Chapter 15.205
NONCONFORMING USES AND BUILDINGS

Sections:

15.205.010    Purpose.

15.205.020    Nonconforming use of land and agricultural exception.

15.205.030    Nonconforming use abandonment (excluding single-family).

15.205.040    Nonconforming uses and modifications to existing buildings.

15.205.050    Nonconforming buildings with legally conforming uses.

15.205.060    Single-family nonconforming use exemption.

15.205.070    Partially destroyed buildings or structures.

15.205.080    Repairs and maintenance.

15.205.090    Nonconforming use when annexed.

15.205.100    Nonconforming signs.

15.205.010 Purpose.

A. Within the zones established by this code, there exist lots, structures, and uses of land and structures which were lawful before this code was passed or amended, but which are now prohibited, regulated, or restricted under the terms of this code and amendments.

B. It is the intent of this code to permit these nonconformities until they are removed or abandoned, but not to encourage their survival. Such uses are declared by this code to be incompatible with permitted uses in the zones involved. It is further the intent of this code that nonconformities shall not be enlarged upon, significantly modified, expanded, or extended, except as provided for in this code.

C. To avoid undue hardship, nothing in this code shall be deemed to require changes in plans, construction, or use of any building on which a building permit in accordance with this code has been legally issued prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in or amendment of this code, except that applications for extension of a building permit shall not be approved to exceed a period of one year from the date of adoption or amendment of this code. [Ord. 2451, 12-2-96. Code 2001 § 151.140.]

15.205.020 Nonconforming use of land and agricultural exception.

A. Use to Be Abated When No Main Building Involved. Where no main buildings are used in connection with the nonconforming use of land, or where the only buildings are accessory or incidental to such use, the nonconforming use of such land shall be discontinued not later than three years after such use becomes nonconforming, and all uses thereafter shall conform to the regulations of the applicable district classification and the provisions of this code.

B. Expansion. A nonconforming use of land shall not be expanded or extended in any way either on the same or any adjoining land.

C. Discontinue or Change. The discontinuance of a nonconforming use of land or a change of a nonconforming use of land to some other kind of a nonconforming use constitutes abandonment and termination of the nonconforming use, and thereafter the use of the land must conform to the regulations of the applicable district classification.

D. Legally occurring agricultural uses, including, but not limited to, orchards, hay or grain farming, row crops, or other similar uses, may be allowed to retain their nonconforming status indefinitely. [Ord. 2451, 12-2-96. Code 2001 § 151.141.]

Penalty: See NMC 15.05.120.

15.205.030 Nonconforming use abandonment (excluding single-family).

Legally existing nonconforming uses may not be expanded, changed, modified, or altered in any way, except that a use may be modified to be less intensive in nature. Should a nonconforming use be abandoned for a period of at least 12 months, the nonconforming status of the use is lost, except as follows; provided, that there are extenuating circumstances (as determined by the planning commission), the planning commission may, through the use permit process, allow the reestablishment of the nonconforming use subject to conditions and an agreement on a specific date (not to exceed 10 years) at which time the nonconforming use will be permanently abandoned. [Ord. 2451, 12-2-96. Code 2001 § 151.142.]

Penalty: See NMC 15.05.120.

15.205.040 Nonconforming uses and modifications to existing buildings.

Legally existing nonconforming use of buildings or structures may be maintained subject to the following conditions; provided, that said building or structure is not abated or specifically regulated by this and other chapters of this code. No additions or enlargements shall be made to a nonconforming use of a building or structure except:

A. Additions or enlargements required by law.

B. Additions or enlargements to existing churches and schools if such otherwise conform to the regulations then in effect for the district in which located, including height, yard and area provisions. [Ord. 2451, 12-2-96. Code 2001 § 151.143.]

Penalty: See NMC 15.05.120.

15.205.050 Nonconforming buildings with legally conforming uses.

Unless completely or partially destroyed, pursuant to NMC 15.205.070, nonconforming buildings or structures with legal conforming uses may be altered or modified subject to any of the following requirements. This shall be processed as a Type I application for single-family homes and duplexes and as a Type II application for all commercial, industrial, and multifamily uses.

A. The addition or modification affects a part of the structure which will meet the current setback, height, yard or similar regulations and the addition or modification will not worsen the nonconforming status of the building.

B. The addition or modification provides a logical expansion of the building and is within the existing building setback lines where:

1. In the opinion of the director, the expansion or modification will not adversely affect neighboring properties;

2. Building code requirements can be met;

3. The expansion or modification proposed is similar to other nonconforming buildings or structures in the area; and

4. Reasonable provisions have been made to minimize the impact of the nonconforming status of the building or structure.

C. A building or parking area that is nonconforming to the standards of this code but otherwise conforms to the use provisions of the zoning district may be expanded; provided, that the portion of the building or parking area proposed for expansion complies with the provisions of this code. [Ord. 2451, 12-2-96. Code 2001 § 151.144.]

Penalty: See NMC 15.05.120.

15.205.060 Single-family nonconforming use exemption.

A. Where a single-family, duplex, or multifamily dwelling is a legal, nonconforming use in any zoning district, it may be rebuilt if partially or completely destroyed. If a single-family, duplex, or multifamily dwelling is completely or partially destroyed, it may be rebuilt either in conformance with the setback, height restriction, and other regulations of the district in which it is located or with the standards of the R-2 zoning district. The minimum lot area requirement does not apply.

B. In addition, if a structure was originally constructed and legally occupied as a single-family dwelling, and it has since been converted to a different use, the structure may be reconverted back to a single-family dwelling, subject to applicable building codes. The dwelling shall either meet current parking requirements, or shall provide the same parking that was provided prior to the conversion from dwelling to another use. No more than one dwelling unit per lot may be allowed under this provision. [Ord. 2730 § 1 (Exh. A (8)), 10-18-10; Ord. 2561, 4-1-02; Ord. 2451, 12-2-96. Code 2001 § 151.145.]

Penalty: See NMC 15.05.120.

15.205.070 Partially destroyed buildings or structures.

A. Conditions for Restoration – Extension.

1. Whenever, in any district, a building or structure occupied by a nonconforming use is damaged or destroyed to the extent of 50 percent or less of its assessed value by fire, explosion or other casualty, it may be restored and the occupancy or use of such building or structure, or part of such building or structure, which existed at the time of such partial destruction may be continued, if such restoration is started within a period of 12 months of such damage or destruction and is diligently prosecuted to completion.

2. An extension of the 12-month period may be approved by the planning commission through a Type III process. In order to receive an extension the applicant must demonstrate compliance with the following criteria. The planning commission may deny the extension based on inadequate demonstration that all of the criteria can be met.

a. There are unusual or extraordinary circumstances which prohibit the owner from beginning restoration;

b. The owner or applicant has diligently pursued the restoration process and can adequately demonstrate their ability to continue to pursue the restoration;

c. There are permits required from other agencies besides the city which have prevented the restoration process from occurring sooner; and

d. The requested extension is no longer than one year from the date in which the first 12-month period expired.

B. In the event such damage or destruction exceeds 50 percent of the assessed value of the building or structure occupied by a nonconforming use, no repair or reconstruction shall be made unless every portion of such building or structure is made to conform to the height, yard, parking area and use regulations of the district classification in which it is located. [Ord. 2451, 12-2-96. Code 2001 § 151.146.]

Penalty: See NMC 15.05.120.

15.205.080 Repairs and maintenance.

Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to prevent the repair or maintenance of any building or part of a building. [Ord. 2451, 12-2-96. Code 2001 § 151.147.]

15.205.090 Nonconforming use when annexed.

When a nonconforming use is annexed into the city, at time of annexation the applicant shall provide the planning commission and city council a schedule for the removal of the nonconforming use per NMC 15.250.100. [Ord. 2451, 12-2-96. Code 2001 § 151.148.]

15.205.100 Nonconforming signs.

A. Compliance for Temporary and Portable Signs. All temporary or portable signs not in compliance with the provisions of this code shall be removed immediately.

B. Compliance for All Other Signs. The owner of any sign that was placed legally but does not now conform to the requirements of this code shall either remove the sign or register it with the city on a form provided by the director prior to January 1, 2000. All signs that do not comply with the standards of this code shall be removed prior to March 31, 2010. Exceptions are:

1. Any legal nonconforming sign that exceeds that maximum allowable size or height by less than 10 percent may remain.

2. Prior to March 31, 2009, the owner of any legal nonconforming sign may apply to allow the legal nonconforming sign to remain. Such requests shall be heard by a hearings officer appointed by the city manager, and shall be approved, approved with conditions, or denied based on the following:

a. The sign is in a good state of repair and maintenance.

b. The number, size, and height of signs to remain is minimal and contributes to an attractive appearance to the neighborhood.

c. The use of bold and bright colors, lighting, and designs is minimal.

d. Other elements of the site are well maintained and attractive.

Except as specifically determined by the hearings officer, any sign allowed to remain under the provisions of this subsection is subject to removal under the provisions of subsections (C), (D), and (E) of this section.

C. Abandonment. Any sign not in compliance with the provisions of this code shall be removed by the owner if the site on which the sign is located is vacant for a period of one year or more. If the owner fails to remove the sign, the city may abate the sign as provided in NMC 15.05.100.

D. Site Improvements. Any sign not in compliance with the provisions of this code shall be removed if the buildings or site improvements on the site on which the sign is located are replaced or modified, except additions and remodels allowed under a Type I design review, NMC 15.220.020(A).

E. Sign Modifications. Signs not in compliance with the provisions of this code, when replaced, relocated, modified or altered, shall be brought into compliance with this code. For purposes of this section, a modification or alteration shall not include the following:

1. Maintenance and repairs such as cleaning, painting, refacing, replacing damaged portions of the sign, or similar activities that do not involve a change in copy.

2. A change of a panel on a sign for three or more tenants designed to have removable panels.

3. A modification of the existing cabinet and/or face of the sign that results in a reduction in size and/or height of the sign and that does not involve a change in copy.

F. Historic Landmarks and Cultural Landmarks Exemption. The provisions of subsections (A) through (E) of this section shall not apply to any sign located in a historic landmarks subdistrict or on a historic landmark, or a sign over 50 years old designated by the city council as a cultural landmark.

G. Signs Approved Through Approval of Sign Program. Any sign that was approved through approval of a sign program under prior codes but that does not now meet the provisions of this code shall be removed prior to January 1, 2015. Prior to January 1, 2014, the owner may apply for the sign to remain under the process described in subsection (B) of this section. [Ord. 2706 § 1 (Exh. A(1)), 10-6-08; Ord. 2499, 11-2-98; Ord. 2451, 12-2-96. Code 2001 § 151.149.]

Penalty: See NMC 15.05.120.