For the purpose of this Part 4, a nonconforming use or structure shall be deemed a building, structure, lot or premises, legally devoted or occupied at the effective date of this Part 4, by or for a use that does not conform to the provisions of this Part 4 or the amendments thereto for the district in which located.
A nonconforming use existing at the time this Part 4 takes effect may be continued, except that, if it is voluntarily discontinued for one year or more, it shall then be deemed abandoned and any further use must be in conformity with the uses permitted in such district and with the current setback requirements.
Nonresidential buildings larger than 2,000 square feet in first floor area or an occupied area larger than 10,000 square feet which were constructed or in use prior to the effective date of this Part 4 and used for a nonconforming or permitted use may be used for a new or similar nonconforming use following site plan review.
Agricultural uses, including residences and outbuildings, existing at the time of passage of this Part 4 are considered conforming uses in all zoning districts, except for animal and poultry husbandry in the R-1 District on lots less than two acres in size and concentrated animal feeding operations.
Permits issued under authority of previous County zoning codes remain valid and do not require renewal except as required by the previous code. This includes permits for buildings, various land uses, occupancy and special permits or conditional uses, variances or other permits approved through the Board of Appeals cases. Any conditional use or special permit approved by the Board of Appeals under previous zoning codes remains valid regardless of the zoning district in which it is now located. This includes uses which were approved by the Board and were awaiting final permit issuance at the effective date of this Part 4. Any use for which a permit application has been duly filed and is pending approval and could be approved under the existing zoning regulations may be completed and put to such use, provided it is done within one year after this Part 4 takes effect.
Destroyed buildings. Any building or structure existing as a nonconforming use or which does meet current setbacks at the time this Part 4 takes effect, which is destroyed by fire or the elements, may be reconstructed or restored, provided that the same is done within two years of said destruction and provided that the use and size are not altered except as otherwise permitted by this Part 4 or another County regulation. Any reconstructed or restored building is subject to the water and sewer requirements of COMAR 26.04.03 through 26.04.04 which is administered by the state.
A building or parcel of land devoted to a nonconforming use at the time this Part 4 takes effect may not be altered or enlarged so as to extend such nonconforming building or use more than 50% in area. Enlargement is cumulative over time.
Any alteration or enlargement to extend such a nonconforming use more than 50% in area will be referred to the Board of Appeals as a special exception to this Part 4.
In the R-1, R-2, GU, A or C Districts, any proposed change in use in any nonconforming structure or site will require Board of Appeals approval as a special exception at the County's discretion.
Existing dwelling units in the B-1, B-2 and I Districts are considered conforming uses.