Understanding Setbacks: Shaping the Layout of Buildings on a Lot

What are Setbacks?

Setbacks are the minimum required distances between a building’s exterior walls and the property lines of a parcel of land. Setbacks ensure that buildings maintain a certain distance from streets, neighboring properties, and other structures, to regulate light, air, and privacy.

The Purpose of Setback Regulations

Setback regulations are designed to provide space for fire access, emergency response, and building maintenance. Facilitate the provision of utilities, easements, and infrastructure. Enhance neighborhood character by maintaining consistency in building placement.

Types of Setbacks and How to Determine Them

Setbacks may include primary and secondary front, sides, and rear. A secondary front applies in a corner property. It is a street-facing edge that has the least amount of vehicular traffic. In these cases, there is no rear edge, and non-street-facing edges are considered sides.

Olivia Ramos


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