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A Nonconforming Building vs. an Illegal Building

There are a few exceptions to zoning that can help clear up issues with nonconforming buildings or structures. For example, what do you do if the survey shows that a house is built too close to the locality’s building setback lines? 

Virginia Code Section §15.2-2307 provides that if a local government has issued a building permit, and a building or structure was subsequently constructed in accordance with that permit, and upon completion of construction, the local government issued a certificate of occupancy or a use permit, a zoning ordinance may provide that the building or structure is nonconforming. Should this occur, the local zoning ordinance shall not provide that the structure is illegal. As a result, the building cannot be removed solely due to the nonconformity. 

Similarly, if an owner has paid local real estate taxes for a building for a period in excess of fifteen years, then a zoning ordinance may provide that a structure is nonconforming but may not provide that the building is illegal. Accordingly, the building cannot be removed solely due to nonconformity. 

For more details on the grandfathering code section, view VA Code §15.2-2307.

William D. Tucker, III
Tucker Griffin Barnes


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