Certification of Nonconforming Use (CNC)

Some land uses and/or structures in existence do not meet current zoning regulations. These uses or structures are known as nonconforming. Uses and structures that were initially conforming but are no longer conforming under the current regulations are considered to be grandfathered and allowed to remain as long as the use has not ceased for a period longer than 180 days. In order for a nonconforming use to continue, a use and occupancy permit must be issued identifying and certifying the use as nonconforming.


Pre-Application Conference:  Not Required

Pre-Application Neighborhood Meeting:  Not Required

Subdivision and Development Review Committee (SDRC):  Certifications of Nonconforming Use applications may be referred to the SDRC, at the discretion of the Zoning Section Supervisor or at the request of the applicant.

Decision-Making Body: Certification of Nonconforming Uses is decided by either the Planning Director or District Council (with a recommendation from the Zoning Hearing Examiner), depending on the circumstances and complexity of the application. Consult with staff on the required reviewing bodies. 

Public Notice Requirement:  When reviewed by the District Council, mailings are required 30 days prior to the hearing to the applicant and parties of record. When reviewed by the Zoning Hearing Examiner, sign postings at the subject site are required within 10 days after the application is determined complete and mailings are required 30 days prior to the hearing to the applicant and parties of record.  

Estimated Review Time:  6 months

Application Instructions

The new Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations go into effect on April 1, 2022. For a period of two years (until March 31, 2024), Applicants have the option to submit under the requirements of either the new or prior Ordinance. [Note: Review under the prior Ordinance requires a Pre-Application Conference and Statement of Justification to explain why the applicant has not chosen to develop under the provisions of the new Ordinance.

Any application accepted prior to the effective date of the new Ordinance will be reviewed and decided in accordance to the provisions of the prior Ordinance. See the Transitional Provisions Quick Reference for more information. 

Find application materials, separated per the applicable Ordinance, in the tabs on this page.

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Development Review Division

PRIMARY PHONE: 301-952-3530

SECONDARY PHONE: 301-952-4366

FAX: 301-952-3749

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