Borough of Rosslyn Farms, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents

§ 190-1600 Applicability.

This Article shall apply to all nonconforming uses, structures, and lots as defined by this Ordinance. Nothing contained herein shall require any change in the overall layout, plans, construction, size or designated use of any development, building, structure or part thereof for which official approval and required permits have been granted prior to the effective date of this Ordinance or any amendment thereto.

§ 190-1601 Nonconforming uses.

These regulations shall apply to any use of a structure or lot in any Zoning District which is a nonconforming use as defined by this Ordinance. Whenever the boundaries of a Zoning District shall be changed so as to transfer an area from one Zoning District to another of a different classification, these regulations shall also apply to any uses which thereby become nonconforming.
1601.1 
Continuation by Same Owner:
Where, at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Ordinance, a lawful use of a lot or structure exists that is made no longer permissible under the terms of this Ordinance as enacted or amended, such use may be continued as long as it remains otherwise lawful in accordance with the provisions of this Article and all other applicable regulations.
1601.2 
Transfer and Continuation By New Owner
Where, at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Ordinance, a lawful use of a lot or structure exists that is made no longer permissible under the terms of this Ordinance as enacted or amended, such use may be sold or otherwise transferred to a new owner and may be continued by the new owner, as long as it remains otherwise lawful in accordance with the provisions of this Article and all other applicable regulations.
1601.3 
Unlawful Use of Land or Buildings:
Where the use of a lot or structure existing at the time of adoption of the Ordinance was not legal, the use shall remain illegal and unlawful subject to all of the provisions and penalties of this Ordinance even if located in a Zoning District where such use is permitted under the terms of this Ordinance, unless such use meets all of the area and bulk regulations, off-street parking regulations and all other regulations applicable to that use for the Zoning District in which it is located.
1601.4 
Enlargement or Expansion:
In any Zoning District, no nonconforming use of a lot or structure for other than residential purposes shall be enlarged or increased or extended to occupy an area of land more than twenty-five percent (25%) greater than was occupied at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Ordinance which made the use nonconforming, unless the Zoning Hearing Board, after public hearing, shall interpret that the enlargement or extension is necessitated by the natural expansion and growth of trade of the nonconforming use. Any such enlargement or expansion shall conform to the area, height and yard requirements of the Zoning District in which it is located.
Any residential use which is a nonconforming use in any Zoning District shall be permitted to be expanded without approval by the Zoning Hearing Board, provided the expansion complies with all applicable area and bulk regulations of the Zoning District in which it is located and the number of dwelling units is not increased.
No nonconforming use shall be moved in whole or in part to any other portion of the lot occupied by such use at the effective date of adoption or amendment of this Ordinance.
Any nonconforming use may be extended throughout any part of a structure which was designed for such use at the time the use became nonconforming. A nonconforming use shall not be extended to occupy any lot or portion of a lot that was acquired after the use became nonconforming.
1601.5 
Change of Use:
A nonconforming use shall not be changed to any use other than a conforming use, except as authorized by the Zoning Hearing Board as a use by special exception, in accordance with the following express standards and criteria:
a. 
The new nonconforming use shall be equal to or better than the existing nonconforming use. In determining whether the new use is equal to or better than the existing nonconforming use, the Zoning Hearing Board shall make the following analysis:
1. 
Identify the most restrictive Zoning District in which the existing nonconforming use is authorized as a permitted use, a conditional use or a use by special exception.
2. 
Determine whether the new nonconforming use is authorized as a permitted use, a conditional use or a use by special exception in the same Zoning District as the existing nonconforming use or in a more restrictive Zoning District.
3. 
If the new nonconforming use is not in the same Zoning District or a more restrictive Zoning District as the existing nonconforming use, the new use shall be judged to be not equal to or better than the existing nonconforming use.
4. 
If the new nonconforming use is a conditional use or a use by special exception in the same Zoning District as the existing nonconforming use, then the applicable criteria of § 190-1303 of this Ordinance shall be applied in reviewing the new use.
b. 
In addition, in determining whether the new nonconforming use is equal to or better than the existing nonconforming use, the Board shall consider the following:
1. 
The number of employees, if any, proposed in the new use compared with the existing use.
2. 
The type of activities, products, equipment and processes and magnitude of walk-in trade, if any, in the new use compared with the existing use.
3. 
The comparative impact on the environment of the new use.
4. 
The ability of the new use to comply with the performance standards of § 190-1401 as compared with the existing use.
c. 
The new use shall be in keeping with the character of the neighborhood in which it is located.
d. 
The new use shall conform to the off-street parking requirements of Article XI of this Ordinance for the new use.
e. 
The new use shall be subject to the area and bulk regulations of the Zoning District in which the new use is located.
f. 
The new use shall be subject to the Buffer Area requirements of § 190-1402 of this Ordinance, based on the requirements for the use in the most restrictive Zoning District in which the use is an authorized use.
g. 
The new use shall be subject to any applicable express standards and criteria for the use, if the use is authorized as a conditional use or use by special exception in the most restrictive Zoning District where such use is authorized.
h. 
When a nonconforming use is changed to a conforming use, the use thereafter shall not be changed to a nonconforming use.
i. 
Where a nonconforming use exists on a lot, a conforming use shall not be established on the same lot unless the nonconforming use is discontinued.
1601.6 
Abandonment:
When a nonconforming use of a structure and/or lot is discontinued or abandoned for twelve (12) consecutive months, the structure and/or lot shall not thereafter be used, except in conformance with the regulations of the Zoning District in which it is located, unless the owner can provide evidence that there was no intention to abandon the nonconforming use, including, but not limited to, serious illness of the owner which interrupted the continuity of the nonconforming use, failed attempts to diligently market the property for the continuation of the nonconforming use, or inability to transfer the property for the continuation of the nonconforming use for reasons outside the control of the owner such as required permits, licenses or other similar requirements.
1601.7 
Damage or Destruction:
In the event that damage or destruction of a structure in which a nonconforming use is conducted involves fifty percent (50%) or less of the gross floor area of the structure, repairs or reconstruction may be undertaken, provided that such restoration is diligently and visibly pursued under a valid building permit within eighteen (18) months of the date of such damage or destruction.
In the event that a structure in which a non-conforming use is conducted is damaged or destroyed by fire or other means to an extent of more than fifty percent (50%) of the gross floor area of the structure, repairs or reconstruction may be authorized as a use by special exception by the Zoning Hearing Board in accordance with the following express standards and criteria:
a. 
Off-street parking shall be provided in accordance with the requirements of Article XI of this Ordinance for the use.
b. 
The repair or reconstruction shall conform to the requirements of the Borough Building Code and Fire Code and to all applicable requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
c. 
The reconstruction shall comply with all applicable regulations of the Zoning District, other than use, unless the structure is non-conforming and/or a variance is granted to the applicable regulations upon demonstration of physical hardship.
d. 
Any proposed change of use shall be further subject to § 1601.5 of this Ordinance.
e. 
The repair or reconstruction shall comply with all applicable Buffer Area requirements of § 190-1402 of this Ordinance.
f. 
If the non-conforming use is governed by any express standards and criteria in § 190-1303 of this Ordinance for conditional uses or uses by special exception, the repair or reconstruction shall comply with all applicable express standards and criteria, unless the Zoning Hearing Board grants a variance to the applicable regulations upon demonstration of physical hardship.
g. 
Approval of the repair or reconstruction of the structure housing the non-conforming use shall be conditioned upon the repair or reconstruction being diligently and visibly pursued under a valid building permit within eighteen (18) months of the date of the decision by the Zoning Hearing Board, or if the Board's decision is appealed, within eighteen (18) months of the final adjudication.

§ 190-1602 Nonconforming structures.

These regulations shall apply to all nonconforming structures as defined by this Ordinance in all Zoning Districts.
1602.1 
Structural Alteration:
No such structure may be enlarged or structurally altered in a way which increases its nonconformity, except when the Zoning Hearing Board, after public hearing, may determine undue hardship and may authorize a reasonable modification of such structure.
1602.2 
Damage or Destruction
Any nonconforming structure which has been partially or completely damaged or destroyed by fire or other means may be rebuilt or repaired on its existing foundation even though such foundation may violate the setback requirements for the Zoning District in which the structure is located, provided that the repair or reconstruction is diligently and visibly pursued under a valid building permit within eighteen (18) months of the date that the original structure was damaged or destroyed.
1602.3 
Moving:
Should a nonconforming structure be moved for any reason for any distance whatever, it shall thereafter conform to the requirements of the Zoning District in which it is located.
1602.4 
Signs:
Nonconforming signs may be repaired or reconstructed, provided that no structural alterations are made which increase the gross surface area of the sign; however, nonconforming signs which are damaged or destroyed to an extent of more than fifty percent (50%) of the area of the structure at the time of destruction shall not be reconstructed except in conformity with the provisions of this Ordinance. Nonconforming signs which are damaged or destroyed to an extent of fifty percent (50%) or less of the area of the structure may be repaired or reconstructed, provided that such restoration is completed within thirty (30) days of the damage or destruction.
Nonconforming signs shall not be enlarged, added to or replaced by another nonconforming sign, use or structure, except that the interchange of advertising panels shall be permitted.
1602.5 
Repair and Maintenance:
Nothing in this Ordinance shall be deemed to prevent the strengthening or restoring to a safe condition of any structure or part thereof declared to be unsafe by the Borough Building Inspector or any other official charged with protecting the safety of the public.

§ 190-1603 Nonconforming lots.

1603.1 
Lot Area and Lot Width:
In the "S" Conservancy and "R" Residential Zoning Districts, any lot of record existing at the effective date of this Ordinance may be used for the erection of a single family dwelling or an accessory structure to such dwelling, without a lot area or lot width variance, even though its lot area and width are less than the minimum required by this Ordinance; however, such dwelling shall comply with the front, rear and side yards, height and lot coverage standards of the Zoning District wherein it is located.
1603.2 
Front Yard Setback:
Where structures exist on adjacent nonconforming lots of record which have front yards less than the minimum depth required, the minimum front yard for an adjacent undeveloped nonconforming lot of record shall be the average depth of the nonconforming front yards on the immediately adjacent to developed nonconforming lots within two hundred (200) feet on either side of the undeveloped lot.

§ 190-1604 Registration of nonconformity.

The owner of a nonconforming use shall make an application for registration of the nonconforming use and upon presentation of documentation acceptable to the Zoning Officer that the use was lawfully in existence prior to the effective date of this Ordinance or any amendment which created the nonconformity, the Zoning Officer shall register the same on a map and by Allegheny County Tax Assessor's Block and Lot Number as a legal nonconforming use.
In the course of administering this Ordinance and reviewing applications for Zoning Certificates or variances, the Zoning Officer shall register all nonconforming structures and nonconforming lots as they become known through the application process.