I need to prove legal non-conformance in Fort Worth, Texas. [TX]

I have to prove legal non-conformance to Planning and Development for the city of Fort Worth in Texas. Basically I have a fourplex on 708 W Malta across Juanito's that is in an area zoned for duplexes. Planning and Development wants me to prove that the property existed in compliance with regulations in effect at the time the structure was established. One of three criteria must hit to prove that the property is legal.

  • The property exited before October 1, 1940.
  • The property existed prior to annexation into the city limits.
  • The property existed prior to any changes in zoning that would make the property illegal.

From what I gather after meeting with the Code Compliance Department, the property has flown under the city radar since at least 2006 or 2008 because there is no Certificate of Occupancy completed for 708 W Malta since at least that time. A complete CO on record would mean that legal non-conformance has already been proven. Code Compliance won't issue a CO until legal non-conformance has been met. This is important because it means that the research for this has already been done in the past. Instead, in 2017, I'm doing research for a building built in 1924 in the style of Buffy the Vampire Slayer before they fight an unknown demon. 😉

If this isn't already complicated enough for those not familiar with this topic, aerial photographs from Planning and Development show that W Malta was moved from the back of the lot to the front of the lot sometime in the 1950’s or 1960’s. This is a problem because if the property was moved, zoning and code are no longer able to be grandfathered in. So I will need to prove that the property existed in its current location before then, and specially before 1940. I guess that picture the city has is blurry or something.

Everything that I have gathered so far can be found in my Google Drive. All that my material proves is what I already know. The fourplex operated as a fourplex since at least 2006, perhaps even 1999. The building was in its current location in 1999. I have requested a copy of the aerial photographs. I have also requested copes of what Code Compliance have in their 708 W Malta file.

There is going to be a trip to Central Library downtown since they have some kind of old records that I need to go through. I'll also visit the Tarrant Appraisal District and post office. Oncor was already called.

I have already contacted my realtor and we're also communicating with the title company.

So what I need is proof of Malta existing in its current condition before 1940. This would meet the legal non-conformance requirement and refute the aerial photographs that Planning and Development have. For example, a dated picture of some sort would work. If you guys have anything or any ideas, please let me know. Thanks! Reddit loves a mystery right? (>_<)

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