Island Gazette

Planning Commission To Consider Amending Ordinance For Non-Conforming Structures

By Willard H. Killough III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - On May 10, 2007, the Carolina Beach Planning and Zoning Commission will consider an amendment to the Town's zoning ordinance governing reconstruction and repair of non-conforming structures that no longer meet current zoning requirements. According to Town Senior Planner Ed Parvin, the intent of having non-conforming language is to regulate and limit the continued existence of lots, uses of land and structures established prior to the effective date of the zoning ordinance (or any amendment subsequent thereto) that do not conform to the current ordinance or which may be made nonconforming as a result of future amendments to the town’s ordinance.
Many condos in Town are considered non-conforming since zoning regulations that permitted them in the 1980's have since changed; including a reduction in the number of units permitted.
Parvin explained, "It is the intent of the ordinance to permit these non–conformities to continue until they are removed, but not to encourage their survival. It is further the intent of this Ordinance that non–conformities shall not be enlarged upon, expanded or extended, nor be used as grounds for adding other structures or uses prohibited elsewhere in the same zoning district." He explained, "Many nonconformities may continue, but the provisions of a Town’s non conforming ordinance language are designed to curtail substantial investment in nonconformities and to bring about eventual elimination and/or lessen their impact upon surrounding conforming uses in order to preserve the integrity of the area in which it is located and the intent of this ordinance."
The Planning and Zoning Commission discussed this item at its March 2007 regularly scheduled meeting with the conclusion to table a hearing... in order to strike language on the 50% rule for repairs, clarify the density language within the document, and allow multiple 365-day extensions, and to recommend to council that they table their hearing as well.
According to Parvin the following language is consistent with the recommendations of the commission:
Sec. 18.4. Reconstruction, maintenance and renovation of non-conforming situations  prohibited.
(a)   Except for signs which are regulated by Article 11 of the Carolina Beach Zoning Ordinance, nonconforming uses created by a change in regulations may continue to exist and shall be subject to all other provisions of Article 18 of this ordinance., and structures with such nonconforming uses may be reconstructed if demolished or destroyed for any developments in process (or for which a vested right has been established).
(b) Any building or structure for which any restoration, reconstruction, or repair is proposed regardless of the reason shall be entitled to do so using the same density with which the building or structure was originally constructed. Any such restoration, reconstruction, or repair shall be subject to the following requirements:
1. The construction shall be based upon and be substantially similar to the prior structure with no increase in  nonconforming uses or structures.
2. The footprint of the foundation shall not be increased.
3. The number of living units or non-residential spaces shall not  be increased and no additional nonconformities shall be created. 
4. Any such work shall comply with the electrical, plumbing, heating/air-conditioning and building code in effect at the time of the construction work.  Said restoration, reconstruction, or repair shall meet all other regulations as specified by the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management, the Federal Emergency Management Act, the Town of Carolina Beach Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance or any other state, or federal regulation that would supersede the provisions of this Article.
5. Reconstruction of a structure may cause new height nonconformities in order to meet all state and federal flood regulations.  In this scenario the structure may exceed height regulations by no more than what is required to meet flood requirements. If damage exceeds the above stated fifty (50) percent then current building code and storm water requirements shall also be met. Any building or structure requiring full demolition, including the foundation, shall also be required to meet current flood and yard setback
requirements. If required by a licensed engineer, additional bracing and supports may be added to existing foundations and existing foundations may be extended to meet flood requirements, however for these purposes, removal and/or replacement of any portion of the foundation shall be considered full demolition.
(c)  Reconstruction of a nonconforming building, structure or use under the     provisions of section 18.4 (b) shall be subject to the following restrictions:
1. A letter of intention to reconstruct with certification of the original building or footprint is required to be delivered to the building inspector and town planning director within one hundred and eighty (180) days from the date the building was damaged or destroyed.  Said one hundred and eighty (180) day period may be extended by an action of the Town Council of Carolina Beach.
2. A building permit is to be obtained from the building inspector within three hundred sixty-five (365) days from the date the building or structure was damaged or destroyed and if the building permit is not obtained within the three hundred sixty-five (365) days the reconstruction will have to be conforming.  Multiple extensions to this time may be granted by the Town Manager for up to 365 additional days at a time, if the applicant provides a letter giving reason why the building  permit has been unobtainable.
The commission will consider the amendment at their May 10, meeting at 7PM.


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