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Non-Conforming Use

An application to register a nonconforming use must contain the following required information. It shall then be submitted to the Zoning Division of the Office of Planning and Zoning for processing.  

Applications and Instructions
Any questions regarding this process can be directed to (410) 222-7437.
Time to Process Applications
After receipt of an application, the Office of Planning and Zoning shall determine whether the use may be registered as a nonconforming use and classify the use based on the zoning district in which the use is allowed. If the use is specified in more than one zoning district, the Office of Planning and Zoning shall classify the use based on what it considers to be the most appropriate district. The Office shall notify the applicant in writing of its determinations.
Posting of Signs
It is the responsibility of the applicant to post and maintain the required sign(s) on the property for which a nonconforming use is being requested.  The sign(s) is proved to the applicant by the Zoning Division of Office of Planning and Zoning and must be posted on the property a minimum of fourteen (14) consecutive days.  Signs are to be posted no more than 10 feet from the boundary of the property where it abuts a public street or a body of water. 
Termination of Non-Conforming Uses
A nonconforming use terminates when the use ceases operation for 12 consecutive months or when the scope of the use is so significantly reduced during the 12-month period as to change its nature or character. In calculating the cessation of use, the Planning and Zoning Officer may not include periods of time of not more than two years in which the use ceased because of government action, fire, or natural catastrophe, provided that the cessation was not caused by the property owner.
The Planning and Zoning Officer may extend the 12-month period set forth above to a maximum of 18 months upon a written application for extension received before the termination date. The application shall demonstrate unusual or exceptional circumstances beyond the control of the property owner that prevented continuance of the nonconforming use. The Planning and Zoning Officer’s decision on the application shall be in writing and shall specify the reason for the decision.
Yearly Questionnaire
The County will NOT be sending questionnaires regarding the continuous use of the nonconforming property. Notify the OPZ when the property is transferred to a new owner or when the use terminates. Change of use requests are through the Planning and Zoning Officer. If the use is questioned be prepared to provide evidence of the use for the last three (3) years.
Any person aggrieved by a nonconforming administrative decision may appeal the decision to the County Board of Appeals. An appeal must be filed in writing with the Board of Appeals within thirty (30) days of the date of the decision. Persons wishing to file appeals should contact the Board of Appeals at (410) 222-1119.
Appeals from a decision of the County Board of Appeals are made to the Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County.