Setback dimensions

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There are three dimensions associated with setbacks. The three dimensions are front setbacks, rear
setbacks, and side setbacks. Setbacks allow for public utilities to access buildings. If any part of your
project is located within the setback standards you should first make an effort to move the structure to
meet the setback requirements. If you are unable to do so, then your zoning district may require you to
apply for a variance. A variance is a request to deviate from current zoning requirements.

What is a Setback?

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Setbacks limit how close you can build to the property boundaries, roads, septic systems, wetlands, and
shorelines. Setback standards can be obtained from your local zoning office. Setbacks vary depending
on what type of structure is involved. For example, setback requirements for a garage may differ from
setback requirements for a shed. Setbacks also vary depending on the location of the property (whether
the property is located in an urban or rural area). Some zoning districts do not require setbacks.

When do I need a site plan?

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Site plans are needed if the home owner needs major changes made to their property or an addition needs to be made to the property. Examples include adding a fence or garage to the property. Site plans are also useful to landscape companies since site plans show dimensions of the propery. Contractors may also need site plans for cost estimation purposes. Minor changes to the property usually do not require a site plan.

Elements of a site plan

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While some elements of a site plan are dictated by your local permit department, all site plans contain an arrow indicating which direction is North, the location of any streets adjoining the property, size and location of major structures such as a house/building, and property lines. Other elements are particular to the location of the property. For example, some cities require that utility information be shown on the site plan while other cities do not.

What is a site plan?

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A site plan is a detailed drawing containing the measurements of a plot of land. A site plan shows the dimensions and locations of any structures within the lot. Site plans also show the location of the lot in relation to other structures. Simply put, a site plan is a bird’s eye view of the property and what that property contains. A site plan is also called a plot plan. Information needed for a site plan can be obtained from parcel maps or a mortgage survey.