Chapter 17.32


17.32.005    Purpose.

17.32.010    Nonconforming uses.

17.32.020    Nonconforming structures.

17.32.030    Nonconforming lots.

17.32.040    Nonconforming freestanding signs.

Legislative history: Ord. 97-406.

17.32.005 Purpose.

The purpose and intent of this chapter is to address nonconforming uses, structures, signs, and lots and to bring nonconforming, freestanding signs into conformity after a reasonable period of time as described in this chapter. Definitions pertaining to this chapter are contained within MCMC 14.01.030, Definitions. (Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.32.010 Nonconforming uses.

A. Continuance. A nonconforming use within a principal structure or accessory building may be continued if:

1. The use was lawful at the time it was established;

2. The use has not been discontinued for a period of 12 consecutive months since the nonconformity was established; and

3. The use has not been enlarged in scope or size.

B. Discontinuance. All nonconforming uses not conducted in structures (outside uses) on the same lot shall be discontinued within three years of the date the nonconformity was established or adoption of this title, whichever is later. (Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.32.020 Nonconforming structures.

A. Alterations. A nonconforming structure may be altered or enlarged, if:

1. Alterations to the structure do not increase the nonconformity;

2. Alterations are necessary to meet city or state requirements; or

3. Alterations meet the existing requirements of the zone in which the structure is located.

B. Restoration of Damage. A nonconforming structure may be restored, if damaged by fire or other hazard, in the same location and dimensions as existed before the damage occurred if restoration begins within six months of the date the damage occurred. Upon a showing of hardship or conditions causing delay that are beyond the control of the applicant, the director may grant an extension of time for up to six additional months. (Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.32.030 Nonconforming lots.

The proponent or applicant for any permit application involving a nonconforming lot shall be required to provide information and documentation demonstrating consistency with this section.

A. Continuance. A nonconforming lot may be considered a legal usable lot if any one of the following conditions exist:

1. The lot was lawfully established;

2. The nonconforming lot does not adjoin a lot that has a structure on it and is under the same ownership, if the nonconformity is due to lot size; or

3. All uses of the nonconforming lot comply with all other provisions of this title.

B. Discontinuance. A nonconforming lot shall be subject to the provisions of this title if a single, nonconforming lot adjoins one or more unimproved lots under the same ownership. Such lots shall be merged or adjusted by lot line adjustment into the number of lots that meet or most nearly meet the requirements of this title, as provided in MCMC Title 16. (Ord. 2005-609 § 2)

17.32.040 Nonconforming freestanding signs.

The owner of a freestanding, nonconforming sign shall be required to provide information and documentation demonstrating consistency with this section.

A. Conformance Required. Unless otherwise prescribed by state law or as noted in subsection (A)(1) of this section, all nonconforming freestanding signs shall be removed (including all elements of the sign structure) or made to conform to the requirements of this title within three years of the passage of this section or within a specified amortization period as established in subsection B of this section.

1. Exception: A nonconforming freestanding sign that does not exceed by more than 25 percent either the maximum allowed sign size or height shall be allowed to remain until such time as the sign is changed (as defined in MCMC 17.26.010(A)) or replaced. At the time the sign is changed or replaced, it must be brought into compliance with the code.

B. Specific Amortization Period.

1. The owner of a nonconforming freestanding sign may appeal to the director of community development for a specified amortization period longer than three years. The application fee shall be the same as the fee for a variance. The applicant shall provide the following information with the application:

a. The date of the sign’s purchase, lease or installation, and its original cost;

b. The depreciation schedule used for the sign as shown on Internal Revenue Service tax returns;

c. The total amount of depreciation claimed for the sign; and

d. The estimated cost of making the sign conform to the requirements of this title.

The director of community development shall set an amortization period that shall allow the owner a reasonable return on his investment. In determining the specific amortization period, the director of community development shall include in his decision findings based on the magnitude of the hardship on the sign owner or user, including the economic loss of the cost of the sign and the benefits the public may derive from the discontinuation of the nonconforming sign. (Ord. 2011-727 § 2 (Exh. B); Ord. 2005-609 § 2)