:
         (a)   The alteration is necessary to comply with any lawful requirements for alteration of the use or structure; or
         (b)   Restoration or replacement is made necessary by fire, casualty, or natural disaster.  Any restoration or replacement approved pursuant to this section shall be commenced within 1 year from the occurrence of the fire, casualty or natural disaster, or be subject to the provisions of division (F) below.
      (2)   In any other circumstance, the alteration, restoration or replacement of a non-conforming use or structure pursuant to this section may be authorized by the Department, subject to the Type A application procedure set forth in § 154.075, and provided that the applicant demonstrates that the proposal satisfies the following criteria:
         (a)   The alteration of use would result in a reduction in non-conformity of the use, or would have no greater adverse impact on the surrounding area than the existing non-conforming uses or than those uses permitted by this chapter.
         (b)   The alterations of structures or physical improvements would result in a reduction in non-conformity of the structures or improvements or would have no greater adverse impact on the surrounding area than existing non-conforming structures or physical improvements or than those permitted by this chapter.
         (c)   A request to verify that a use or structure is legally non-conforming pursuant to this section may be approved by the Department, subject to the Type A application procedure set forth in § 154.075, and provided that the applicant submits evidence of the following:
            1   The nature and extent of the use for at least 10 years from the adoption of this chapter prior to the date of application for verification of non-conformity;
            2   The use or structure was in existence at least 10 years prior to the date the application for verification of non-conformity is submitted; and
            3   The use has continued uninterrupted, or the structure has been occupied continuously, for at least 10 years prior to the date the application for verification of non-conformity is submitted.
   (D)   Conditions of approval.  In approving the alteration, restoration or replacement of a non- conforming use, the decision-making body may impose conditions as it deems appropriate to ensure that the intent of this section is carried out.  These conditions shall be reasonably related to the criteria set forth in division (C) above.
   (E)   General requirements.  Authorization of any alteration, restoration or replacement of a non-conforming use or structure pursuant to this chapter shall be subject to the following additional requirements:
      (1)   Any approval issued hereunder is not personal to the applicant and shall be deemed to run with the land.
      (2)   Building permits issued in connection with any part of an approved alteration, replacement or restoration of a non-conforming use shall be issued only on the basis of the approved plan.
      (3)   Any proposed changes in connection with an approved plan shall be processed as a new application subject to the provisions of this section and in accordance with the applicable application procedure set forth in §§ 154.075et seq.
      (4)   Any alteration, replacement or restoration of a non-conforming use approved hereunder shall be null and void 1 year from the date it is granted unless completion or substantial construction has taken place.  The Department may extend the approval for an additional period not to exceed 1 year upon receipt of the applicable fee and a written request from the applicant demonstrating good cause for the delay and provided that the request to extend approval is received by the Department prior to expiration of the original approval.
   (F)   Change of ownership or occupancy, or discontinuation of a non-conforming use.
      (1)   (a)   A change of ownership or occupancy of a non-conforming use shall be permitted.  If any non-conforming use is discontinued for a period of 6 months time, the non-conforming use shall not be resumed and any subsequent use of the property and structure involved shall conform to the requirements of this chapter.
         (b)   The change of any non-conforming use to a permitted use shall constitute discontinuance of the non-conforming use.
      (2)   If the non-conforming use is primarily an agricultural, farm or ranching use and the non-conforming use is discontinued for a period of 2 years, the non-conforming use shall not be resumed and any subsequent use of the property and structure involved shall conform to the requirements of this chapter.
      (3)   A stay ordered by a bankruptcy court of competent jurisdiction over the property interest pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §  362(a)(3) of the Bankruptcy Code, as the same may be amended from time to time, shall operate to stop the time under division (F)(1) and (2) above of this chapter if the time under this section does not begin to accrue prior to the order of stay.
   (G)   Changes in certain non-conforming uses subject to conditional use permit.
      (1)   Any non-conforming use or structure which is allowed as a conditional use in the particular zoning district under the terms of this chapter shall be allowed to continue; however, no alteration, restoration or replacement of a use or structure shall be permitted unless the appropriate conditional use permit is first obtained.
      (2)   Upon approval of a conditional use permit, the use shall no longer be considered a non-conforming use, but shall be considered a conforming conditional use subject to any and all conditions of approval.  In the event that a conditional use application is denied, the use shall revert to non-conforming use status, and may be continued as it existed before the application was made.
   (H)   Compliance with conditions.
      (1)   Compliance with conditions imposed in granting a permit for alteration, restoration or replacement of a non-conforming use and adherence to the approved site plan shall be required
      (2)   Any departure from these conditions of approval and approved plans constitutes a violation of this chapter.
      (3)   The Department may revoke any permit issued hereunder for failure to comply with any prescribed condition of approval, or for any other violation of this section.
   (I)   Revocation of a permit for alteration, restoration, or replacement of a non-conforming use.  The procedure for the revocation of a permit for alteration, restoration or replacement of a non-conforming use shall be as follows.
      (1)   If, upon review by the Department, a violation of any condition imposed in granting the permit is found, the Department shall inform the applicant by registered letter and first class mail of the violation and require compliance within 60 days or the Department will take action under division (2) below to revoke approval of the permit for alteration, restoration or replacement of a non-conforming use.  The Department's letter, constituting revoke, may be appealed to the Commission within 30 days of its mailing.  The Commission shall consider the appeal in accordance with § 154.062 and may affirm, reverse or modify the Department's notice of intent to revoke. The applicant must comply with the Commission's order on appeal of notice of intent to revoke within 30 days of the issuance of the Commission's decision.  If the applicant does not comply with the Commission's order within 30 days, the Department shall take action under division (2) below of this section to revoke approval of the permit.
      (2)   The Department may extend the time for compliance if the applicant provides financial or other assurances suitable to the Department that the conditions of approval will be satisfied and maintained.
      (3)   If the violation is not corrected within the time required by division (1) above, the Department shall notify the applicant by registered and first class mail that the permit for alteration, restoration or replacement of the non-conforming use has been revoked, and that any subsequent action on the application will require a new application for alteration, restoration or replacement of a non-conforming use.
(Ord. 2004-05, passed 9-15-2004; Am. Ord. 09, passed 9-15-2004)  Penalty, see § 154.999