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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
For example, the first rules would have identified small operations as 30,000 birds or fewer; the approved rules trigger setbacks at more than 150,000 birds.
" Your setbacks and mistakes may feel ever-present, but it is only to you and not to anybody else.What do other people see?
Every block of buildings even has setback regulations," the official said.
Uncertainty in the Length of Nighttime Setback-to-setpoint Transition Time Period: The time needed to bring the indoor temperature from nighttime setback to the setpoint temperature depends on a number of factors including, but not limited to, (a) the characteristics of the terminal heating and cooling unit, (b) the thermal capacitance of the zone's fabric, (c) the thermal resistance and airtightness of the building envelope, (d) ambient environmental conditions (temperature and solar irradiation), (e) electrical appliance and lighting loads, and (f) shading position and window opening.
But, how you deal with setbacks can be the difference between moving forward and getting the results you want or staying stuck.
SPRINT star Becky James has suffered a setback in her recovery from a serious knee injury, British Cycling chief Shane Sutton has revealed.
In its denial of a Class A classification, Ridgeland also cited an improper property setback--50 feet required but the actual setback is 30 feet--and the absence of additional points for entering and leaving the complex.
A Laurie Ann Lane, Paris couple wanted the county to amend its bylaw restricting the setback for swimming pool equipment.
WES BROWN is unlikely to play again until 2013 after suffering yet another setback in training this week.
Scott Rohter makes a case for supporting property rights and avoiding, in his view, government intrusiveness exemplified by the recent proposal to extend the water quality setbacks on the McKenzie River (Guest Viewpoint, Nov.
Wenger may be forced to use in-form winger Theo Walcott as a centre-forward after the injury setbacks.
Brig Messenger, who has overseen 32 British fatalities during his six months in command of 3 Commando Brigade in Helmand province, admitted they had "suffered setbacks" but said morale was good.