Township of Butler, PA
Butler County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 300-44 Applicability.

The provisions of this article shall apply to buildings, structures, signs, lots and uses which become nonconforming as the result of the application of this chapter to them or from classification or reclassification of the property under this chapter or any subsequent amendment thereto.

§ 300-45 Nonconforming lots of record.

A. 
In any district in which single-family dwellings are permitted, notwithstanding limitations imposed by other provisions of this chapter, a single-family dwelling and customary accessory buildings may be erected on any single lot of record at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter. Such lot must be in separate ownership and not of contiguous frontage with other lots in the same ownership. The exception to this requirement that the lot be in separate ownership is when the contiguous nonconforming lots in single ownership are the same 60 feet in width and all other lots in the same plan of subdivision have similar widths, the nonconforming lots may be sold separately for single-family development under this section.
B. 
This section shall apply even though such lot fails to meet the requirements for area or width, or both, that are generally applicable in the district, provided that yard dimensions and other requirements not involving area or width, or both, of the lot shall conform to the regulations for the district in which such lot is located. Otherwise, variance of area, width, and yard requirements shall be obtained only through action of the Zoning Hearing Board.
C. 
With the exception of lots approved and recorded between April 15, 1974, and October 15, 2007, if two or more lots or combinations of lots and portions of lots with continuous frontage in single ownership are of record at the time of passage or amendment of this chapter, and if all or part of the lots do not meet the requirements for lot width and area as established by this chapter, the lands involved shall be considered to be an undivided parcel for the purposes of this chapter. Before any zoning permit is issued, a consolidation plat must be approved and recorded, in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 252, Subdivision and Land Development, with the exception of lots approved and recorded between April 15, 1974, and, October 15, 2007, that are contiguous to each other, shall not be required to be consolidated. No portion of said parcel shall be used or sold which does not meet lot width and area requirements established by this chapter. Any change in lot lines necessary to meet the minimum requirements of this chapter shall constitute a revision to the recorded plan and shall meet all applicable requirements of Chapter 252, Subdivision and Land Development.

§ 300-46 Nonconforming uses of land.

Where, at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter, a lawful use of land exists that is made no longer permissible under the terms of this chapter as enacted or amended, such use may be sold or otherwise transferred to other owners and may be continued, so long as it remains otherwise lawful, subject to the following provisions:
A. 
No such nonconforming use of land shall be enlarged or increased nor extended to cover a greater land area than that covered at the date of adoption or amendment of this chapter, except when authorized by the Zoning Hearing Board upon the Board's determination that the enlargement, increase or extension is necessitated by the natural growth and expansion of the use, provided that no expansion of a nonconforming use shall take place on land acquired after the nonconformity was created.
B. 
No such nonconforming use of land shall be moved, in whole or in part, to any other portion of the lot or parcel occupied by such use at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter, unless a move is required as a result of natural causes not the fault of the property owner.
[Amended 12-17-2012 by Ord. No. 869]
C. 
If any such nonconforming use of land ceases for any reason for a period of one year and the landowner indicates an intention to abandon the nonconforming use, any subsequent use of such land shall conform to the regulations specified by this chapter for the district in which such land is located.

§ 300-47 Nonconforming uses of structures.

If the lawful use of a structure, or structure and premises in combination, exists at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter that would not be allowed in the district under the terms of this chapter, the lawful use may be sold or otherwise transferred to other owners and may be continued so long as it remains otherwise lawful, subject to the following provisions:
A. 
No existing structure or structure and premises in combination devoted to a use not permitted by this chapter in the district in which it is located shall be enlarged, extended, constructed, reconstructed, moved or structurally altered, except in changing the use of the structure to a use permitted in the district in which it is located, unless the Zoning Hearing Board, after the public hearing conducted in accordance with the procedures specified in § 300-36B of this chapter, shall determine that the enlargement or extension is necessitated by the natural expansion and growth of trade of the nonconforming use, or unless the property has been destroyed by natural causes, including deterioration or blight, in which case it can be rebuilt within the same footprint. Approval of the Zoning Hearing Board shall not be required for routine maintenance, repairs to strengthen or restore the structure to a safe condition or any other cosmetic alteration which does not change the use of the structure or increase the area of the structure devoted to the nonconforming use.
[Amended 12-17-2012 by Ord. No. 869]
B. 
Any nonconforming use may be extended throughout any parts of a building which were manifestly arranged or designed for such use at the time of adoption or amendment of this chapter, but no such use shall be extended to occupy any land outside such building.
C. 
Adaptive reuse. For the purposes of implementing the provisions of this section, the use and occupancy of a legal nonconforming structure or a structure conforming for use on land in part or in whole within a C or M District shall be permitted as follows as an adaptive reuse:
[Added 12-21-2009 by Ord. No. 845[1]]
(1) 
The standards and review procedures enumerated in this section and in § 252-10 of Chapter 252, Subdivision and Land Development, for "minor land developments," as defined, shall be applicable to all such proposals for adaptive reuse and shall be used in lieu of the provisions for land development approval in §§ 252-11 and 252-12 of Chapter 252, Subdivision and Land Development.
(2) 
The proposed use shall be listed as a permitted use in the zoning district.
(3) 
All applicants and/or property owners shall submit five copies of a use narrative and all required information as specified in this section to the Zoning Officer.
(a) 
Copies of a recorded plot plan at a scale no greater than one inch equals 50 feet.
(b) 
The location and dimensions of all existing structures, public utilities, and utility easements, and/or private wells and septic systems.
(c) 
The location of all parking areas, driveways or points of access to any public or private rights-of-way.
(d) 
The location of any and all land classified as a wetland or in a FEMA floodplain.
(e) 
The location and description of all proposed exterior improvements including lighting, parking areas, sidewalks, landscaping and signage.
(f) 
Such other information as deemed necessary by the Zoning Officer or Township Engineer to evaluate the proposed adaptive reuse.
(4) 
Where the proposed adaptive reuse generates the need for the enlargement of an existing septic system or additional taps to the public water service system, that proposed adaptive reuse shall constitute a land development.
[1]
Editor’s Note: This ordinance also redesignated former Subsections C through F as Subsections D through G, respectively.
D. 
If no structural alterations are made, any nonconforming use of a structure, or structure and premises, may be changed to another nonconforming use, provided that the Zoning Hearing Board, either by general rule or by making findings in the specific case, shall find that the proposed use is equally appropriate or more appropriate to the district than the existing nonconforming use. In permitting such change, the Zoning Hearing Board may require appropriate conditions and safeguards in accord with the provisions of this chapter.
E. 
Any structure, or structure and land in combination, in or on which a nonconforming use is superseded by a permitted use shall thereafter conform to the regulations for the district in which such structure is located, and the nonconforming use may not thereafter be resumed.
F. 
When a nonconforming use of a structure, or structure and premises in combination, is discontinued or abandoned for one year, and the landowner indicates an intention to abandon the nonconforming use, the structure, or structure and premises in combination, shall not thereafter be used except in conformance with the regulations of the district in which it is located.
G. 
Where nonconforming use status applies to a structure and premises in combination, removal or destruction of the structure shall eliminate the nonconforming status of the land.

§ 300-48 Nonconforming structures.

Where a lawful structure exists at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this chapter that could not be built under the terms of this chapter by reasons of restrictions on area, lot coverage, height, yards or other characteristics of the structure or its location on the lot, such structure may be sold or otherwise transferred to other owners and may be continued so long as it remains otherwise lawful, subject to the following provisions:
A. 
Decks, porches and additions to nonconforming structures shall be permitted without a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board, provided that the deck, porch or addition does not increase the nonconformity of the nonconforming principal structure and all other area and bulk regulations of the zoning district are met for the deck, porch or addition to the structure.
B. 
No such structure may be enlarged or altered in any way which increases its nonconformity, unless an enlargement or structural alteration makes the building more conforming or is authorized by a variance granted by the Zoning Hearing Board or is required by law.
C. 
Rebuilding of damaged or destroyed structures.
[Amended 12-21-2009 by Ord. No. 845; 12-17-2012 by Ord. No. 869]
(1) 
For parcels larger than 9,000 square feet, a legal conforming structure that has been destroyed or damaged equal to 50% or more of its total value by fire, windstorm, lightning or a similar cause deemed to be not the fault of the owner may be rebuilt in a nonconforming fashion based on the following criteria:
(a) 
The application for a building permit is submitted within 18 months after the date of damage or destruction.
(b) 
Work begins in earnest within six months afterwards.
(c) 
No new nonconformity may be created or increased by any reconstruction.
(d) 
Property shall be properly secured during such time, in such a way to keep out trespassers and to avoid harm to neighboring properties.
(e) 
Rebuilding of a damaged or destroyed nonconformity shall not begin until plans for rebuilding have been presented and approved by the Zoning Officer.
(f) 
Any change of one nonconforming use to another nonconforming use shall comply with the provisions of this section.
(2) 
For parcels 9,000 square feet or less, a legal conforming structure that has been destroyed or damaged equal to 50% or more of its total value by fire, windstorm, lightning, blight, deterioration or a similar cause deemed to be not the fault of the owner may be rebuilt in a nonconforming fashion within the same footprint, based on the following criteria:
(a) 
The application for a building permit is submitted within 18 months after the date of damage or destruction.
(b) 
Work begins in earnest within six months afterwards.
(c) 
No new nonconformity may be created or increased by any reconstruction.
(d) 
Property shall be properly secured during such time, in such a way to keep out trespassers and to avoid harm to neighboring properties.
(e) 
Rebuilding of a damaged or destroyed nonconformity shall not begin until plans for rebuilding have been presented and approved by the Zoning Officer.
(f) 
Any change of one nonconforming use to another nonconforming use shall comply with the provisions of this section.
D. 
In the event that a nonconforming deck, porch, carport or other unenclosed structure or architectural feature which is attached to the principal structure is removed for whatever reason, said nonconforming deck, porch, carport or other unenclosed structure or architectural feature may be reconstructed in its original location without a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board, provided that the reconstruction is completed within 18 months of the date of removal of the nonconforming unenclosed accessory structure or architectural feature.
E. 
Should such structure be moved for any reason, other than reasons resulting from causes not deemed to be the fault of the owner, for any distance whatsoever, it shall thereafter conform to the regulations for the district in which it is located after it is moved.
[Amended 12-17-2012 by Ord. No. 869]
F. 
Nonconforming signs:
(1) 
May be repaired, provided that no structural alterations are made which increase the gross surface area or height of the sign.
(2) 
May not be enlarged or added to, but may be replaced by another nonconforming sign within the same footprint. The interchange of poster panels shall be permitted.
[Amended 12-17-2012 by Ord. No. 869]

§ 300-49 Repairs and maintenance.

Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed to prevent the strengthening or restoring to a safe condition of any building or part thereof declared to be unsafe by any official charged with protecting the public safety, upon order of such official.

§ 300-50 Registration of nonconformities.

A. 
When any nonconforming use, structure or lot exists, it shall be the responsibility of the landowner to provide evidence of the date upon which the nonconforming use, structure or lot was established or acquired. Information regarding the nonconforming use shall be supplied by the landowner on an application form supplied by the Township.
B. 
The Zoning Officer or his authorized representative shall act upon all requests for registration of nonconforming uses, structures and lots within 30 days of receipt of an application for registration and shall maintain a register of all approved applications for registration of nonconforming uses, structures and lots. Failure of the Zoning Officer to act within the required time shall result in deemed denial.

§ 300-51 Historical landmarks.

The provisions of this article shall not apply to any building or structure which is designated by the Planning Commission, with concurrence of the Township Board of Commissioners, to be an "historical landmark."