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First, nonconforming means that the subject does not conform to current regulations; and therefore, is in violation of those regulations. In order to qualify as legal and still be nonconforming, the situation which does not meet current regulation must have lawfully existed before those regulations were effective. Once qualified, a legal nonconforming (grandfathered) situation exists.
Any building or structure in existence on a lot as of January 1, 2000 is considered legal nonconforming and will not be required to obtain a construction permit unless there is an observable defect or public safety concern.
The zoning district in which the property is located determines what uses are allowed on the parcel. A situation where the current use of that property or building(s) does not conform with the zoning, but has been an ongoing use (without an interruption of 12 months or more) since before the zoning regulations took effect on May 29, 1969, may qualify as a legal nonconforming use.
Staff researches legal nonconforming files located in the department to verify or find information on the use on the property. If we have no previous record or substantiation, the owner is required to provide independent third party documentation that the use is legal nonconforming. A site plan, indicating all uses and structures with setbacks, is also required. The information, when submitted and determined adequate, is retained in files and sorted by Assessor Parcel Number.
A public record must be documented and the burden of proof falls mostly to the applicant. A land use submittal for a Legal Nonconforming determination is required. For more information, access the Information packet and application (pdf).