Township of Lower Gwynedd, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
STATUTORY REFERENCES
General provisions and definitions — See 53 P.S. § 10101 et seq.
GENERAL REFERENCES
Height of buildings; exception — See Ch. 1250, Section 1250.04(15).
Signs — See Ch. 1292.
Off-street parking and loading — See Ch. 1294.
Nonconforming uses — See Ch. 1296.
General provisions and definitions — See Ch. 1250, Section 1250.04.

§ 1296.01 Continuance of nonconforming land.

[Ord. 223. Passed 12-10-198]
Any land, the existing lawful use of which, at the time an applicable ordinance becomes effective, does not conform with the regulations of the district in which it is located shall have such use considered as a nonconforming use, which use may continue on such land subject to all pertinent regulations covering nonconforming uses.

§ 1296.02 Continuance of nonconforming buildings.

[Ord. 223. Passed 12-10-1985]
Any lawful building, or the lawful use of any building existing at the time an applicable ordinance or amendment thereto becomes effective, that does not conform to use, height, location, size or bulk regulations of the district in which it is located shall be considered a nonconforming building or use and may continue in its present location, subject to all pertinent regulations covering nonconforming uses.

§ 1296.03 Change of use by special exception.

[Ord. 223. Passed 12-10-1985]
A nonconforming building or use shall be considered as such unless and until it complies with the regulations of the district in which it is located. By special exception, a nonconforming use of a building or premises may be changed to a use of the same or a more restrictive zoning classification.

§ 1296.04 Discontinuance of uses; resumption.

[Ord. 223. Passed 12-10-1985]
A nonconforming use, when discontinued, may be resumed at any time within six months from such discontinuance, but not thereafter. The resumption may be of the same or similar type of use but shall not be resumed as a nonconforming use of a less restrictive zoning classification. The discontinuance for a period in excess of six months shall raise the presumption of abandonment, subject to rebuttal by the property owner, by clear and convincing evidence.

§ 1296.05 Authority of Zoning Hearing Board.

[Ord. 223. Passed 12-10-1985]
The Zoning Hearing Board shall have the discretion to determine what resumption or change of a nonconforming use is of the same class of use and permissible.

§ 1296.06 Expansion of uses; reduction of size of lot on which valid nonconforming use located.

[Ord. 257. Passed 6-21-1988; Ord. 281. Passed 11-20-1990]
(a) 
By special exception, a lawful nonconforming use of a portion of a building may be expanded within that building, provided that such expansion does not require any structural alterations and provided that the expansion does not exceed 25% of the gross square footage of the floor area devoted to the nonconforming use when such use became nonconforming.
(b) 
By special exception, a nonconforming use of a building or lot, which was legal at the time such use became nonconforming, may be expanded so long as that expansion does not exceed either 25% of the gross square footage of the floor area or 25% of the gross lot coverage area devoted to the nonconforming use on the date when such nonconforming use first became nonconforming. In addition, any such expansion shall conform to the area, height, setback, width, yard and coverage regulations of the district in which the nonconforming use is located.
(c) 
A building or structure which is nonconforming as to the side or rear yard setback requirement in this Zoning Code may be extended (even though such extension would also be nonconforming as to the pertinent setback requirement), provided that the extension does not involve any further incursion into the setback being violated, does not violate any other setback requirement, is for a single-family residential use and does not increase the gross size of the building by more than 25%.
(d) 
By conditional use, a lot on which a valid nonconforming use is located may be reduced in size, provided the newly created smaller, parcel does not create any additional nonconformities with regard to the dimensional requirements of the Zoning Ordinance for the district in which the lot is located, and further provided that the owner of the nonconforming parcel specifically agrees that the reduction in lot size shall be in lieu of any expansion right of the nonconforming use (if any) which the owner would have otherwise been entitled to under this Zoning Ordinance or Pennsylvania common law. Existing nonconforming signage may be maintained.
[Added 12-3-2007 by Ord. No. 452]

§ 1296.07 Buildings containing nonconforming uses which are destroyed by fire or other casualty.

[Ord. 223. Passed 12-10-1985; Ord. 364. Passed 7-26-1999]
If a building containing a nonconforming use is damaged or destroyed by fire, explosion, accident or other casualty, it may be reconstructed and used for the same nonconforming use, provided that the reconstructed building shall not exceed in height, area or volume the building destroyed nor shall the reconstructed building permit a greater intensity of nonconforming use than existed before the damage or destruction. If the building reconstruction is not started within one year from the date of damage or destruction and carried on without interruption, there shall be a presumption of abandonment of the nonconforming use, subject to rebuttal by the property owner using clear and convincing evidence.

§ 1296.08 Condemned buildings.

[Ord. 223. Passed 12-10-1985]
A nonconforming building which has been legally condemned shall not be rebuilt or used, except in accordance with this Zoning Code.

§ 1296.09 Zoning permits.

[Ord. 223. Passed 12-10-1985]
Zoning permits shall be required for nonconforming uses existing at the time of passage of Ordinance 1A, passed August 4, 1941, and shall be issued by the Township Code Official without charge, stating that the use is nonconforming. The Code Official shall notify an occupant of property being used as a nonconforming use, who shall apply for a zoning permit within 30 days after receipt of such notice.