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Thread: Nonconforming uses?

  1. #1
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    Nonconforming uses?

    If a nonconforming use has not been in use for 2 years does it revert back to the current zoning, I know it can't be that easy. Any one dealt with this scenario?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Our regs say 1 year.

    I have an issue like that right now. A nursery business been there forever. Owners died in a plane crash. It took 1 1/2 years to get someone that would take over the mess. All the pipes broke, dead plants everywhere. Huge mold issue.
    Well new owner comes in. Greenhouse business requires a Conditional Use Permit to bring it into compliance. We do not expect any issues with the neighbors as that was the original use. I wish they all were that easy.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Ours say 1-year as well, though I have seen them as short as 6-months.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  4. #4
    On the 366th day here. Important to verify that the use ceased --sometimes that can be difficult. We typically use utility shut-offs as verification, but the private utilities can be jerks about providing that stuff.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Our state regs say you can't extinguish the use without proving "abandonment" which is hard to do. This seems fair to me. I'm not a fan of forcing someone to forever close up shop because they either can't find a suitable tenant or are going through personal or financial problems for a year (which is not a long time).

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop View post
    Our state regs say you can't extinguish the use without proving "abandonment" which is hard to do.
    Case law in the state of Michigan has used this threshold, too.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian MD Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Seabishop View post
    Our state regs say you can't extinguish the use without proving "abandonment" which is hard to do. This seems fair to me. I'm not a fan of forcing someone to forever close up shop because they either can't find a suitable tenant or are going through personal or financial problems for a year (which is not a long time).
    There is case law in Maryland that says if you are actively trying to find a tenant that is not cessation of the non-conforming activity. I have also seen many BZA's and even judges be very lenient and determine that because there was a some old stuff being "stored" in the building that the use had not been abandoned.
    He's a planner, he's a dreamer, he's a sordid little schemer,
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The first resource is th elocal zoning ordinance. That is, however, often preempted by state laws which may provide greater leeway for someone with a non-conforming use.
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  9. #9
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    It's one year 'round these parts. However, there are arguments to be made about when a use actually stopped and what constitutes "abandonment."

  10. #10
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Around here it can depend upon what municipality you're in. Typically, you could begin the process of revoking the occupancy permit for a nonconforming use after one year of vacancy. Although, I've seen them go much longer.

  11. #11
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    Nonconforming use

    For years the county we live in has let this building across the street have industrial use. We have had to fight the county without lawyers. We have actually had to write what zoning we have in place now. Anyway in this county they say this building can do what every he wants. Lining the streets with semis. There has been change in use after change in use, heavy investment into the building, added structures. We cannot get this county to do anything. This building has 16 parking spaces. He needs 46 just to park the employees cars. No handicap, no loading or unloading, or no place to park the customers. He divided what was a 1 use building into a 6 use building. Can anyone tell me when does this nonconforming stuff end?

  12. #12
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mike & Shari View post
    .... Can anyone tell me when does this nonconforming stuff end?
    It all depends. Review your county's nonconforming uses ordinance. Generally speaking, the enlargement and expansion of a nonconforming use is prohibited. That's been my experience. Could be different in your county.

  13. #13
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    Nonconforming use

    The latest is my lawyer talked to the county attorney and he more or less stated the county is not gong to help us and have not helped us because they do not like us. We knew this for years. They say we get to envolved and to many emails. This is a main enterance to 350 homes. Our books clearly say at the least they could regulate this building. But after this building changed for one large industrial use and then closed and the guy put in 4 comercial business then build onto the back added even 2 more business's and now he want to go back to industrial. I guess a lawsuit is all that going to work?

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