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Thread: Front yard question

  1. #1
    Apr 2004
    Hudson River Valley

    Front yard question

    I may be the only planner that doesn't know this, but I have always been unsure as to the common zoning definition of front yard -

    Is the front yard generally considered just the minimum front yard, or is is the entire area in front of the building on the lot. For example, if a house is set back 50 feet from the front lot line in a zone with a minimum front yard set back of 25 feet, do the 25 feet closest to the house count as a front yard? Can that person erect a fence taller than would be permitted in a front yard or any other structure not permitted in a front yard?

    Thanks for your thoughts on this,

  2. #2
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
    Dec 2001
    West Valley, AZ
    Front Yard: The area on the private property between the addressed side/facade of the structure and the corresponding property line. The Front Yard includes the Front yard setback area.

    Front Yard Setback: The area no structures are permitted to be constructed within the front yard.

    Our code is written that any fence within the front yard, as defined above, is a front yard fence and must follow all regulations. The setback applies only to permanent strucutres such as garages, houeses, sheds.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  3. #3
    Good question, MSM. We define the front yard as follows:

    Yard, Front. A yard extending across the full width of the lot, unoccupied other than by steps, walks, terraces, driveways, lampposts and structures of a similar nature, the depth of which is the least distance between the street right-of-way and the building line.

    Building Line. The line nearest the front of and across a lot establishing a minimum open space to be provided between the front line of a building or structure and the street right-of-way.

    I don't particularly like either definition because they could create a certain "no man's land" between the platted building line and a structure set back beyond the platted building line, pretty much as you described.

    As to the fence height requirements, we allow only a 4'-0" tall fence from the front plane of the structure foward so that the definitions cited above do not matter for fences.
    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
    Abraham Lincoln

  4. #4
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
    Aug 2002
    We go with a "front yard" and a "required front yard" to distinguish between the 2. That helps for fence height requirements, especially for those houses that are setback hundreds of feet from the road. It seems to work well.

  5. #5
    Jul 2003
    Who cares.
    We have a front yard and a front yard setback. You can put fences in the setback provided they meet requirements, but no structures. The whole yard goes to the side of the house--parallel with the side, then it becomes the side yard with side yard setback requirements.
    I don't dream. I plan.

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