Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary
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- Nonconforming Use
- 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.