Zoning Resolution Article 6

NONCONFORMING USES

 

6.0       Purpose

 

Within the districts established by this resolution, or by amendments thereto which may later be adopted, lots, uses of land, structures and uses of structures and land in combination exist which were lawful before this resolution was passed or amended, but which would be prohibited, regulated or restricted under the terms of this resolution.  The legitimate interest of  those who lawfully established these nonconformities are herein recognized by providing for their continuance, subject to regulations limiting their completion, restoration, reconstruction, extension and substitution. Furthermore, nothing contained in this resolution shall be construed to require any change in the layout, plans, construction, size or use of any lot, structure or structure and land in combination, for which a zoning permit became effective prior to the effective date of this resolution, or any amendment thereto.  Nevertheless, while it is the intent of this resolution that such nonconformities be allowed to continue until removed, they should not be encouraged to survive.  Therefore, no nonconformity may be moved, extended, altered, expanded or used as grounds for any other use(s) or structure(s) prohibited elsewhere in the district without the approval of the Board of Zoning Appeals, except as otherwise specifically provided for in this resolution.

 

6.1       Incompatibility of Nonconformities

 

Nonconformities are declared by this resolution to be incompatible with permitted uses in the districts in which such uses are located.  A nonconforming use of a structure, a nonconforming use of land, or a nonconforming use of a structure and land in combination shall not be extended or enlarged after passage of this resolution by attachment on a building or premises of additional signs intended to be seen from off the premises, or by the addition of other uses of a nature which would be generally prohibited in the district in which such use is located without approval of the Board of Zoning Appeals, except as otherwise specifically provided for in this resolution.

 

6.2       Completion of Nonconforming Structures

 

To avoid undue hardship, nothing in this resolution 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 resolution and upon which actual building construction has be 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 demolition or removal of an existing building has been substantially begun preparatory to rebuilding, such demolition or removal shall be deemed to be actual construction, provided that the work shall be carried out diligently.

 

6.3       Certificates for Nonconforming Uses

 

The Zoning Inspector may, upon his own initiative, or shall upon the request of any owner, issue a certificate for any lot, structure, use of land, use of structure, or use of land and structure in combination, that certifies that the lot, structure or use is a valid nonconforming use.  The certificate shall specify the reason why the use is a nonconforming use, including a description of the extent and kind of use made of the property in question, the portion of the structure or land used for the nonconforming use and the extent that dimensional requirements are nonconforming.  The purpose of this section is to protect the owners of lands or structures that are or become nonconforming.  No fee shall be charged for such a certificate.  One copy of the certificate shall be returned to the owner and one copy shall be retained by the Zoning Inspector, who shall maintain as a public record a file of all such certificates.

 

6.4       Permits for Nonconforming Uses in Property Owners or Leaseholders Associations

 

The Zoning Inspector may upon his own initiative, or shall upon the request of any owner, issue a permit for any lot, structure, use of land, use of structure, or use of land and structure in combination that certifies that the lot, structure or use is a valid nonconforming use.

 

The permit shall specify the reason why the use is a nonconforming use and the extent that dimensional requirements are nonconforming.  When a nonconforming lot or use is located in any of the property owners or leaseholder association in Vermilion Township, applicant for zoning permits must present documentary evidence of the approval of the application by the  trustees of that association.

 

6.5       Substitution of Nonconforming Uses

 

So long as no structural alterations are made, except as required by enforcement of other codes or resolutions, any nonconforming use may, upon appeal to and approval by the Board of Zoning Appeals, be changed to another nonconforming use of the same classification or of a less intensive classification, or the board shall find that the use proposed for substitution is equally appropriate or more appropriate to the district than the existing nonconforming use.  In permitting such change, the board may require that additional conditions and safeguards be met, in accordance with the standards contained in Section 6.7, which requirements shall pertain as stipulated conditions to the approval of such change and failure to meet such conditions shall be considered a punishable violation of said resolution.  Whenever a nonconforming use has been changed to a less intensive use or becomes a conforming use, such use shall not thereafter be changed to a more intensive use.

 

6.6       Single Nonconforming Lots of Record

 

In any district in which single-family dwellings are permitted, a single-family dwelling and customary accessory buildings may be erected on any single lot of record at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this resolution, notwithstanding limitations imposed by other provisions of this resolution.  Such lot must be in separate ownership and not of continuous frontage with other lots in the same ownership.  This provision shall apply even though such lot fails to meet the requirements for area or width, or both, that are generally applicable in the district, provided that yard dimensions and requirements other than those applying to area or width, or both, of the lot shall conform to the regulations for the district in which such lot is located.

 

6.7       Nonconforming Lots of Record

 

If two or more lots or a combination of lots and portions of lots with continuous frontage in single ownership are of record as separate lots at the times of passage or amendment of this resolution, the lots or parts of lots with buildings, may be sold separately.

 

6.8       Nonconforming Structures or Uses

 

Where a lawful structure or use of land exists at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this resolution that does not meet the minimum requirements of the district in which the lot is located, or is not a lawful use within the district, such structure or use may be continued as long as it remains otherwise lawful.

 

1.   The Board of Zoning Appeals is hereby authorized to grant a variance from the literal provisions of this resolution that does not meet the minimum requirements of the district in which the lot is located, or is not a lawful use within the district, such structure or use may be continued as long as it remains otherwise lawful.

 

      a.   The restoration, reconstruction, extension or substitution of the nonconforming use or structure will not be contrary to the public interest.

      b.   Where, owing to special conditions, a literal enforcement of the provisions of this resolution would result in unnecessary hardship.

      c.   There must exist special circumstances or conditions fully described by the applicant and which are such that strict application of the provisions of this resolution would deprive the applicant of reasonable use of the structure of land.  Mere loss in value shall not justify an approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals;  there must be deprivation of beneficial use of the structure or land.

      d.   The lot area shall be adequate to accommodate the required off-street parking for the structure as restored, reconstructed, extended or substituted.  The design, location and surface of the parking area shall be provided so as to reduce congestion, promote safety and to reduce the impact on the existing neighborhood.

      e.   No nonconforming use shall be permitted to restore, reconstruct, extend or substitute if it will result in a greater detriment to surrounding properties.

      f.    No nonconforming use may be expanded beyond the property limits as existing at the time this resolution was adopted or amended to make the use or structure nonconforming.

      g.   Where nonconforming use status applies to a structure and premises in combination, removal or destruction of the structure shall eliminate the nonconforming status of the land.  Destruction for the purpose of this section is defined as damaged to an extent of more than sixty (60) percent of the replacement costs at time of destruction.

      h.   The replacement of one mobile home with another mobile home shall not be considered reconstruction or restoration under this provision.

      i.    If any nonconforming use is discontinued or abandoned for more than two years (except when government action impeded access to the premises), any subsequent use of such land shall conform to the regulations specified by this resolution for the district in which such land is located.

 

6.9       Repairs and Maintenance

 

On any nonconforming structure or portion of a structure containing a nonconforming use, work may be done in any period of twelve consecutive months on ordinary repairs or on repair or replacement of non-bearing walls, fixtures, wiring or plumbing, to an extent not exceeding fifty (50) percent of the current assessed value of the nonconforming structure as the case may be, provided that the cubic feet content existing when it became nonconforming shall not be increased.

 

If a nonconforming structure or portion of a structure containing a nonconforming use become physically unsafe or unlawful due to lack of repairs and maintenance, and is declared by the Zoning Inspector to be unsafe or unlawful by reason of physical condition, it shall not thereafter be restored, repaired or rebuilt except in conformity with the regulations of the district in which it is located.