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Next: Zoning: Tattoo Artist Challenged City's 'Unbridled Discretion' Under First Amendment


Zoning: Fraternity Not Protected As Nonconforming---or 'Grandfathered'---Use

Friday, May 05, 2017

To prove that a use is protected as a nonconforming use requires showing that the use in question was not only lawful when a zoning ordinance was adopted---but that it was also nonconforming.

Facts: The Dartmouth Corporation of Alpha Delta (Alpha Delta) challenged a zoning decision by the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire that it immediately cease using its fraternity house. Alpha Delta, a Dartmouth College fraternity since the 1840s, built the house in question in 1920. From then until the Town’s order, Alpha Delta used the house continuously as a residence for approximately 20 undergraduate students. Alpha Delta’s use predated the Town’s first zoning ordinance, enacted in 1931. The house was in an area zoned for "educational use, or dormitory ... incidental to and controlled by an educational institution." In 1976, the Town rezoned the property. Since then, it has been located in an "institution" district, which allows student residences only by special exception. The current zoning ordinance defines "student residence" as a "building designed for and occupied by students and operated in conjunction with another institutional use." Alpha Delta never acquired a special exception, and one was apparently never needed.

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Next: Zoning: Tattoo Artist Challenged City's 'Unbridled Discretion' Under First Amendment
 
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