SECTION 25.46
NONCONFORMING USES AND STRUCTURES

Sections:

25.46.1    Purpose

25.46.2    Restrictions on Nonconforming Structures and Uses

25.46.3    Loss of Nonconforming Status

25.46.1 Purpose

This Section establishes uniform provisions for the regulation of legal nonconforming structures and land uses. Within the zoning districts established by Ordinance, structures and land uses exist that were lawful prior to the adoption, or amendment of this Ordinance, but which would be prohibited, regulated, or restricted differently under the terms of this Ordinance or future amendments. It is the intent of this Ordinance to encourage the eventual conversion of these uses and structures to a conforming status and to permit them to exist in the interim under the conditions under which they were established.

25.46.2 Restrictions on Nonconforming Structures and Uses

Nonconformities may be continued subject to the following provisions, except as otherwise provided by 25.46.3 (Loss of Nonconforming Status).

A.    Nonconforming uses of land. A legal nonconforming land use may be continued provided that the use shall not be enlarged, increased, or extended to occupy a greater area than it lawfully occupied before becoming a nonconforming use. Any replacement use shall comply with all applicable provisions of this Ordinance. Any use allowed without a Conditional Use Permit prior to adoption of this Ordinance for which a Conditional Use Permit is now required shall be considered a legal nonconforming use unless and until a Conditional Use Permit is obtained. No enlargement of this use shall occur until a Conditional Use Permit has been obtained for the entire use. This section shall not be construed to require a Conditional Use Permit for room additions, second units, or other accessory structures proposed on properties located in the Residential Medium (RM) Density and Commercial Downtown zones where the primary structure on the property existed on April 20, 1999.

Partial abandonment of space occupied by a legal nonconforming use does not eliminate the right of said use to reoccupy space previously occupied, provided the requirements of subsection 25.46.2.B are met.

B.    Replacement of nonconforming uses by similar uses. A nonconforming use may be changed to or replaced by another similar nonconforming use when the facility or building in which the nonconforming use is located can only reasonably accommodate the similar nonconforming use, subject to the following provisions:

1.    The replacement use shall not increase the extent of the nonconformity, the nature of the nonconforming activity, or the site or floor area occupied by the previous nonconforming use on the property.

2.    Any period of temporary vacancy or discontinuance associated with the replacement use shall not exceed the limitation established by Section 25.46.3 (Loss of Nonconforming Status).

3.    The replacement nonconforming use shall be permitted only if the repair and structural alterations required to accommodate the proposed replacement do not exceed 25 percent of the actual value of the structure, as last shown in the Solano County Assessor’s records.

4.    The replacement nonconforming use shall require no different occupancy rating than the previous nonconforming use as established by the Uniform Building Code.

C.    Nonconforming structures. A legal nonconforming structure may continue to be used, repaired, and/or replaced under the following circumstances and according to the following criteria. Any use, repair, or replacement of a nonconforming structure not meeting the circumstances outlined in this section shall comply with all requirements of this Zoning Ordinance and with all Building and Fire Codes in effect at the time of issuance of Building Permit. However, in all circumstances, a property owner may replace multifamily units with the same number and size of residential units.

1    Repair or replacement of structures lost or damaged due to a calamity. Repair or replacement of legal nonconforming structures shall be allowed in the event of fire, earthquake, or other calamity beyond the control of the owner, subject to the following provisions:

a.    Single-family residential. Single-family residential structures may be reconstructed, repaired, or replaced provided a building permit is issued for the reconstruction or repair within 180 days of the calamity.

b.    Multifamily residential. Multifamily residential structures may be reconstructed or repaired, if the repair cost will not exceed 60 percent of the actual value of the structure, provided a building permit is issued for the repair within 180 days of the calamity.

c.    Non-Residential structures. Non-residential structures may be reconstructed, repaired, or replaced if the repair cost will not exceed 60 percent of the actual value of the structure provided a building permit is issued for the repair within 180 days of the calamity.

2.    Replacement of structures removed due to public projects.

a.    Any housing removed as a result of the City’s acquisition of a portion or all of the owners’ property for a public purpose pursuant to a purchase agreement or the exercise of eminent domain may be replaced with structure(s) containing no more floor area than the removed structure on the remaining portion of the owner's property for occupancy as part of the ongoing use. The replacement structure shall comply with the existinq development standards to the extent feasible and shall be subject to the review of the Department of Community Development. Notwithstanding the above, the property owner of any multifamily units shall be entitled to rebuild the same number and sizes of units removed due to public action.

b.    Any nonresidential structure removed as a result of the City’s acquisition of a portion of the owners’ property for a public purpose pursuant to a purchase agreement or the exercise of eminent domain, which structure is a part of the owner’s ongoing, legal or legal nonconforming use, may be replaced by a structure containing no more floor area than the removed structure on the remaining portion of the owner’s property for occupancy as part of the ongoing use. The replacement structure shall comply with the existing development standards to the extent feasible and shall be subject to the review of the Department of Community Development

3.    Maintenance and repair. A legal nonconforming structure may undergo normal maintenance and repairs, provided no structural alterations are made (exception: see Subsection (B)3, following), and the work does not exceed 25 percent of the appraised value of the structure as last shown in the Solano County Assessor’s records.

4.    Seismic retrofitting. Reconstruction required to reinforce unreinforced masonry structures shall be permitted without cost limitations, provided the retrofitting is limited exclusively to compliance with seismic safety standards.

D.    Nonconforming site improvements (not including structure). Where an existing site improvement (landscaping, parking lot layout, etc.) is non-conforming with the current regulations related to such, nothing in this section shall prohibit minor site improvements that result in the reduction of this non-conformity. (Ord. No. 2012-15, § 2; Ord. No. 2015-06, § 2.)

25.46.3 Loss of Nonconforming Status

A.    Nonconforming status. Except as provided in B. and C. below, if a nonconforming land use no longer permitted by this Ordinance is discontinued for a continuous period of 365 days, it shall be presumed that the use has been abandoned. If a nonconforming land use that did not require a Conditional Use Permit prior to adoption of this Ordinance, but now requires this permit, is discontinued for a continuous period of two years, it shall be presumed that the use has been abandoned (see 25.40.5 (E) for provisions related to permits required for uses previously allowed by Planned Unit Development permits).

B.    Train Station Specific Plan. Nonconforming status for properties in the Train Station Specific Plan Area shall be governed by the provisions in Section 25.28.7.K.

C.    Heart of Fairfield Plan Area. Where properties have Heart of Fairfield Zoning designations, nonconforming land uses shall be presumed abandoned after the use is discontinued for a continuous period of ninety (90) days.

D.    Further Use of Abandoned Sites. Without further action by the City, further use of the site or structure presumed abandoned shall comply with all the regulations of the applicable zoning district and all other applicable provisions of this Ordinance. (Ord. No. 2012-15, § 2; Ord. No. 2017-14, § 19.)