Verify a Nonconforming Use / Structure / Lot

A non-conforming use or structure is one that was initially permitted, but no longer conforms to the regulations of the zoning district in which it is located.

The Planning Division in Oregon City commonly requires a nonconforming review when changes or expansions to a nonconforming use or structure are proposed. In order to obtain this approval, staff works with applicants to procure evidence that demonstrates compliance with the approval criteria in the Oregon City Municipal Code for legal non-conforming reviews. An approval for a non-conforming review requires demonstrable evidence, submitted by the applicant, that the use was legally established and has not been discontinued for a period exceeding 12 consecutive months since its establishment. Examples of evidence include land use or building permits, utility records, aerial and dated photographs, property tax appraisal information, tax records, receipts, licenses, bills of sale, and more. When submitting evidence, it is important to note that it is only useful for the non-conforming use review if it has pertinent information to the particular non-conforming situation.


George is a local businessman that has owned a vehicle repair shop with a valid business license for over ten years. George's shop is in what is known as the Mixed-Use Downtown (MUD) District, where vehicle repair is presently a prohibited use according to the Oregon City Municipal Code. That means that George's business is allowed to continue as a non-conforming use.

Eventually, George's business is doing so well that he wishes to expand his business from vehicle repair to also include the sale of vehicles. Because the sale of vehicles is also a prohibited use, George would need to prove that the sale of vehicles was legally established at a point in time when the code allowed vehicle sales. However, because George never sold vehicles, his legal non-conforming use review would be denied and he would not be able to sell vehicles at that location.


The first step in researching the history of the site is usually requesting any information the city may have through the Public Records Request process. Any information you find can be included in your nonconforming application request.

Please include the following information when submitting a Nonconforming Review Request

  • Land Use Application Form
  • Submittal Requirements:
    • Detailed narrative explaining the nonconforming nature of the property.
    • Evidence demonstrating that the nonconforming use is lawful. Submit evidence such as land use, building, or other permit documents, utility records, dated photographs, property tax appraisal information, dated aerial photographs, tax records, receipts, licenses, bills of sale, and notarized affidavits.
    • Site Plan of the Subject Site
    • Responses to the Supplemental Questions Provided Below.
      • When was the nonconforming use and/or structure established?
      • What changes have occurred in the nonconforming use and/or structure since establishment?

Online Submittal - Upon receipt of your electronic submittal, a planner will provide you with an invoice of fees owed and make arrangements for payment of required fees.