Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson
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Setback and Building Definitions

This list is intended to provide basic definitions from the Land Use Code and other resources that are related to setbacks and buildings. Please consult the Land Use Code or contact the Planning Department for details.

  • Alley. A public right-of-way, not exceeding 35 feet wide, which affords only secondary access to abutting property.
  • Basement. Any floor of a building that has at least half of its interior wall area at or below the average finished grade around the building.
  • Building. Any structure having a roof supported by columns or walls for the shelter or enclosure of persons, animals, chattels or property of any kind.
  • Building envelope. An area within the boundaries of a lot within which all buildings on the lot must be placed.
  • Building permit. A development permit issued by the Larimer County Building Department or any other county office before any building or construction activity can be initiated on a land parcel.
  • Building, principal. A building in which is conducted the principal use of the lot where the building is located.
  • Grade, finished. The final elevation of the ground level after development.
  • Height. The measurement from the average elevation of the finished grade to the highest point on a structure.
  • Lot. A designated parcel, tract, or area of land established by plat, subdivision, or as otherwise permitted by law, to be separately owned, used, developed, or built upon.
  • Lot line. A line of record bounding a lot that divides one lot from another lot or from a public or private street or road.
  • Lot line, front. The shortest lot line separating a lot from a street or road. The front lot line designation is for the purpose of identifying the side and rear lot lines and it is not based on the orientation of the house and/or buildings on the lot.
  • Lot line, rear. The lot line opposite the front lot line.
  • Lot line, side. All lot lines other than front or rear lot lines.
  • Lowest floor. The lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement). An unfinished or flood-resistant enclosure, usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access or storage in an area other than the basement is not considered a building's lowest floor, provided the enclosure is not built in a way that results in the structure violating the applicable nonelevation design requirements of this code. Plot plan. An accurate, scaled drawing illustrating a property's dimension and shape, location of roads and easements, the relationship and precise location of man-made features on the property, and the location of natural water features. A plot plan shows what currently exists on the site and the physical changes that are proposed, along with accurate setback distances.
  • Roof. The cover of any building, including the eaves and similar projections. The cover may be solid, open beams, lattice, fabric, or similar materials.
  • Setback. The minimum required distance, measured at the shortest distance perpendicular or radial from, a lot line, waterway, street or road, between a building and the lot line, waterway, street or road.
  • Site plan. The development plan for one or more lots showing the existing and proposed conditions of the lot. This includes topography; vegetation; drainage; floodplains; wetlands and waterways; landscaping and open spaces; walkways; means of ingress and egress; circulation; utility services; structures and buildings; signs and lighting; berms, buffers and screening devices; surrounding development; and other information that may be reasonably required for the planning director to make a decision.
  • Street or road. A general term denoting a public or private way for purposes of vehicular travel to two or more lots, including the entire area within the right-of-way (includes alleyways) and/or access easement.
  • Stream, creek and river. Any water course having a source and terminus, banks and channel through which water flows and is identified on a 7.5 minute quadrangle map prepared by the United States Geological Survey as a perennial or intermittent stream.
  • Structure. Anything constructed or erected and that requires a permanent location on or in the ground or attachment to something having a permanent location on or in the ground, but not including fences, retaining walls four feet or less in height, irrigation facilities, poles, lines, cables or other transmission or distribution facilities of public utilities. Landscape and associated nonliving ornamental landscape features or materials, such as rocks and edging, are excluded from this definition.

Property owners and citizens are strongly advised to contact the County Planning Department for specific information about setbacks. If you would like more specific information or if you have a question that's not answered here, please contact the Larimer County Planning Department at (970)498-7679 or send us email.

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