# Setbacks meaning

We are building/renovating our detached garage that is behind our house. I’m trying to understand the setback rules. I just excerpted what is relevant…

SIDEYARD (interior): One-Story: Total of 10% of lot width; No setback shall be required to exceed five (5) feet nor be less than three (3) feet

SIDEYARD (exterior): 10 feet minimum

REAR YARD: One-Story: 15 feet or average 15 feet with minimum of 10 feet

It’s really hard to get a hold of the Torrance building permit folks or the plan checkers.

Can someone explain the side yard (exterior and interior) setback rules? Also the rear yard rule?

Our lot is 40’ wide. We have neighbors to the left and the right. Our rear property line is along an alley (the alley is wide enough for one car to drive through at a time)

So according to the rules… Side yard setback (exterior)- total of 10%. Which means a total of 4’

Side yard setback (interior) - 10’ minimum

Rear yard: 15 feet or average 15 feet with minimum of 10 feet

If we want to build a structure what do these rules mean in regard to the structure and our property line?

I’m particularly confused with the interior and exterior meanings.

• Is your lot on a corner? Commented Jun 12, 2021 at 23:02
• It is not on a corner. Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 0:24
• I suggest talking to an architect familiar with your local. I think the interior means lot with adjacent lots on both sides and the exterior mean the first or the last lot in the block. You shall also figure out the minimum space required between buildings.
– r13
Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 0:27
• The "nor be less than three (3) feet" would appear to apply to each side, so not "total of 4 feet" as I read that - total of 6 feet is your bare minimum "total" side setbacks added together. Language is a bit murky, IMHO. It would appear to allow an 80 foot lot to have 3 feet on one side and 5 feet on the other. For a 40 foot lot I read that as "two 3 foot minimums beat a 4 foot total." Commented Jun 13, 2021 at 21:20