§ 155-15.10 GENERAL.
   (A)   Scope. The regulations of this article govern nonconformities, which are lots, uses and structures that were lawfully established but—because of the adoption of new or amended regulations—no longer comply with one or more requirements of this zoning ordinance.
   (B)   Intent. Occasionally, lots, uses, and structures that were lawfully established (i.e., in compliance with all regulations in effect at the time of their establishment) have been made nonconforming because of changes in the zoning regulations that apply to the subject property (e.g., through zoning map amendments or amendments to the text of this zoning ordinance). The regulations of this article are intended to clarify the effect of such nonconforming status and avoid confusion with "illegal" buildings and uses (those established in violation of applicable zoning regulations). The regulations of this article are also intended to:
      (1)   Recognize the interests of landowners in continuing to use their property for uses and activities that were lawfully established;
      (2)   Promote maintenance, reuse and rehabilitation of existing buildings; and
      (3)   Place reasonable limits on nonconformities that have the potential to adversely affect surrounding properties.
   (C)   Authority to continue. Any nonconformity that existed on the effective date specified in § 155-1.20 or any situation that becomes nonconforming upon adoption of any amendment to this zoning ordinance may be continued in accordance with the regulations of this article unless otherwise expressly stated.
   (D)   Determination of nonconformity status.
      (1)   The burden of proving that a nonconformity exists (as opposed to a violation of this zoning ordinance) rests entirely with the subject owner.
      (2)   The Zoning Administrator is authorized to determine whether adequate proof of nonconforming status has been provided by the subject owner.
      (3)   Building permits, zoning certificates, lawfully recorded plats, aerial photography owned by the county and other official government records that indicate lawful establishment of the use, lot or structure constitute conclusive evidence of nonconforming status. If such forms of conclusive evidence are not available, the Zoning Administrator is authorized to consider whether other forms of evidence provided by the applicant are reliable and adequate to document nonconforming status. Common examples of evidence that may be determined to be reliable and adequate include:
         (a)   Professional registrations or business licenses;
         (b)   Utility billing records;
         (c)   Rent records;
         (d)   Advertisements in dated publications;
         (e)   Listings in telephone or business directories; and
         (f)   Notarized affidavits affirming the date of lawful establishment of the use, lot or structure.
      (4)   The Zoning Administrator's determination of nonconforming status must be supported by written findings. Appeals of the Zoning Administrator's determination may be appealed in accordance with § 155-16.100.
   (E)   Repairs and maintenance.
      (1)   Nonconformities must be maintained to be safe and in good repair.
      (2)   Repairs and normal maintenance necessary to keep a nonconformity in sound condition are permitted unless the work increases the extent of the nonconformity or is otherwise expressly prohibited by this zoning ordinance.
      (3)   Nothing in this article is intended to prevent nonconformities from being structurally strengthened or restored to a safe condition in accordance with an order from a duly authorized order of a public official.
   (F)   Replacement values.
      (1)   Except as otherwise expressly stated, replacement value for all structures is deemed to be three times the equalized assessed valuation of the improvement (based upon information obtained from the Will County Supervisor of Assessments or Township Assessor) for the tax year in which the loss occurred, unless the applicant provides replacement valuation data prepared by a certified appraiser.
      (2)   For structures eligible for agricultural exempt status under § 155-1.50(A)(1) and in instances in which valuation data is not available from the Will County Supervisor of Assessments or Township Assessor, the Zoning Administrator is authorized to use building permit records, contractor estimates, or other information deemed by the Zoning Administrator to be reliable and reflective of actual replacement costs.
   (G)   Change of tenancy or ownership. Nonconforming status runs with the land and is not affected by changes of tenancy, ownership, or management.
(Ord. effective 10-1-2012)