(redirected from setbacks)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia.


A distance from a curb, property line, or structure within which building is prohibited.

Setbacks are building restrictions imposed on property owners. Local governments create setbacks through ordinances and Building Codes, usually for reasons of public policy such as safety, privacy, and environmental protection. Setbacks prevent landowners from crowding the property of others, allow for the safe placement of pipelines, and help to preserve wetlands. Setbacks form boundaries by establishing an exact distance from a fixed point, such as a property line or an adjacent structure, within which building is prohibited. Generally, prospective buyers learn that land is subject to setback provisions when they are considering purchasing it. This information is important to future development plans, because setbacks remain in effect until changed by law or special action of a local government.

Setbacks can significantly affect a property owner's right to develop land or to modify existing structures on the land. For this reason they can influence property values; severe restrictions on land can decrease its value. Violating setback provisions can lead to legal action against a property owner, and penalties can include fines as well as an order to remove noncompliant structures. Property owners whose desire to build is stymied by setbacks have few remedies. They can petition their local government by applying for a variance—a special permission to depart from the requirements of Zoning ordinances—but variances are generally granted only in cases of extreme hardship. Litigation over setbacks is common.


Land-Use Control.

See: adversity, casualty, damper, debacle, decline, defeat, delay, disadvantage, disaster, effect, hindrance, impediment, misfortune, plight, relapse, toll, trouble
References in periodicals archive ?
But, how you deal with setbacks can be the difference between moving forward and getting the results you want or staying stuck.
Boss Martin O'Neill said: "Wes had a bit of a setback in training the other day and we're going to have to assess that now.
Today, Lane County's riparian setback ordinance requires residential, agricultural and forestry properties adjacent to streams with flows greater than 1,000 cubic feet per second - for example, the McKenzie - to maintain setbacks that limit the amount of native riparian vegetation that can be removed, and limit development within the riparian areas (Lane Code 16.
That was a setback (at Fulham) on Sunday, a genuine setback, and we now want to go and drive on.
The Supreme Court of New Hampshire ruled that setback areas cannot be included when calculating lot area for building sites and that requiring a minimum of 30,000 contiguous square feet for building lots serves a valid land use purpose.
While ID continues to make its way through courts and local elections, antievolutionists, fearing setbacks, are transitioning to yet another offshoot of creationism: "critical analysis.
Through careful thought and planning, we were able to integrate the setbacks into a design that not only flowed, but seemed much larger.
Five days later, the NYT had to report "In Nebraska and Tennessee, more setbacks to gay rights: Court rulings add to defeats elsewhere" (July 15, 2006).
High achievers experience at least as many setbacks as everyone else, and often quite a few more.
The 90,000-seater stadium has been plagued by setbacks, from buckled sewer pipes and industrial action to a sniper demanding pounds 27million not to shoot at crane operators working there.
Thacher, who handed Meister 6-4, 6-3 setbacks in the quarterfinals of the Ojai Valley tournament in April and the Southern Section championships in May, will face No.
A second operation, unless I had any setbacks in the meantime, would guarantee a six-week maximum time out, so I decided to have another one.