Town of Wilton, NH

Zoning Ordinance (2023)

17.0 Non-conforming Uses and Buildings

17.1 Non-conforming Buildings, Structures, and Uses. (Amended March, 2007, March 2015)

  1. Any non-conforming building, structure, or use of land or buildings may continue in existence.
  2. A non-conforming use of a building, structure, or land may not be changed to a different non-conforming use of the same building, structure, or land.
  3. A non-conforming use may not be re-established after discontinuance for more than one (1) year.
  4. A non-conforming building or structure may be rebuilt on the same footprint and with the same dimensions (including height), unless it has, for more than one (1) year, been unusable for its current purpose by reason of deterioration, destruction, demolition, neglect, accident, condemnation, or any other reason. (Amended March 2016)
  5. A non-conforming building or structure may not be extended or enlarged.

17.2 Sub-standard Lots of Record.

Where a lot of record at the time of the effective date of this Ordinance has less area and/or frontage than herein required in the District in which it is located:

  1. The lot may be used for a single family dwelling if permitted in that district subject to New Hampshire Water Supply and Pollution Control Division approval and subject to all district regulations applicable to lots within the district wherein the lot is located with the exception of lot size and/or frontage.
  2. The lot may be used for any non-residential use permitted in the district in which it is located in compliance with maximum density requirements, setbacks, and New Hampshire DES Water Supply and Pollution Control Division regulations.

17.3 Special Exceptions. (Amended March 2000.)

When the dimensions of a lot or the placement of existing structures on a lot are such that there is no reasonable placement of a proposed new structure on that lot which conforms with the lot setback requirements, the Zoning Board of Adjustment may grant a special exception to permit reduced setbacks, provided that:

  1. The lot dimensions or existing structures which result in the difficulty must have been in existence prior to the adoption of the setback requirements that are to be reduced.
  2. The setback to be reduced must be a lot line setback. Setbacks from wetland or water bodies may not be reduced by a special exception under this section, nor may tower setbacks as specified in the Wireless Communications Overlay District, Section 15.3.5. (Amended March, 2009, Amended March 2020)
  3. The proposed structure and its proposed placement must be in keeping with the existing development of the neighborhood.
  4. The special exception must specifically identify the permitted location of the proposed structure, as shown on a site plan, which is to become part of the record of the decision.
  5. The Zoning Board may restrict the dimensions of the proposed structure so as to balance the reasonable use of the property with the spirit of the zoning ordinance.

(See also Section 4.12.) (Amended March 2022.)

17.4 Status of Variances and Special Exceptions. (Amended March 1992, March 2023.)

17.4.1 Nonconformity.

A building, structure or use permitted by a variance or special exception granted by the Zoning Board of Adjustment shall be subject to the same restrictions as a non-conforming building, structure or use under section 17.1 of this Ordinance.

17.4.2 Expiration.

  1. If construction has not begun or the use has not commenced (i) within two (2) years after the variance or special exception has been granted, or (ii) by March 10, 1992, whichever is later, then the variance or special exception shall expire. All rights conferred by a variance or special exception shall be void upon expiration. The Zoning Board of Adjustment may, but is not required to, specify the actions or conditions that will constitute beginning construction or commencing the use as part of its approval of a variance or special exception.
  2. The Zoning Board of Adjustment may, for good cause shown, grant an extension of time for an additional two years in which to exercise the rights accorded by the variance or special exception, provided that the extension would be consistent with the intent and spirit of the Zoning Ordinance. Procedures for submission, noticing and hearing of applications for extensions shall be the same as for other applications to the Zoning Board of Adjustment and shall be submitted no less than 60 days nor more than 120 days before the expiration of the variance or special exception. Submission of an application for an extension shall stay the expiration until the Zoning Board of Adjustment has decided on the application. No more than two extensions may be granted.