Chapter 19.82
NONCONFORMING STRUCTURES, USES AND PARCELS

Sections:

19.82.010    Purpose of chapter.

19.82.020    Restrictions on nonconforming uses and structures.

19.82.030    Loss of nonconforming status.

19.82.040    Nonconforming signs.

19.82.050    Nonconforming parcels.

19.82.060    Nonconforming commercial cannabis businesses.

19.82.010 Purpose of chapter.

This chapter establishes uniform provisions for the regulation of nonconforming land uses, structures, and parcels, with the exception of wine tasting facilities and wine bars which are governed by SMC 19.50.120(B). Within the zoning districts established by this development code, there exist land uses, structures, and parcels that were lawful before the adoption or amendment of this development code, but are prohibited, regulated, or restricted differently under the terms of this development code or future amendments. It is the intent of this development code to discourage the long-term continuance of these nonconformities, but to permit them to exist under limited conditions. (Ord. 01-2019 § 4, 2019; Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.82.020 Restrictions on nonconforming uses and structures.

Nonconformities may be continued subject to the following provisions, except as otherwise provided by SMC 19.82.030, Loss of nonconforming status:

A. Nonconforming Uses of Land. A nonconforming use of land, or within a structure, may be continued, transferred, or sold; provided, that:

1. The use shall not be enlarged, increased, or extended to occupy a greater floor area or portion of the site than it lawfully occupied before becoming a nonconforming use, except as otherwise provided by subsection (C) of this section; and

2. Additional uses on the site shall not be allowed unless the nonconforming use is first discontinued, and any replacement use complies with all applicable provisions of this development code.

B. Nonconforming Structures. A nonconforming structure may continue to be used as follows:

1. Changes to Structure. The enlargement, extension, reconstruction, or structural alteration of a structure that is nonconforming only as to height and setback regulations may be allowed with conditional use permit approval if:

a. The additions or improvements conform to all other applicable provisions of this development code;

b. The exterior limits of new construction do not exceed the applicable height limit or encroach any further into the setbacks than the comparable portions of the existing structure;

c. Changes involving the replacement/reconstruction do not include the replacement of more than 50 percent of the original floor area, or more than 50 percent of the total length of all exterior walls of the original structure; and

d. The enlargement of the structure will not accommodate the expansion or enlargement of a nonconforming use of land.

2. Maintenance and Repair. A nonconforming structure may undergo normal maintenance and repairs, provided no structural alterations are made (exception: see subsection (B)(3) of this section), and the work does not exceed 50 percent of the assessed value of the structure in any one-year period, unless the commission allows more extensive work through conditional use permit approval.

3. Seismic Retrofitting/Building Code Compliance. Repairs or alterations otherwise required by law shall be allowed in the following circumstances:

a. Unreinforced Masonry Structures. Reconstruction required to reinforce unreinforced masonry structures shall be permitted without cost limitations, provided the retrofitting is limited exclusively to compliance with earthquake safety standards; and

b. Building Code Requirements. Reconstruction required to comply with building code requirements shall be allowed without cost limitations, provided the retrofitting/code compliance is limited exclusively to compliance with earthquake safety standards, as identified in subsection (B)(3)(a) of this section and other applicable building code requirements, including state law (e.g., Title 24, California Code of Regulations, etc.).

4. Site Plan and Architectural Review Required. Any alteration which exceeds 1,000 square feet in gross floor area shall require site plan and architectural review, in compliance with SMC 19.54.080.

C. Nonconforming Use of a Conforming Structure. The nonconforming use of a structure that otherwise conforms with all applicable provisions of this development code may be continued, transferred, and sold, as follows:

1. Expansion of Use. The nonconforming use of a portion of a structure may be extended throughout the structure, subject to use permit approval (SMC 19.54.040).

2. Substitution of Use. The nonconforming use of a conforming structure may be changed to another nonconforming use of the same or less intensive/more restricted nature. However, the replacement use shall serve as the “new bench mark” in terms of establishing the acceptable level of noncompliance.

D. Destroyed Structure. The reconstruction, restoration, and reuse of a nonconforming structure verified to have been involuntarily damaged by fire or calamity to the extent of more than 50 percent of the appraised value of the structure as determined by a qualified appraiser, may be allowed, provided the reconstruction, restoration, and reuse:

1. Shall occur within one year after the date of the damage/destruction;

2. Has no greater floor area than the one damaged/destroyed; and

3. A single-family dwelling may be rebuilt on its original foundation, to its original footprint, by only the owner at that time of destruction, within a period of one year from the time of destruction, regardless of the extent/percentage of destruction. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.82.030 Loss of nonconforming status.

If a nonconforming use of land or a nonconforming use of a conforming structure is discontinued for a continuous period of one year, it shall be concluded that the use has been abandoned. Without further action by the city, further use of the site or structure shall comply with all the regulations of the applicable zoning district and all other applicable provisions of this development code. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.82.040 Nonconforming signs.

Requirements for nonconforming signs are addressed in SMC Title 18, Signs and Display Advertising. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.82.050 Nonconforming parcels.

A. Determination of Nonconforming Status. A nonconforming parcel of record that does not comply with the access, area, or width requirements of this development code for the zoning district in which it is located, shall be considered to be a legal building site if it meets one of the criteria specified by this section. It shall be the responsibility of the applicant to produce sufficient evidence to establish the applicability of one or more of the following:

1. Approved Subdivision. The parcel was created through a subdivision approved by the city or the county of Sonoma.

2. Individual Parcel Legally Created by Deed. The parcel is under one ownership and of record, and was legally created by a recorded deed before the effective date of the zoning amendment that made the parcel nonconforming.

3. Variance or Lot Line Adjustment. The parcel was approved through the variance procedure (SMC 19.54.060) or resulted from a lot line adjustment.

4. Partial Government Acquisition. The parcel was created in conformity with the provisions of this development code, but was made nonconforming when a portion of the parcel was acquired by a governmental entity so that the parcel size was decreased not more than 20 percent and the yard facing any road was decreased not more than 50 percent.

B. Limitations on the Use of Nonconforming Parcels. Nonconforming parcels shall be developed and used only as follows:

1. Use of Contiguous Parcels. Until such time as contiguous nonconforming parcels are merged, no structure shall be constructed on any nonconforming contiguously owned, residentially zoned parcels that are less than 30 feet wide, or less than 5,000 square feet in area, or on slopes more than 20 percent, if the current owner(s) acquired or were transferred the parcels after October 12, 1976.

2. Further Subdivision Prohibited. Where structures have been erected on a nonconforming parcel, the area where structures are located shall not be later subdivided, nor shall lot lines be altered through lot line adjustment, so as to reduce the building site area and/or frontage below the requirements of the applicable zoning district or other applicable provisions of this development code, or in any way that makes the use of the parcel more nonconforming. (Ord. 2003-02 § 3, 2003).

19.82.060 Nonconforming commercial cannabis businesses.

The following shall apply to all nonconforming commercial cannabis businesses in the city:

A. Nonconforming commercial cannabis businesses may be continued subject to the following provisions, except as otherwise provided by subsection (C) of this section.

B. Nonconforming Uses of Land. A nonconforming commercial cannabis business use may be continued; provided, that:

1. The use shall conform to all conditions of approval for any previously issued use permit, if any and, in all circumstances, the use shall not be enlarged, increased, or extended to occupy a greater floor area or portion of the site or structure than it lawfully occupied before becoming a nonconforming use; and no modifications to the business shall be permitted without the issuance of a use permit by the planning commission.

2. Additional uses on the site shall not be allowed unless the nonconforming use is first discontinued or made to conform, and any replacement use complies with all applicable provisions of this development code.

3. The use shall be operated in ongoing compliance with applicable requirements and licensing of the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the California State Department of Food and Agriculture and the California State Department of Public Health.

4. Hours of operation of the commercial cannabis business shall be as set forth in any use permit conditions of approval or as otherwise provided in Chapter 5.36 SMC.

C. Loss of Nonconforming Status. If a nonconforming commercial cannabis business use is discontinued for a continuous period of 60 calendar days, it shall be concluded that the use has been abandoned. Without further action by the city, further use of the site or structure shall comply with all the regulations of the applicable zoning district and all other applicable provisions of this development code. The owner of the property in which a nonconforming commercial cannabis business is located and the owner of the nonconforming commercial cannabis business shall notify the city clerk, on a form approved and provided by the city and delivered to the city clerk, of the date that the commercial cannabis business use of any site or structure ceases for any period of time and the date that such use is reestablished after a period of discontinuance. Such notice shall be delivered by personal delivery or certified mail to the city clerk no later than 10 days following the date that any commercial cannabis business use of any site or structure ceases. The failure to provide notice pursuant to this subsection shall result in a presumption that the discontinuance has been in effect for a continuous period in excess of 60 calendar days. (Ord. 04-2019 § 6, 2019).