Except as otherwise provided in this article, the lawful use of land or buildings existing at the date of the adoption of this chapter are hereby defined nonconforming uses and may be continued although such use or building does not conform to the regulations specified by this chapter for the zone in which such land or building is located.
No nonconforming building shall be enlarged, extended or increased unless such enlargement would tend to reduce the degree of nonconformance.
A nonconforming land use shall be considered abandoned when there occurs a cessation of any nonconforming use by the tenant or owner and they have received written notification of abandonment from the Code Enforcement Officer by certified mail. Exceptions:
The owner or tenant reinstates the use and notifies the Building and Zoning Department in writing of the reinstatement within six months from the date of the Code Enforcement Officer's notification of abandonment;
Or the owner or tenant provides, within six months from the date of the Code Enforcement Officer's notification, written verification to the Building and Zoning Department that discontinuation had not occurred.
In addition, a nonconforming land use shall be considered abandoned when there occurs a cessation for a total of 15 months within any two-year period, and the use shall not recommence unless written verification to the contrary has been received by the Building and Zoning Department from the tenant or owner.
When a nonconforming land use has been discontinued or abandoned, such use shall not thereafter be reestablished and future use shall be in conformance with the provisions of this chapter.
Except for a dwelling which may be replaced in whole or in part, if a nonconforming building, structure or land use activity, or part thereof, has been partially or totally destroyed or damaged by any cause it may be rebuilt or restored as a nonconforming building, structure or land use only if reconstructed or restored in compliance with the New York State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code, with the same, or an improved, general site layout as that of the original structure. Zoning Board of Appeals approval of reconstruction or restoration plans shall be required and the Board may impose conditions on such approval if such conditions would improve an otherwise undesirable situation and bring the nonconforming use or activity more into conformity with the regulations for the district in which it is located. Application for Zoning Board of Appeals approval for reconstruction or restoration shall be made within 12 months from the date of damage or destruction and work commenced within six months and completed within 18 months from the date of Board approval. Failure to meet these time limits shall terminate the nonconforming use, except that a six-month time extension to any of the time limits may be granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the strengthening or restoring to a safe condition any structure or part thereof which has been declared unsafe by the Code Enforcement Officer.
No nonconforming use shall, if once changed into a conforming use, be changed back again to a nonconforming use.
Unless a use variance has been granted by the Board of Appeals, a nonconforming use shall not be reconstructed or structurally altered to an extent which would enlarge or expand its square footage and increase gross density greater than was occupied at the time this chapter, or any amendment hereto, becomes effective.
Whenever the boundaries of a district shall be changed so as to transfer an area from one zoning district to another of a different classification, the foregoing provisions shall also apply to any nonconforming uses existing therein or created thereby.
Except as may be otherwise stated in this Article IV, nothing herein contained shall require any changes in plans, construction or designated use of a building structure or sign for which a permit has been duly issued and the construction of which shall have been diligently prosecuted within three months of the date of such permit, and the ground story framework of which, including the second tier of beams, shall have been completed within six months of the date of the permit.