Chapter 17.88
NONCONFORMING LOTS, STRUCTURES AND USES

Sections:

17.88.010    Purpose.

17.88.020    Nonconforming lots – Consolidation.

17.88.030    Nonconforming structures.

17.88.040    Nonconforming uses – General application.

17.88.045    Relocation or expansion of nonconforming uses – M-II(A) district.

17.88.050    Building permits and certificates of occupancy prohibited.

17.88.060    Removal of illegal nonconforming structures and uses.

17.88.010 Purpose.

These provisions provide for the consolidation of nonconforming lots of record in common ownership, and the orderly termination of nonconforming structures and uses to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare, and to bring these structures and uses into conformity with the goals and policies of the Port Townsend Comprehensive Plan. This chapter is intended to prevent the expansion of nonconforming structures and uses to the maximum extent feasible, to establish criteria under which such structures and uses may be continued or possibly expanded, and to provide for the correction or removal of such nonconformities in an equitable, reasonable and timely manner. Nonconforming lots are legally buildable only if in conformance with the provisions of this chapter. Nonconforming structures and uses shall be eliminated as rapidly as possible without infringing upon the constitutional rights of property owners. (Ord. 3078 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 2571 § 2, 1997).

17.88.020 Nonconforming lots – Consolidation.

Lots of record in existence prior to the effective date of this title and any amendments thereto which do not meet the requirements set forth in this title are considered nonconforming lots of record and are legally buildable subject to the following conditions:

A. Consolidation Clause. Where two or more contiguous lots of record are under one ownership and one or more of the lots is nonconforming, they are considered to be consolidated and may not be sold or otherwise separated so as to create any resulting nonconforming lots.

B. Exemptions. The following shall be exempt from the nonconforming lot consolidation requirements set forth in subsection A of this section:

1. Any transfer, sale or conveyance of a nonconforming lot or lots for the purpose of acquisition of property to preserve environmentally sensitive areas;

2. Any transfer, sale or conveyance of a nonconforming lot or lots to the city of Port Townsend;

3. Any transaction for the sale or conveyance of a nonconforming lot or lots where the parties executed a real estate purchase and sale agreement, real estate contract or other legally valid transaction document on or before April 11, 1997;

4. Any transfer, sale or conveyance of a fully developed nonconforming lot that is contiguous with another fully developed lot under the same ownership, conforming or nonconforming; provided, that both lots were fully developed prior to April 11, 1997; and provided further, that before any such transfer, sale or conveyance, the improvements serving both lots must be found to be consistent with the city’s engineering design standards, as may be amended;

5. Any transfer, sale or conveyance of a nonconforming lot that is contiguous with another lot under the same ownership, conforming or nonconforming, that was ever held as a separate lot in separate ownership prior to April 11, 1997; provided, that before any such transfer, sale or conveyance, the improvements serving both lots must be found to be consistent with the city’s engineering design standards, as may be amended.

C. On-Site Sewerage Disposal. Under the limited circumstances where construction is permitted without connection to the city’s wastewater treatment facility (pursuant to Chapter 13.22 PTMC, Sewer Connections), all lots must be in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Jefferson County health department regarding on-site sewerage disposal to be legally buildable. Where there is a conflict between the provisions of this section and the rules of the Jefferson County health department, the more restrictive rules shall apply.

D. Compliance with Bulk and Dimensional Requirements and Engineering Design Standards. All new structures or additions to structures on any lot must meet all setback, height and other construction requirements for the zone in which the property is located. Additionally, the permit applicant shall comply with all applicable engineering design standards.

E. Lot Line Adjustments and Restrictive Covenants. A lot line adjustment or restrictive covenant approved by the city shall be required prior to issuance of a building permit when a nonconforming and conforming lot are contiguous and owned by the same person.

F. Planned Unit Developments Encouraged. Where nonconforming lots are under one ownership, the owner is encouraged to seek development approval taking advantage of the flexible standards, incentives and procedures set forth in Chapter 17.32 PTMC, Planned Unit Developments.

G. Lots Created before 1937. Notwithstanding this section, for any lots created by platting prior to 1937 (the effective date of the State Subdivision Act, Chapter 58.17 RCW), the city may require compliance with Chapter 58.17 RCW and PTMC Title 18 prior to issuing building permits for the development of lots in common ownership. The applicant shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 18.18 PTMC, Subdivision and Recognition of Lots of Record. (Ord. 3078 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 2700 § 31, 1999; Ord. 2571 § 2, 1997).

17.88.030 Nonconforming structures.

A structure that lawfully existed prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this title and does not meet the applicable bulk, dimensional and density requirements is a nonconforming structure, and may continue even though the structure fails to conform to the present requirements of the zoning district in which it is located. A nonconforming structure may be maintained as follows:

A. A nonconforming structure which is damaged to an extent of one-half or more of its replacement cost immediately prior to such damage may be restored only if made to conform to all provisions of this title. However, any residential structures, including multifamily structures, in a residential zoning district destroyed by a catastrophe, including fire, may be reconstructed up to the original size, placement and density. Structural repair shall be complete within two years after the catastrophe.

B. Necessary repairs and alterations may be made to nonconforming residential structures, including multifamily structures, located in residential zoning districts.

C. A nonconforming building or structure may be repaired and maintained as provided in and as limited by this section. The maintenance of such building or structure shall include only necessary repairs and incidental alterations, which alterations, however, shall not extend the nonconformity of such building or structure; provided, that necessary alterations may be made as required by other law or ordinance.

D. Changes to interior partitions or other nonstructural improvements and repairs may be made to a nonconforming commercial, mixed use, and marine-related or manufacturing structures; provided, that the cost of the desired improvement or repair does not exceed one-half of the replacement cost of the nonconforming structure over any consecutive five-year period.

E. The replacement cost of a structure shall be determined by the director of the development services department.

F. A building or structure, nonconforming as to the bulk, dimensional and density requirements of this title, may be added to or enlarged if such addition or enlargement conforms to the regulations of the district in which it is located. In such case, such addition or enlargement shall be treated as a separate building or structure in determining conformity to all of the requirements of this title.

G. Historic Structures. Reserved. (Ord. 3078 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 2892 § 1, 2005; Ord. 2700 § 32, 1999; Ord. 2571 § 2, 1997).

17.88.040 Nonconforming uses – General application.

A nonconforming use is one that lawfully existed prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this title, but which is no longer permitted in the zoning district in which it is located. The continuance of a nonconforming use is subject to the following provisions:

A. Change of ownership, tenancy, or management of a nonconforming use shall not affect its nonconforming status; provided, that the use does not change or intensify.

B. If a nonconforming use is discontinued for a period of 365 or more consecutive calendar days, it shall lose its nonconforming status, and the continued use of the property shall be required to conform with the provisions of this title.

C. Additional development of any property on which a nonconforming use exists shall require that all new uses conform to the provisions of this title.

D. If a nonconforming use is converted to a conforming use, no nonconforming use may be resumed.

E. Unless otherwise authorized by this chapter, a nonconforming use may not be replaced by another nonconforming use, nor may any nonconforming use be expanded, intensified, or changed in any way.

F. Application to change a nonconforming use to another nonconforming use shall be reviewed administratively by the director of DSD (Type I). The director may approve, or approve with conditions, an application for change of use if all of the following findings are made:

1. Impacts generated by the proposed use would be comparable to the existing nonconforming use, or if different, would not be incompatible with the purpose and intent of the district;

2. The change will not result in enlargement of the space occupied by the existing nonconforming use excepting for certain pre-existing nonconforming uses in the M-II(A) district as delineated in PTMC 17.88.045(B); and

3. The proposal is for a use which is of a similar nature or of a nature more in keeping with the purposes of the district than the existing nonconforming use.

4. When a nonconforming use is changed in accordance with this section, the property shall not thereafter be used for a more intense nonconforming use. (Ord. 3078 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 2571 § 2, 1997).

17.88.045 Relocation or expansion of nonconforming uses – M-II(A) district.

In order to provide flexibility while maintaining the marine-related industrial focus of the Boat Haven, the following provisions shall apply to legal, preexisting nonconforming uses established within the M-II(A) zoning district on or before May 8, 2012. These nonconforming uses may relocate within the district and/or expand as provided by this section, and may, as provided in PTMC 17.88.040, change use. Under no circumstance may the number of nonconforming uses in the district exceed three in number (unless future code changes result in more nonconforming uses).

A. Application to relocate a nonconforming use in the M-II(A) district shall be reviewed administratively by the director of DSD (Type II). The director may approve, or approve with conditions, an application for relocation upon finding that all of the following have been satisfied:

1. The relocation does not increase the number of nonconforming uses in the district;

2. Granting the relocation will not displace an existing marine-related use unless such prior use is extinguished through closure or relocation out of the district; or assurances acceptable to the director have been made that the displaced marine-related use will be relocated elsewhere within the M-II(A) district;

3. The nonconforming use is to be located outside the 200-foot jurisdiction of the Shoreline Management Act; and

4. Granting the request will not be materially detrimental to uses or property in the immediate vicinity of the subject parcel.

B. Application to expand a nonconforming use in the M-II(A) district shall be reviewed administratively by the director of DSD (Type II). The director may grant the application upon making the following findings:

1. Such expansion does not exceed an additional 1,500 square feet in floor area. The expansion area shall be cumulatively measured over the life of the nonconforming use and shall not exceed a total of 1,500 square feet. For example, if an existing nonconforming use of 800 square feet expands to 1,600 square feet, then future expansion of that use (or a permitted replacement use) is limited to another 700 square feet; and

2. Granting the request will not be materially detrimental to uses or property in the immediate vicinity of the subject parcel. (Ord. 3078 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012).

17.88.050 Building permits and certificates of occupancy prohibited.

A. Nonconforming Structure. When any nonconforming structure is no longer permitted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, no permit for a structure shall thereafter be issued for further continuance, alteration, or expansion. Any permit issued in error shall not be construed as allowing the continuation of the nonconforming structure.

B. Nonconforming Uses. When any nonconforming use is no longer permitted pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, no permit for a use shall thereafter be issued for further continuance, alteration or expansion. Any permit issued in error shall not be construed as allowing the continuance of the nonconforming use. (Ord. 3078 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 2571 § 2, 1997).

17.88.060 Removal of illegal nonconforming structures and uses.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to allow for the continuation of illegal structures and uses. Illegal structures and uses shall be removed subject to the provisions of Chapter 1.20 PTMC, Code Administration and Enforcement. (Ord. 3078 § 1 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 2952 § 1, 2008; Ord. 2571 § 2, 1997).