Chapter 18A.70
NONCONFORMING DEVELOPMENT Revised 6/18 Revised 12/18

Sections:

18A.70.010    Purpose.

18A.70.020    Applicability.

18A.70.030    General Provisions.

18A.70.040    Expansion of a Nonconforming Use.

18A.70.050    Change of Use Standards for Nonconforming Uses. Revised 12/18

18A.70.060    Nonconforming Structures.

18A.70.070    Nonconforming Lots.

18A.70.080    Nonconforming Development.

18A.70.090    Restoration Standards for Damaged or Destroyed Nonconforming Structures and Uses.

18A.70.100    Discontinuance.

18A.70.110    Termination of Type of Nonconforming Use. Revised 6/18

18A.70.010 Purpose.

The purpose of Chapter 18A.70 PCC is to provide property owners reasonable alternatives for limited expansion and continuance of nonconformities. (Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.70.020 Applicability.

Chapter 18A.70 PCC applies to lots, structures, and uses which were legally established prior to the adoption, revision, or amendment of Title 18A PCC, and which remain legal, but have become nonconforming as a result of this Title's application. If the County has a Joint Planning Agreement with a city or town for management of land use within the city or town's urban growth area, and the Agreement specifically identifies the use of alternative nonconforming standards within that area, then those standards shall apply. (Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.70.030 General Provisions.

General regulations apply to all nonconforming uses, structures, developments, and lots. These standards provide for actions that are allowed outright. Limited exceptions to the standards in Chapter 18A.70 PCC are allowed through an Administrative Nonconforming Use Permit or a Nonconforming Use Permit in PCC 18A.75.070, Nonconforming Use Permit.

A.    Expansion of Nonconforming Uses and Structures. Nonconforming uses and structures shall not be enlarged, expanded, extended, replaced, or altered except as expressly permitted in Chapter 18A.70 PCC.

B.    Expansion Beyond Original Parcel. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to permit expanding or extending a nonconforming use or structure beyond the confines of the lot or parcel of land upon which it was located on the date the use or structure became nonconforming; provided that limited parking area expansion may be permitted beyond the confines of the parcel or lot in accordance with PCC 18A.70.040 A.4.

C.    Continuation of Use. A nonconforming use may be continued by successive owners or tenants provided the use is not discontinued for a period of two years. (See PCC 18A.70.100, Discontinuance).

D.    Normal Upkeep, Repairs, and Maintenance. Normal upkeep, repairs, maintenance, strengthening, or restoration to a safe condition of any nonconforming building or structure or part thereof shall be permitted subject to the provisions of this Section.

E.    Compliance with Development Regulations. Any additions or expansions of nonconforming uses or nonconforming structures shall comply with applicable development regulations; provided, that portions of nonconformities that legally existed prior to adoption of this Section shall not be subject to this provision.

F.    Nonconforming Use Within a Structure. A nonconforming use within an existing structure which is nonconforming by reason of zone classification may be extended throughout such structure.

G.    Nonconforming Uses Not Contained in a Structure. Any nonconforming use not contained in a structure, such as the stockpiling of materials including, but not limited to, landscape materials, fill dirt, building materials or the storage/parking of vehicles and equipment, must be documented. Documentation shall be in the form of a site plan or aerial photo provided by the property owner. Such documentation must clearly depict the portions of the property occupied by the nonconforming use on a specific date and time. County staff will conduct an onsite inspection and review existing county records, including aerial photographs, to verify the information provided by the property owner.

H.    Structures and Uses Accessory to Residential. Structures and uses accessory to an existing nonconforming residential use shall be allowed as provided in Chapter 18A.36 PCC, Accessory Development.

I.    Where a nonconforming use or structure exists, the use or structure can be replaced or altered; provided the original size and location of the use or structure is not increased or relocated in a manner which increases the degree of nonconformity or creates additional impacts.

(Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.70.040 Expansion of a Nonconforming Use.

A.    Expansion of nonconforming uses, nonconforming use of structures, and nonconforming use of land shall be subject to the following provisions:

1.    Alteration, enlargement, or expansion of a nonconforming single- or two-family use located on a legal lot of record is allowed outright when the new construction complies with the standards in PCC 18A.15.040, Setback and Height Standards, and other applicable requirements of Pierce County Code (PCC). This Section shall also apply to each dwelling unit when two or more single-family dwellings exist on a parcel.

2.    Alteration, enlargement, or expansion of a nonconforming use or structure which is necessary to accommodate handicapped accessibility requirements, fire code, or other life safety related Code requirements is allowed outright when said modification is mandated by local, state, or federal standards.

3.    Expansion of nonconforming uses and structures, except as described in PCC 18A.70.040 A.1. and 2. above, shall be allowed pursuant to Table 18A.70.040-1 below and the following provisions:

a.    Expansions of a nonconforming use of a structure shall be based on the total floor area of the structure(s) at the time the use became nonconforming;

b.    Expansions of a nonconforming use or development into undeveloped portions of the lot or parcel shall be based on the developed area of the lot or parcel at the time the use or development became nonconforming;

c.    Expansions of additional sites in mobile home parks or RV parks shall be based on existing pad sites in a mobile home park or RV park at the time the park became nonconforming;

d.    Expansions of additional dwelling units in multi-family developments shall be based on the number of dwelling units existing at the time the development became nonconforming; and

e.    Expansions of mobile home parks, RV parks, and multi-family developments shall be based on the existing developed area for the mobile home park, RV park, or multi-family development at the time the use became nonconforming.

4.    A one-time expansion of employee parking areas may be authorized in conjunction with an existing nonconforming use and may be established beyond the confines of the parcel or lot on which the nonconforming use is located pursuant to the permitting requirements set forth in Table 18A.70.040-2 and the following provisions:

a.    The total area of off-site parking expansion shall not exceed 1 acre. All proposed off-site parking expansion areas shall be included when calculating the total area. Perimeter landscaping areas shall be excluded from the area calculation;

b.    Off-site parking expansion areas shall be located adjacent to the parcel containing the nonconforming use being served by the parking area expansion. For purposes of determining adjacency, parking areas separated from the nonconforming use solely by right-of-way shall be considered to be adjacent;

c.    Off-site parking expansion areas shall be utilized exclusively for employee parking only. Use of such areas for semi-trailer truck parking, storage, materials storage, or any use other than employee parking purposes shall be prohibited. A notice shall be recorded on the title of the property prior to the issuance of permits for the parking lot construction acknowledging these use restrictions. No rights for future expansion of the nonconforming use to the parking area shall be conferred and no such expansion shall be permitted. The right to utilize the property for employee parking shall terminate in the event that the nonconforming use associated with the parking area is discontinued or in the event that the property ceases to be utilized for employee parking for a period of one year or more;

d.    Lighting of off-site employee parking areas shall not be required. Where lighting is provided, it shall be for pedestrian and accent lighting only and shall not exceed 4 feet in height. The lighting shall be shielded so as to minimize light intrusion onto adjacent properties and shall be located greater than 50 feet from adjacent parcels utilized for residential purposes;

e.    Off-site parking areas shall be landscaped and screened as follows:

(1)    A perimeter landscape buffer shall be required along the perimeter of the parking area. This landscape buffer shall meet the requirements of a Landscape Level 2 buffer except where adjacent to a public or private roadway or easement where a Landscape Level 1 buffer shall be required.

(2)    The interior of parking lot areas shall be landscaped in accordance with the requirements set forth in PCC 18J.15.090; and

(3)    A continuous 6-foot solid board fence shall be erected along the perimeter of the parking area where the parking area is adjacent to any parcel utilized for residential purposes.

5.    A request to expand shall take into consideration other expansions that have been approved pursuant to this Section, and shall count towards the maximum percentages set forth in Table 18A.70.040-1; provided that off-site employee parking areas established pursuant to PCC 18A.70.040 A.4. shall be excluded.

Table 18A.70.040-1. Nonconforming Standards – Maximum Percent

Expansion Allowed (1)

Use Categories

Zone Classifications

Employment Centers (2)

Urban Centers – Urban Districts (2)

Urban Residential (2)

Rural and Resource Area (2)

Residential – Civic – Resource

Single Family Detached

Two-Family Housing

Refer to PCC 18A.70.040 A.1. and 2. for expansion standards for single-family and two-family dwellings.

Nonconforming use

5/10/15

5/10/15

5/15/20

10/25/more than

Nonconforming development

5/10/15

5/10/15

5/15/20

25/33/more than

Office/Business – Commercial

Nonconforming use

5/15/40

5/15/40

5/10/15

10/25/more than

Nonconforming development

5/15/35

5/15/35

5/10/15

25/33/more than

Utilities – Industrial

Nonconforming use

5/20/40

5/10/15

5/10/15

10/25/more than

Nonconforming development

5/20/35

5/10/15

5/10/15

25/33/more than

(1) The maximum expansion of a nonconforming use is permitted pursuant to PCC 18A.70.040 A.4.

(2) Expansions numbers in Table indicate percentages: Permitted Outright/Administrative Nonconforming Use Permit/Nonconforming Use Permit.

Table 18A.70.040-2. Nonconforming Standards – Off-Site Parking Expansion

Use Categories

Zone Classifications

Employment Centers

Urban Centers – Urban Districts

Urban Residential

Rural and Resource Area

Residential – Civic – Resource

Not allowed

P

P

Not allowed

Office/Business – Commercial

A

P

A

Not allowed

Utilities – Industrial

P

A

N

Not allowed

Parking area shall comply with the standards set forth in PCC 18A.35.130 D.4.*

P – Permitted, A – Administrative Nonconforming Use Permit, N – Nonconforming Use Permit

*Code reviser’s note: The reference to PCC 18A.35.130 D.4. above is incorrect. The correct cite should be PCC 18A.35.040.

(Ord. 2016-33 § 1 (part), 2016; Ord. 2015-86 § 1 (part), 2015; Ord. 2015-40 § 4 (part), 2015; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.70.050 Change of Use Standards for Nonconforming Uses. Revised 12/18

A.    A nonconforming use may change to a conforming use allowed within the zone classification in which the use is located or to another nonconforming use of equal or lesser intensity. When determining intensity, the Director may consider impacts including, but not limited to, traffic, impervious surface, size and scale, noise, glare, dust, and hours of operation. These standards shall not be used to accomplish any of the following:

1.    Add additional nonconforming uses to an existing nonconforming use;

2.    Convert a nonconforming residential use type to a commercial use type;

3.    Convert development on the pads in a nonconforming mobile home park from mobile home, manufactured home, or RV to a dwelling unit type other than mobile home, manufactured home, or RV except as provided in subsection B. below; or

4.    Convert to a use which would require a land use approval in the existing zone classification without first obtaining such approval.

B.    The conversion of pads to other single-family housing types is allowed within a nonconforming mobile home park provided the following standards are met:

1.    The mobile home park must be adjacent to the Urban Growth Area boundary.

2.    The mobile home park is already constructed with roads and utilities.

3.    The mobile home park spaces are vacant and have not been previously occupied by mobile or manufactured homes.

4.    The stick-built home is built within the same area allowable for a mobile home replacement subject to any boundary adjustments that may otherwise be allowed by law.

5.    Setbacks established for the mobile home park or sufficient separation to meet Pierce County Fire Codes must be met.

6.    No more stick-built single-family homes would be allowed than the number of allowed mobile home spaces/pads.

7.    Existing infrastructure may be used unless upgrades are necessary to meet fire or health standards.

(Ord. 2017-89s § 2 (part), 2018; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.70.060 Nonconforming Structures.

A.    A nonconforming structure may be enlarged, altered, or replaced provided PCC 18A.70.030, General Provisions, is satisfied, and provided:

1.    When a nonconforming structure is occupied by a nonconforming use it shall comply with the Expansion Standards of this Section;

2.    A structure which is nonconforming due to height or yard requirements may be structurally altered, enlarged, or replaced provided the degree of nonconformity is not extended or increased; and

3.    The nonconforming portion of the structure shall not be expanded or the footprint of that portion altered except as specifically authorized through a variance (see PCC 18A.75.040, Variances).

(Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.70.070 Nonconforming Lots.

Any permitted uses or structures, including any accessory uses or structures permitted in conjunction with a principal use, shall be allowed to be built or expanded on a nonconforming lot. Any new construction pursuant to this subsection shall comply with the applicable standards in the Title 18 series of Development Regulations. (Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.70.080 Nonconforming Development.

Existing uses or structures may be expanded or new uses and structures added to a nonconforming development; provided the expanded portion of the nonconforming development is brought into conformance with applicable standards in the Title 18 series of Development Regulations. (Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.70.090 Restoration Standards for Damaged or Destroyed Nonconforming Structures and Uses.

A.    Any nonconforming structure damaged or destroyed by fire, explosion, wind, flood, earthquake, or other calamity may be completely restored or reconstructed. Damaged or destroyed nonconforming structures must be restored under the following provisions:

1.    Restoration or reconstruction shall not serve to extend or increase the nonconformance of the original structure or use except as provided by PCC 18A.70.040, Expansion Standards, and PCC 18A.70.060, Nonconforming Structures Standards.

2.    Permits shall be applied for within one year of damage. Restoration or reconstruction must be substantially completed within 18 months of permit issuance. When deemed reasonable and necessary, the Examiner may grant a time extension through an Appeal of an Administrative Decision.

(Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.70.100 Discontinuance.

Should a nonconforming use of a property or structure be discontinued for more than two years, the use of the property and structure shall be deemed to be abandoned and shall conform to a use permitted in the zone classification in which it is located. (Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)

18A.70.110 Termination of Type of Nonconforming Use. Revised 6/18

Where the Council determines by Ordinance that a type of nonconforming use is a nuisance or is determined to the public health, safety, or welfare, that type of use may be terminated according to a reasonable amortization timetable. (Ord. 2017-86 § 4, 2018; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 5 (part), 2013)