A 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.
Iowa State University
After being told by Mayor Dinwiddie that this was a private issue I went to City Hall. I got copies of the building permits on file for Mark Conlees new garage and his new home. This one for his new home immediately caught my attention.
29.5 VIOLATION OF INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS — PENALTY.
- A person, who acts alone, or who conspires with another person
or persons, to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate or interfere
with any citizen in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or
privilege secured to that person by the constitution or laws of the
state of Iowa or by the constitution or laws of the United States,
and assembles with one or more persons for the purpose of teaching or
being instructed in any technique or means capable of causing
property damage, bodily injury or death when the person or persons
intend to employ those techniques or means in furtherance of the
conspiracy, is on conviction, guilty of a class “D” felony.
A person intimidates or interferes with another person if the act
of the person results in any of the following:
a. Physical injury to the other person.
b. Physical damage to or destruction of the other person’s
c. Communication in a manner, or action in a manner, intended
to result in either of the following:
(1) To place the other person in fear of physical contact which
will be injurious, insulting, or offensive, coupled with the apparent
ability to execute the act.
(2) To place the other person in fear of harm to the other
person’s property, or harm to the person or property of a third
- This section does not make unlawful the teaching of any
technique in self-defense.
- This section does not make unlawful any activity of any of the
following officials or persons:
a. Law enforcement officials of this or any other
jurisdiction while engaged in the lawful performance of their
b. Federal officials required to carry firearms while engaged
in the lawful performance of their official duties.
c. Members of the armed forces of the United States or the
national guard while engaged in the lawful performance of their
d. Any conservation commission, law enforcement agency, or
any agency licensed to provide security services, or any hunting
club, gun club, shooting range, or other organization or entity whose
primary purpose is to teach the safe handling or use of firearms,
archery equipment, or other weapons or techniques employed in
connection with lawful sporting or other lawful activity.
via Iowa Code 729.
This is the damage to my foundation due to the illegal removal of the existing berm by Mark Conlee. I requested multiple times for the building official to come to the location and address my concerns. Conlee’s will claim that the damage was caused by storm water runoff coming from the street. However it has already been established that Boatner hand dug the ditches bordering her property upon purchase in 1995. Prior to repairing all damage caused by the lack of maintenance by the city of many years. This photo is from the basement of Boatner’s home. Shot toward the right front corner, The front of the house facing 5th St is dry, easy to distinguish by the light color. The left side of this photo is the side of the home that faces Conlee’s property. Easy to distinguish this soil is saturated by storm water caused by illegal removal of existing berm by Mark Conlee along with the regrading of his entire lot due to him changing the frontage ¹ of his new home to be toward the alley. He regraded the entire lot downward to drain onto Boatner’s property.
¹Conlee committed perjury in civil court Conlee vs Boatner Eqeq
This photo shows the soil saturated and the foundation washed out, this is the side of the house that faces Conlee’s property. According to witnesses Tonya Adkins and Stuart Westermeyer both former owners testified that the property never received storm water runoff from the Conlee property. When there was a heavy rainfall because of the berm the front yard of the Conlee property became a pond,the berm held all the water from running onto Boatner’s property. Witnesses were prepared to testify to all this and I have written affidavits stating this as true. Attorney Steve Swan failed to submit affidavits and to question witnesses on my behalf in a civil suit Conlee filed against me for loss of enjoyment to his property. Yes that is a tell tale sign of narcissistic personality disorder. I will post all the court records as the events happened.
I contacted Mayor Dinwiddie, building official Mark Holland and every other council member on this day. I requested each of them come to the location and see with their own eyes the flooding of my property caused by Mark Conlee’s illegal property redevelopment. Only one of the council members had the professional courtesy to answer my request, Cathy Roberts Farnsworth saw the adverse effects my property was having. Building official Mark Holland had the duty to act as the authority. he is the only authorized authority to represent the State building codes for the City of Montrose, Ia. He had been on notice since fall 2004 and had not preformed his duty on my behalf. That is to untimely to consider he is not conspiring with Mark Holland to violate my Federal Right to enjoy and equal protection of the law under color of law.
Here you can see it standing it the level spot that we had the pool set up. This yard has never held water in the past. I may have more knowledge than most about these issues but building administrator Holland has a manual that states the standard procedure required for redeveloping non conforming properties, his lack of concern was not due to ignorance, it was due to conspiracy intent to deprive me of my rights under color of law. Witnesses will testify that he questioned them about site layout when they were issued a building permit for their new home. He refused to answer my concerns and continued to issue Mark Conlee two more building permits. It is noted on public record that Holland did drive by, that will be posted by the date of the meeting.