Understanding Non-Conforming Use

Non-conforming use is a term that is often used when talking about zoning in real estate. Here are the basics of non-conforming use and what it means. 

Non-Conforming Use

Typically when you are dealing with zoning requirements, all of the buildings within a specific area are going to have to be for the same use. For example, residential zoning requires that all of the structures in that area be residential properties. With commercial zoning, you have to have businesses. With a non-conforming use property, you are dealing with a property that does not meet the zoning requirements of the area in which it resides. With non-conforming use, the building is legally allowed to go against zoning requirements.


When you are talking about a non-conforming use building, it is allowed because it was grandfathered in. This means that the building was in use before the zoning requirements went into effect. For example, if a gas station is located in an area that is later zoned as residential, it is not going to have to pack up and move because of the zoning requirements. Instead, residential developments will be able to be built around the gas station and the gas station will continue to operate as normal.

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