The definition of a nonconforming building is the following: A building, structure, or portion thereof which does not conform to the regulations of the ordinance and which lawfully existed at the time the regulations with which it does not conform became effective. (SBMC 28.04.495)
Please be advised that the City has an ordinance that allows for the reconstruction of damaged nonconforming structures which have been damaged or partially destroyed by fire, flood, wind, earthquake or other calamity or act of God or the public enemy without a zoning modification as long as certain conditions are met.
These conditions are described in Santa Barbara Municipal Code section 28.87.038.B. A building permit for the reconstruction, restoration, or rebuilding of damaged non-conforming structures must be issued within three (3) years of the occurrence of the damage or destruction: November 13, 2011.
If you intend on rebuilding an existing nonconforming structure on your site, your project must have design review approval (if required) and a building permit must be submitted, approved and issued by November 13, 2011 in order to avoid the requirement for a zoning modification.
The deadline only applies to the reconstruction of damaged nonconforming structures. The deadline does not apply to any proposal to reconstruct an existing conforming structure on your property, propose a new conforming structure on your property, nor does it preclude you from proposing a project that requires zoning modifications.
If you have any questions about the content of this letter, please contact Renee Brooke, Zoning and Enforcement Supervisor at (805) 564-5564 for Zoning questions, Jaime Limon, Design Review Supervisor, (805) 564-5507 for Design Review questions, or Chris Hansen, Plan Check Supervisor, (805)564-5566 for Building and Safety questions.
Source: City of Santa Barbara Press release Link