Chapter 17.65


17.65.010    Purpose and administration of provisions.

17.65.020    Continuing existing uses.

17.65.030    Construction approved prior to title.

17.65.040    Nonconforming uses – Substitution, extension, discontinuance, etc.

17.65.010 Purpose and administration of provisions.

The purpose of this chapter is to regulate and gradually eliminate buildings, structures, and land uses that were legally permitted at the time of their inception, but that no longer conform to existing city ordinances. All such items shall be considered nonconforming uses. The designation of nonconforming use shall not apply to any building, structure, or land use that was not legally permissible at the time of inception. These items are considered illegal uses.

Upon request, the zoning administrator shall determine whether a building, structure, or parcel of land meets the criteria of a nonconforming use based on evidence presented. Such evidence shall include building permits, tax records, photographs, receipts, signed contracts, historical documents, or other written evidence.

The board of adjustment shall determine whether a nonconforming use has been discontinued to the point that it is no longer permitted. [Code 2000 § 17-20-1].

17.65.020 Continuing existing uses.

Except as hereinafter specified, any use, building, or structure, lawfully existing at the time of the enactment or subsequent amendment of the ordinance codified in this title, may be continued, even though such use, building, or structure does not conform with the provisions of this title for the district in which it is located. Except as otherwise provided by law, nothing in this title shall prevent the strengthening or restoring to a safe condition of any part of any building or structure declared unsafe by proper authority. [Code 2000 § 17-20-2].

17.65.030 Construction approved prior to title.

A building, structure, or part thereof which does not conform to the regulations for the district in which it is situated, but for which a building permit was issued and construction started prior to the enactment of the ordinance codified in this title, may be completed in accordance with such plans providing work is prosecuted continuously and without delay. Such buildings shall be deemed to be nonconforming and shall be subject to the regulations set forth herein. [Code 2000 § 17-20-3].

17.65.040 Nonconforming uses – Substitution, extension, discontinuance, etc.

A nonconforming use shall not be enlarged, extended, or changed unless the use is changed to a use permitted in the district in which it is located, and a nonconforming building shall not be reconstructed or structurally altered unless such alteration shall result in removing those conditions of the building which render it nonconforming, except as follows:

A. Substitution or Extension.

1. When authorized by the board of adjustment in accordance with this title, a nonconforming use which is determined to be of a more desirable nature may be substituted for another nonconforming use.

2. Whenever a nonconforming use has been changed to a conforming use, such use shall not thereafter be changed to a nonconforming use.

3. When authorized by the board of adjustment in accordance with this title, a building devoted to a nonconforming use may be completed upon the lot occupied by such building; provided, that such completion is necessary and incidental to the existing use of such building.

4. Repairs and structural alterations may be made to a nonconforming building; provided, that the floor space of such building is not increased.

5. A nonconforming use may be extended to include the entire floor area of the existing building in which it is conducted at the time the use became nonconforming.

6. A nonconforming building or structure which is damaged or partially destroyed by fire, flood, wind, earthquake, or other calamity or act of God or the public enemy, to the extent of not more than one and one-half times its assessed value at that time, may be restored and the occupancy or use of such building, structure or part thereof which existed at the time of such partial destruction may be continued or resumed; provided, that such restoration is started within a period of one year and is diligently prosecuted to completion. In the event such damage or destruction exceeds one and one-half times the assessed value of such nonconforming building or structure, no repairs or reconstruction shall be made, except in the case of residences or accessory farm buildings, unless every portion of such building or structure is made to conform to all regulations for new buildings in the zone in which it is located.

7. Application for substitution or extension of a nonconforming use as provided in this section shall be made and considered in the manner set forth in Chapter 17.70 WPCC for a conditional use permit.

B. Discontinuation.

1. A nonconforming use shall be deemed to have ceased when it has been discontinued either temporarily or permanently for a period of 12 months or more, and there is evidence that there was an intent to abandon such use.

2. Any of the following shall be considered evidence of intent to abandon a nonconforming use:

a. Actual notice given by a property owner or his authorized agent;

b. Constructive notice given to the public, city, county, or other government agency;

c. Cessation of any city-required utility service, such as culinary water, sewer, or electrical power, for a period of 12 months or greater,

d. Cessation of all maintenance for a period of 12 months or greater;

e. A 75 percent or greater reduction in scope of nonconforming operation(s) within a period of 12 months;

f. Failure to implement city, county, state or federal ordinances within six months of written notification;

g. Failure by a property owner or his authorized agent to physically occupy a structure or property within a period of 12 months;

h. Any other criteria established by city, county, state, or federal regulations.

3. Nonconforming buildings, structures, and land uses located within the same legal parcel may be terminated jointly or separately at the discretion of the board of adjustments.

C. Amortization of Nonconforming Uses. The board of adjustments, under authorization of state statute, may provide for the timely modification or removal of a nonconforming structure or use of land. A maximum of a five-year period may be granted in which the nonconforming use shall be modified or removed in order to comply with the general plan and zoning ordinance. The board may provide for a shorter time period by providing a formula establishing a reasonable time period during which the owner can recover or amortize the amount of any investment in the nonconforming use or structure, if any.

D. School District Property. The board of adjustment may terminate the legal nonconforming status of school district property upon a finding that the property has ceased to be used for school district purposes for any length of time. [Code 2000 § 17-20-4].