Division of Zoning
City Hall - Room 125B
Rochester, New York 14614
Tel: (585)428-7043 

What is a nonconformity?

Under the Zoning Code, a nonconformity is an existing use, structure, lot, or sign which does not conform to the requirements of the Zoning Code. They are often referred to as "grandfathered" uses.

Section 120-198B states that the continued existence of certain nonconformities is frequently inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan and thus the gradual elimination of such nonconformities is often desirable. Other nonconformities may continue to exist and afford adaptive reuse opportunities that can contribute to neighborhood character, diversity and services.

Because nonconformities are not permitted, they are often subject to "abandonment" provisions when they are discontinued, regardless of intent to resume or not abandon them. Discontinued Nonconformities, therefore, can lose their rights to exist under the Code and may be permanently prohibited in the future.

Contact the City's Zoning Office with any questions regarding nonconformities.

An application for a Certificate of Nonconformity is required to determine the status of a specific nonconformity. This application can be used to determine if abandonment has occurred, to change from one nonconformity use to another, to verify a property's legal use, or, in special cases, to extend the period of vacancy (Code Section 120-199G).

It is important for the owner of a nonconformity to be aware of and understand the regulations and laws affecting them, particularly with regard to changing or discontinuing them.

Click on the links on this page to review City Codes for each type of nonconformity, or to obtain an application.