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Thread: Deck setbacks

  1. #1

    Deck setbacks

    How do you communities deal with deck setbacks. Any deck attached to or adjacent to a house needs to meet the principal building setbacks in the side and rear yards. We don't allow front yard ones. We have hundreds of lots that cannot have decks because of the rear setback restrictions and I want to see if other communities treat them the same way (as part of the principal structure) or if you have less restrictive setbacks? The thing is that you can have a patio that goes right to the property line (though we encourage a 5-foot setback to try and prevent future neighbor disputes.
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Decks are often treated as part of the principal structure, probably out of fear than they become enclosed, growing into porches . To get around this you can start by calling a deck (unenclosed on three sides and open to the sky) an accessory structure. Accessory structures are usually allowed in rear yards.

  3. #3
    Feb 2012
    Chicago, IL
    we treat them as accessory structures and specifically define them (open air/no roof/etc.) in the ordinance. accessory structures have substantially smaller minimum setbacks

  4. #4
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
    Jul 2007
    more West now
    We allow unenclosed decks to encroach half into the rear setback on SF lots, seems to keep everyone happy.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
    Feb 2002
    They are exempt from setbacks if they are not taller than 4 feet in height, regardless if in front, side, rear. Not preferred, but that's what we currently have!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
    May 2005
    Metro Detroit

    From our code...

    Decks may be allowed to project not more than ten (10) feet into the required rear yard setback, provided that the following conditions are met.


    The deck does not encroach into any easement.


    The deck is not located facing any street.


    The deck conforms with applicable side yard setback requirements.


    The deck is located not less than ten (10) feet from any detached accessory building. (This separation shall not apply to any accessory structure.)


    The deck elevation shall be no greater than eight (8) inches over the first floor grade elevation of the main structure. (Exception: a deck around a pool may match the height of the pool.)


    Any additional structures attached to the deck, such as a gazebo or pool, shall be located at least ten (10) feet from any structure.
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Emerald Coast
    I worked in a jurisdiction long ago that specified if the deck required a railing to comply with the building code, it needed to meet the minimum required setbacks for the zone district. If not, anything goes.

    Current jurisdiction: minimum 3-foot setback to the rear and side property lines. No front yard encroachment allowed.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  8. #8
    Sep 2010
    Middle America
    We reference decks within our Area and Height Exceptions:

    Unenclosed decks with floor surfaces not more than 30 inches above grade may extend into the rear yard a distance of up to one-third the required rear yard.

    Canopies and open porches having a roof area of no more than 60 squar efeet may project a maximum of six feet into the required front or rear yard.

    If the deck is attached to the primary strucutre (house), we consider the deck to be an extension of the house, and must meet the front yard, side yard, interior and/or corner and rear yard setbacks per the zoning district.

    We have yet to run across the issue of detached decks, but we would treat them as a detached accessory structure, which must be at least 60 feet from the front yard property line, no less 2 feet from any alley and no less 3 feet from any side or rear property line. In the case of corner lots, the accessory structure cannot be closer than 20 feet from the side street.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
    Mar 2002
    Upper left edge
    Our policy is anything that needs a building permit has to meet setbacks. So if a deck is more than 30" above grade, or if it has a roof, it must meet setbacks. We have allowed people to fill parts of their yards to meet the 30" requirement. And we say that a deck can be more than 30" above grade in part, and 30" or less in part, so long as the part over 30" meets the setbacks.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
    Oct 2005
    Quote Originally posted by beach_bum View post
    We allow unenclosed decks to encroach half into the rear setback on SF lots, seems to keep everyone happy.
    Ditto, don't require specific deck setbacks but allow for a 5-10 foot encroachment or a percentage (50%) from principal structure to property line etc.

    I once had someone build an unattached deck in the accessory use setback area, just a wood elevated deck sitting in their yard, weirdest thing.

  11. #11

    Jun 2012
    Cuyahoga Falls, OH

    Deck Setbacks

    Decks are treated as part of the principal structure. We allow them to extend up to 10' into a rear yard setback. Most of our rear yard setbacks are 25'. They have a 5' side setback unless your lot is over a half acre, then its 10' each side.

  12. #12
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
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