What Is a Property Setback?

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Property setbacks are ordinances established by local government officials that outline where construction or modifications can occur. They are used to keep landowners from crowding neighboring properties, and they provide common areas where pipes may reside below the ground. They also protect wildlife and wetlands.

Violating the ordinances can result in fines and other forms of legal action. A homeowner can appeal the ordinances, but appeals are rarely granted. A homeowner needs to demonstrate that the ordinance has inflicted an extreme hardship.

Ordinances can affect a homeowner's ability to increase the value of his house. They often place restrictions on modifying existing structures or land.