Residential Setbacks

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Setbacks–the distance by which a building must be “set back” from the lines of front, side and rear lots, as well as from the street–determine the placement of a building on a lot. The Placement section of the Zoning Ordinance(PDF, 12MB) lists the placement requirements for buildings in different zoning districts.

Setbacks and Yards

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find my property’s setbacks?

Setbacks vary depending on:

  • Your zone
  • Lot size and configuration
  • Type of structure

To find your property’s setbacks, find your zone. Then, find your lot type and structure type in the Residential Setback and Yard Requirements Illustration.

Are any encroachments (violations of setbacks) allowed?

Permitted encroachments include uncovered and unenclosed structures such as:

  • Areaways
  • Decks
  • Stoops
  • Stairs
  • Window wells
  • Eave overhangs, which may project 4 ft. into a setback

There must, however, remain at least 5 ft. between any of these structures and a side property line.

Covered but unenclosed porches may encroach into the front setback only.

Chimneys and bay windows without floor space may encroach 18 in. into any setback.

For more information about permitted encroachments, including diagrams, see the Residential Setback and Yard Requirements illustration.

How does Arlington check compliance with setbacks?

The Zoning Division requires a certified, scaled plat to verify the compliance of existing or proposed setbacks for a project.

Other Residential Setback Topics