I have a 19 unit apartment complex in Florida. The property consists of two buildings, 9 units in one and 10 units in the other. The property was foreclosed in 2007, and has been vacant since. I purchased it at the end of 2010. The property is non-conforming use.
The building department is stating the property must be bought up to today's building code. They further state the current code requires 2 parking spots per unit, for a total requirement of 38 spots. There is no additional space to add that many parking spots (it could probably fit 19 spots). Additionally, the current code only allows 8 units on this size lot (about 1/2 acre).
There are no public records stating anything of that sort from the building department.
At this point, the building department and zoning department states it would be cheaper to demolish the existing buildings and rebuild a 8 unit building on the lot.
The building does not need any major repairs. It only needs cosmetics (kitchen cabinets, etc). It is a CBS structure. The electrical inspector with the building department came out and inspected the electric and said everything is fine, but the chief building official refuses to issue a permit.
The building is in the CRA district (redevelopment area). Code Compliance states fines will incur if the propery is not repaved and painted on the outside, but the building department refuses to issue any permits on the property.
Is there anything I can do to keep all 19 units? Is the city allowed to refuse a permit (for cosmetics - kitchen cabinets, etc) in this case because it's a non-conforming building?
I know of several other properties close by that are non-conforming, vacant for over a year, which have the same situation, but the city has issued permits to them without a problem (they are not in the CRA district).
Also, they state the property is on the city's danger list and was scheduled to be demolished by the city. Prior to purchasing, code compliance said it just needs to be repaved and painted.
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? FL