Chapter 20.65
NONCONFORMING USES AND STRUCTURES1

Sections:

20.65.000    Scope and purpose.

20.65.005    Nonconforming lots.

20.65.010    Continuation of nonconforming use.

20.65.015    Allowed changes to nonconforming use.

20.65.020    Discontinuation of use.

20.65.025    Continued occupancy of nonconforming structure.

20.65.030    Enlargement, modification, or replacement of nonconforming structures and sites.

20.65.035    Restoration of damaged or destroyed nonconforming structures.

20.65.037    Reestablishment of a legal nonconforming use.

20.65.040    Special authority to enlarge, intensify, change or relocate nonconforming uses and structures.

20.65.045    Nonconforming structures under construction.

20.65.050    Nonconforming signs.

20.65.055    Nonconforming residential uses and structures.

20.65.000 Scope and purpose.

Within the zones established by this title there exist lots, uses and structures which were lawful when established, but whose establishment would be prohibited under the requirements of this title. The intent of this chapter is to allow the beneficial development of such nonconforming lots; to allow the continuation of such nonconforming uses; and to allow the continued use of such nonconforming structures. It is also the intent of this chapter to, under certain circumstances and controls, allow the enlargement, intensification or other modification of nonconforming uses and structures, consistent with the objectives of maintaining the economic viability of such uses and structures, and protecting the rights of other property owners to use and enjoy their properties. (Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).

20.65.005 Nonconforming lots.

Except as otherwise required by law, a lot legally established prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this title, which does not conform to the minimum lot area, minimum lot width and/or minimum lot depth requirements of this title, nevertheless may be developed subject to all other development standards, use restrictions and other applicable requirements established by this title. For the purposes of this chapter, a lot shall include at a minimum, all property having the same Pierce County assessor’s tax identification number. (Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).

20.65.010 Continuation of nonconforming use.

Except as otherwise required by law, a use legally established prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this title may continue unchanged. (Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).

20.65.015 Allowed changes to nonconforming use.

Changes to a nonconforming use shall be allowed only under the following circumstances:

(1) A nonconforming use or a portion of a nonconforming use may be changed to a conforming use.

(2) A nonconforming use or a portion of a nonconforming use may be changed to another nonconforming use within the same use category as defined by Chapter 20.15 PMC via an approved conditional use permit (CUP) or administrative conditional use permit (ACUP). If a nonconforming use is proposed to be expanded to occupy a larger portion of an existing building the following criteria shall be used when analyzing such expansion through either a CUP or ACUP, as specified below:

(a) The change will not result in a net increase of vehicular trips by more than 10 percent compared to the vehicular average daily trip generation associated with the initial nonconforming use, as estimated by the director or designee using the most recent version of the Institute of Transportation Engineers Trip Generation Handbook (ITE Handbook); nor will the change result in a net increase in the number of parking spaces that would be required by PMC 20.55.010 by more than 10 percent compared to the parking requirements associated with the initial nonconforming use. In the event that the ITE Handbook cannot, in the determination of the director or designee, be adequately applied in order to confirm the vehicle trip findings of this subsection, other acceptable trip generation data sources, as outlined in the ITE Handbook, may be used if deemed appropriate by the director or designee. Furthermore, conditional use permits shall be obtained pursuant to the following criteria:

(i) Nonconforming use changes involving a lower intensity use, i.e., small-scale pedestrian-oriented neighborhood commercial use, of 4,000 square feet or less of structural area, or 10,000 square feet or less in lot size shall obtain an ACUP in accordance with Chapter 20.81 PMC; or

(ii) Nonconforming use changes involving an equivalent to higher intensity use, greater than 4,000 square feet in structural area, or greater than 10,000 square feet in lot size shall obtain a CUP in accordance with Chapter 20.80 PMC;

(b) The change will not result in an increase in noise perceptible at the boundary lines of the subject property;

(c) The change will not result in any additional light or glare perceptible at the boundary lines of the subject property;

(d) The change will not result in an increase in the outdoor storage of goods or materials.

(3) A nonconforming recreational vehicle use may be changed under the authority of a temporary use permit issued pursuant to PMC 20.70.010(8). (Ord. 3119 § 56, 2016; Ord. 3018 § 1, 2012; Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).

20.65.020 Discontinuation of use.

If a nonconforming use is discontinued for a continuous period of one year or more, such discontinuance shall be deemed to constitute abandonment of any nonconforming use rights; except where such use is temporarily discontinued to allow restoration of a building or structure under PMC 20.65.035, in which case the use may be reestablished upon completion of the restoration. The one-year time period in which nonconforming use rights are retained may be extended up to two additional years, totaling three full years following discontinuation of use, if the subject property, including structures and landscaping, is maintained in a neat and orderly manner so as to not appear degraded relative to the previous condition of the property nor detract from the surrounding neighborhood. In order to receive a nonconforming use time extension, the property owner must request from the director an extension within one year of the discontinuation of use demonstrating compliance with the above stated maintenance criteria. A time extension may be granted for a one-year period; the property owner must apply for a time extension for the second and third year to maintain nonconforming use rights. Nonconforming structures which are removed or demolished shall not be allowed to reestablish at any time following their removal or demolition, except as provided for in PMC 20.65.030 and 20.65.035. (Ord. 3119 § 57, 2016; Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2346 § 1(16), 1993; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).

20.65.025 Continued occupancy of nonconforming structure.

Except as otherwise required by law and consistent with all other requirements of this chapter, a structure legally built prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this title, may continue unchanged. (Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).

20.65.030 Enlargement, modification, or replacement of nonconforming structures and sites.

(1) A structure which is nonconforming as to use, height, or lot coverage may be enlarged in volume, area, or space only if one or more of the following circumstances exist:

(a) Ordinary minor repairs and maintenance, including painting, repair or replacement of wall surfacing materials and the repair or replacement of fixtures, wiring and plumbing, are permitted provided such repair or maintenance will not result in increases in noise, light, or glare at the boundary lines of the subject property.

(b) The enlargement or modification is required for safety upon order of the city, or otherwise required by law to make the structure conform to any applicable provisions of law.

(2) A nonconforming accessory or primary structure in an R zone which is nonconforming as to setback location (e.g., encroaching within a prescribed setback area), maximum size (as stipulated by PMC 20.20.040(4) – detached accessory buildings) and/or total quantity of permitted accessory structure(s) (as stipulated by PMC 20.20.010(2)) may be replaced, enlarged or modified in volume, area, or space; provided, that:

(a) Total or partial replacement of the nonconforming accessory structure in an R zone is permitted only if it involved the same or less extent of setback encroachment and/or total square footage, including no greater structural height, bulk or floor area than previously existed within a setback area, and the replacement is completed within one year of the demolition and the building to be replaced is an accessory structure in an R zone.

(b) Enlargements or modifications to principal structures which do not entail total or partial replacements may be permitted if the extent of encroachment (i.e., measured at the point furthest within the setback area) is not increased as a result of the enlargement or modification, and the requested structural addition does not result in more than a 25 percent increase in the square footage of all structural floor area square footage currently within the setback area.

(3) An existing single-family residence located in an RM zone or a C zone may be removed and replaced on the same site with a new single-family residence; provided, that the existing residence is the only unit now occupying the property and that construction of the new single-family residence is completed (i.e., receives final city occupancy approval) within one year of issuance of a demolition permit to remove the existing residence. Upon a finding of good cause shown, the development services director may extend the prescribed one-year timeline for up to an additional six months in order to allow completion of the residence’s construction. Said new single-family residence shall be subject to all development standards of the RS-04 zone.

(4) If substantial new construction occurs on a preexisting developed site within the C, M, O or PF, MED, MX or RM zone, or on a site containing any non-single-family residential use within an RS zone, wherein parking, landscaping, signage or fencing do not conform to current municipal code standards, said nonconforming parking, landscaping, signage or fencing shall be brought up to code as determined by the impacted area of redevelopment, defined by the scope of work (i.e., if the proposal would modify or rebuild areas of the site that do not conform to current code standards such proposal shall be in conformance with the applicable code standards applying to that area of work). Major changes of use to preexisting structures (e.g., residential to commercial conversions) shall be required to meet current parking and landscaping codes regardless of the dollar value of any improvements. Any code-required landscaping shall not be required if its provisions are prohibited by location of a preexisting structure or would cause the amount or dimensions of on-site parking, including access drives, to not meet current standards. (Ord. 3119 § 58, 2016; Ord. 3051 § 15, 2013; Ord. 2866 § 9, 2006; Ord. 2853 § 2, 2006; Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2316 § 1, 1992; Ord. 2268 § 42, 1991; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).

20.65.035 Restoration of damaged or destroyed nonconforming structures.

Restoration of a nonconforming building or a structure containing a nonconforming use which has been damaged by fire, earthquake, or other natural calamity is permitted; provided, that the extent of such damage is less than 75 percent of the current replacement cost as determined by the chief building inspector. In the event that the extent of such damage exceeds 75 percent of current replacement cost, the nonconforming building or structure may be restored or rebuilt only to an extent which complies fully with the property development and performance standards of the applicable zoning district as provided by this title. In either case, such restoration shall be undertaken only under a valid building permit for which a complete application was submitted within 18 months following said damage, which permit must be actively pursued to completion. (Ord. 3018 § 2, 2012; Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2393 § 1, 1994; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).

20.65.037 Reestablishment of a legal nonconforming use.

A legally established nonconforming use may be reestablished regardless of the extent of damage to any structure. (Ord. 3018 § 3, 2012).

20.65.040 Special authority to enlarge, intensify, change or relocate nonconforming uses and structures.

(1) Cancellation of a Nonconforming Use Permit. A valid nonconforming use permit granted by the hearing examiner may be canceled at any time. Cancellation must be initiated by the owner of the property covered by permit by means of a written request to the planning director. Said permit shall then become null and void within 30 calendar days thereafter.

(2) Revocation of a Nonconforming Use Permit. Following a public hearing, the hearing examiner may revoke or add additional conditions to any nonconforming use permit issued on any one or more of the following grounds:

(a) That the approval was obtained by fraud or that erroneous information was presented by the applicant and considered in the granting of said permit;

(b) That the use for which such approval is granted is not being exercised;

(c) That the use for which such approval was granted has ceased to exist or has been suspended for one year or more;

(d) That the permit granted is being, or recently has been, exercised contrary to the terms or conditions of such approval, or in violation of any statute, ordinance, law or regulation;

(e) That the use for which the approval was granted is being so exercised as to be detrimental to the public health, safety or general welfare, or so as to constitute a nuisance.

(3) Posting of Performance Bonds. The person seeking the nonconforming use permit may be required to furnish security in the form of money or a surety bond to ensure compliance with the conditions and limitations upon which the permit is granted. Every such bond shall be a performance bond and shall be in a form approved by the city attorney, shall be payable to the city and shall be conditioned upon compliance with the conditions and limitations upon which such permit is granted. (Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2316 § 1, 1992; Ord. 2268 § 43, 1991; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).

20.65.045 Nonconforming structures under construction.

Any nonconforming structure for which a valid building permit has been issued prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter and which complies with the provisions of PMC 20.05.015(3), may be completed and used in accordance with the provisions of this title or any amendment thereto, provided that such structure is completed in accordance with the plans and specifications on which such building permit was issued. (Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).

20.65.050 Nonconforming signs.

Nonconforming signs shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 20.60 PMC. (Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).

20.65.055 Nonconforming residential uses and structures.

Nothing in this title shall prohibit the enlargement of a residential structure which is solely nonconforming as to use, including the construction of accessory buildings, if such expansion does not increase the number of nonconforming dwelling units and if such expansion is consistent with the development standards established by this title. (Ord. 2529 § 1, 1997; Ord. 2346 § 1(16), 1993; Ord. 2181 § 1, 1988).


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Prior legislation: Ords. 2147 and 2173.