Also known as a prior nonconforming use (PNU), this exists when a zoning code is changed, but a parcel of land that is already being used for something disallowed by the new zoning code is "grandfathered in" (is allowed to continue). For example, if a neigborhood zoning is changed to residential, a corner grocery store may be allowed to continue to operate. The PNU will generally end when the use of the land is changed (so if the grocery store closes, the new zoning code will bar a new store from moving in).
Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
The existing use (for example, residential, commercial, agricultural, light industrial) of a parcel of real estate that is now zoned for other kind of use Generally, a nonconforming use is permitted only if the use was legally established but now violates a zoning ordinance because the property was rezoned or the law was changed. For example, a corner parcel that has been used for a gasoline station for years might lie in an area now zoned for residential use only. The nonconforming use will be allowed ("grandfathered in"), but if the station were torn down or abandoned for a certain period of time, only residential use would be allowed going forward.
Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.
August 19, 2010, 5:20 pm