Nonconforming Uses, aka; Grandfathered Use in Zoning

nonconforming use is generally defined as a land use or structure that was legal when established but does not conform to the standards of the current zoning ordinance. The term“nonconforming use” actually covers several situations, including nonconforming uses, lots and structures.

Pre-existing land uses that do not conform to current zoning are not favored. The ultimate goal of zoning is to achieve uniformity of property uses within each zoning district. At the same time, landowners have made investments in their businesses and buildings, and it would be unfair — not to mention illegal in some states — to require immediate termination or removal. Rather than require the immediate elimination of these preexisting uses, the zoning ordinance will outline a set of conditions for the continued existence of nonconforming uses.

Although state courts apply different interpretations to local zoning codes regarding nonconforming uses, the expansion, enlargement or intensification of a nonconforming use in almost all cases can be regulated or prohibited.

Resumption of a nonconforming use or structure after it has been destroyed may be prohibited in some states. In other states the right to re-establish the nonconforming use exists. Zoning ordinances traditionally have set a specific threshold– for example, a percentage of assessed value — for defining what constitutes destruction, and courts generally defer to the stated threshold. Again, the principle is to allow landowners to continue to reap the benefits of investments made in their properties. If those investments have been destroyed, however, the community may or may not have an obligation to allow a landowner to reinvest in a use prohibited by current zoning.

To prevent nonconforming uses from becoming blighted properties, zoning codes generally do allow for routine maintenance and repair, so long as such activities do not constitute expansion or enlargement.

Once a nonconforming use has been abandoned, its resumption can be prohibited. Most ordinances state a time period, usually six months to a year, that creates a presumption of abandonment if the property is not used for that period. Some states do not allow just a passage of time to establish abandonment. The issue of what constitutes abandonment is one that is generally the subject of much state court case-law, with some courts requiring that an “intent to abandon” be shown before the nonconforming use is considered to be terminated. The intent to abandon may be something like a list of criteria, in the zoning ordinance, from which “abandoned” is established from a preponderance of facts about the particular situation.

Gary D. Taylor,

Iowa State University

6-1-2002 original property layout (397x204) (397x204).jpg
Original layout of Dinwiddie and Conlee properties. Conlee structures are one small double wide trailer home. One two story single car garage. The driveway of both properties exit onto 5th street.

 

cropped-4_7_2012-aerial-shot-after-conlee-redevelopment-e1506199371160.jpg
After illegal property redevelopment. How many changes can you find on the 6 half lots that run parallel with the city alley?

 

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song boat

According to my Dr. I am a pioneer in the physical effects toxic chemicals have in direct contact with skin according to my hero at University hospital in Ia City. I believe if it were not for this Dr. at the University of Iowa Hospitals and clinics the ongoing exposure to the chemicals unlawfully applied to my property would have taken my life. I was suffering to such a severe degree that I did not want to suffer another day. I consider it worse than cancer. I was completely unable to function. It was unbearable to wear clothes. With cancer the patient generally is given a timeline to expect to live. In this unprecedented case, no local Dr. had a clue as to how to treat my condition. There is no other case I can find in which a neighbor was allowed by local law enforcement to continue applying chemicals to the property owned by a neighbor at all. Moral law would keep a reasonable individual from doing anything to property that did not belong to them. In this case this neighbor was allowed and assisted by local law enforcement to trespass on my property. This is a violation of Federal trespassing law. Significant because my city police chief advised me that he did not want to make the trespasser mad and the county attorney advised me that he would decide who gets prosecuted in his county. Of course since trespassing is a criminal offense I could not file a complaint as a civil issue. This is the way local government officials violated my State and Federal rights for the following five years. When it was obvious that no law enforcement was going to make this neighbor comply with any law regarding his new illegal property redevelopment. When his illegal redevelopment was rejected from being recorded on the County plat map, he with full support of the local government officials determined the remedy to his situation was to acquire my property which would then give him enough property to support the oversized non compliant structures he had built with fraudulent building permits issued by the city building administrator. The damages I have suffered are tremendous. I continue to have skin eruption due to the extended exposure of chemicals unlawfully applied to my property. A civil court order citing my right to use my property as I wished was never a factor to detour this neighbors goal. He was determined to acquire my property no matter the cost. He offered me two out of court settlement that were ridiculous, this in itself is an admission of his guilt. I had never needed an attorney prior to this. I had a huge reality check, I beleive the evidence supports the attorney who represented me took this case on behalf of this neighbor. There is no attorney that could be this incompetent and pass the bar exam. I do not care who you are, nobody has the right to do anything to the property of another person. There is not statute of limitation, the law says "never" to be taken without just compensation. These are serious criminal offenses that fall within the guidelines of a Federal prosecutor to bring charges for public corruption.

Categories Before (existing legally nonconforming property) and after (illegally nonconforming property) redevelopment, Code of Ethics, Code of Ordinances - City of Montrose, Lee County, Iowa, Fraud, Illegal building permits issued for illegal redevelopment of legally nonconforming property, Public CorruptionTags , , , Leave a comment

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