Chapter 18.48 NONCONFORMING DEVELOPMENT

 

18.48.010              Nonconforming development.

18.48.020              Merger of contiguous nonconforming lots.

18.48.030              Abandonment of nonconforming development.

18.48.040              Alteration of nonconforming development.

18.48.050              Legal nonconforming mobile or manufactured home parks.

 

18.48.010  Nonconforming development

A.  A lawfully created or lawfully established use, structure, lot, or improvement that is nonconforming by use or nonconforming by dimension because of subsequent adoption or amendment of this Title shall be permitted to continue.

 

B.  An undeveloped lot that is nonconforming in area, width, or frontage shall be considered a legal lot of record and shall be buildable without a use variance if it was lawfully created by deed, plat, or subdivision approval and did not merge with a contiguous lot in the same ownership pursuant to this Chapter or pursuant to any previously enacted ordinance provision requiring merger of substandard lots in common ownership.  

 

C.   The following minimum yard dimensions apply to single developed and undeveloped legal nonconforming lots in residential zoning districts:

(Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

Nonconforming Lots – Minimum Front and Rear Yards

 

Lot Depth

 (feet)

Front Yard (feet)

Rear Yard (feet)

 

 

R-3

R-2

R-1

R-3

R-2

R-1

Up to 125

25

25

25

30

30

30

126-150

35

35

35

40

40

40

151-175

40

40

35

50

50

40

176-200

40

40

35

90

70

40

201+

45

45

35

90

90

40

 

 

Nonconforming Lots – Minimum Side Yards

 

Lot width (feet)

at building setback line

Minimum side yard

(feet)

50

10

60

11


70

12

80

13

90

14

100

15

110

18

120

20

130

25

140

25

150 +

30

 

D.  On developed or undeveloped lots in residential zoning districts that are nonconforming in area, accessory structures with a ground floor area of six hundred (600) square feet or less shall be located at least ten (10) feet from a side yard and fifteen (15) feet from a rear yard.

 

E.  Lot coverage.

1.  The maximum building coverage for nonconforming lots less than 20,000 square feet is twenty percent (20%). 

2    The maximum building coverage for nonconforming lots 20,000 square feet or greater is fifteen percent (15%).

(Ord. dated 11-19-13; Ord. dated 6-16-15)

 

18.48.020  Merger of contiguous nonconforming lots

A.  The purpose of this section is to promote consistency with the comprehensive plan by requiring lots to comply to the maximum extent possible with the density requirements and the area, width and frontage requirements of this Title.

 

B.  Two or more contiguous undeveloped lots in the R-1, R-2, or R-3 zoning districts that are nonconforming in area, width, or frontage and were in common ownership on Nov. 19, 2013 or at any time thereafter shall be considered an undivided lot for the purposes of this Title, and no portion of such a lot shall be used in violation of the lot area, lot width, and lot frontage requirements of this Title.

 

C.  This section does not apply to contiguous undeveloped lots with frontage on different streets.

(Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

 18.48.030  Abandonment of nonconforming uses.

A.  A nonconforming use may be considered abandoned if there has been some overt act or failure to act to serve as evidence that the owner neither claims nor retains any interest in  continuing the nonconforming use, and the owner is unable to demonstrate an intent not to abandon the use.

 

B.  A nonconforming use that is abandoned shall not be re-established.

 

C.  If a nonconforming use is halted for one year, the owner is presumed to have abandoned the nonconforming use, unless the owner rebuts that presumption with sufficient evidence of intent not to abandon the use.  Involuntary interruption of a nonconforming use, by fire, natural disaster or other means, does not establish intent to abandon a nonconforming use.

(Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

18.48.040  Alteration of nonconforming development.

A.  Nonconforming use of a building, structure or land may be enlarged, expanded, or intensified with the grant of a special use permit by the zoning board of review.  Intensification shall include, but shall not be limited to, an increase in the land area or square footage of a building or structure devoted to the nonconforming use, an increase in the size of the lot or parcel of lots on which the nonconforming use is located, an increase in hours of operation, or an increase in the capacity of the use.

 

B.  A building or structure that is nonconforming by dimension may be enlarged or added to if the enlargement or addition does not increase the dimensional nonconformity of the building or structure, provided that the enlarged structure conforms to the maximum lot coverage regulation for the zoning district. A building or structure that is nonconforming by dimension may be enlarged or added to in a manner that would increase its dimensional nonconformity only with a special use permit from the zoning board of review.

 

C.  When granting a special use permit for alteration of a nonconforming use or dimensionally nonconforming building or structure under this chapter, the zoning board of review shall require that evidence satisfying the following standards has been entered into the record at the public hearing:

1.         That the granting of the special use permit will not be harmful to the public health, safety or welfare or alter the general character of the surrounding area or impair the intent or purpose of this section or the comprehensive community plan;

2.         That the site can accommodate the proposed level of use.

3.         That satisfactory provisions have been or will be made concerning:

a.   Ingress and egress to the property and to existing or proposed structures with particular reference to automotive and pedestrian safety and convenience, traffic flow and control, and access to the property in case of fire or other emergency.

b.   The adequacy and location of off-street parking and loading areas, trash or garbage storage areas, sanitary facilities, and utilities, with particular attention to the impact of noise, glare, or odor on surrounding property.

c.   The adequacy and location of buffer areas and natural, vegetative or structural screening to minimize the impacts of the nonconforming use, building or structure on surrounding property.

 

D.  When granting a special use permit for alteration of a nonconforming use or dimensionally nonconforming building or structure under this chapter, the zoning board of review shall have the authority to impose any special conditions required to promote the intent and purposes of the comprehensive community plan and this Title. Failure to abide by any special conditions constitutes a zoning violation. Any such special conditions shall be based on competent credible evidence entered into the record of the public hearing. Such conditions shall be included in the board's written decision. Such conditions may include, but are not limited to, provisions for:

1.         Minimizing the adverse impacts of the use or development on surrounding property or uses by limiting the size or intensity of the use or structure or limiting the density or intensity of development or activities;

2.         Minimizing adverse impacts on town services and facilities;

3.         Minimizing adverse effects on the environment; and

4.         Designating the exact location and nature of development.

 

E.  A building or structure containing a nonconforming use or a building or structure that is dimensionally nonconforming may be maintained or repaired except as otherwise provided in this Chapter.

 

F.  A nonconforming use shall not be changed to another nonconforming use, but may be changed to a use that conforms to this Title. If a nonconforming use is changed to a conforming use, it shall not be changed back to a nonconforming use.

 

G.  If a lawful nonconforming use is demolished or removed at the direction of the owner of the property, the use may not be reestablished and any future use of that site or property must conform to the provisions of this Title.

 

H.  The construction of a ramp to provide handicapped individuals with access to a building shall not be considered an alteration or enlargement of a legal nonconforming use. The construction of a ramp on a dimensionally nonconforming building to provide handicapped individuals with access to the building shall not be considered an increase in the building’s dimensional nonconformity.

 

I.  A use established by variance, special exception, or special use permit shall not acquire the rights of this section. 

(Ord. dated 12-19-94(part); ord. dated 5-21-02; ord. dated 8-17-04; ord. dated 7-15-08; ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

18.48.050  Legal nonconforming mobile or manufactured home parks.

A.  In legal nonconforming mobile or manufactured home parks, voluntary removal of a mobile or manufactured home in order to replace it with a new mobile or manufactured home shall not be considered abandonment of a legal nonconforming use, notwithstanding any other provision of this Title.

 

B.  In legal nonconforming mobile or manufactured home parks, placement of a new mobile or manufactured home on an existing vacant homesite shall not be considered an intensification of a legal nonconforming use that requires a special use permit, notwithstanding any other provision of this Title.

(Ord. dated 11-19-13)

 

REFERENCES

R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 45-24-38, 45-24-39, 45-24-40, 31-44-15.

 

 

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