Building Line


Building Line setbacks within urban residential areas are generally covered within Council's Development Control Plan (DCP) 2012 Chapter 4.  The building lines are currently covered under Council’s mapping system and vary throughout the Shire. Some newer subdivisions have their own established particular building line setbacks or building envelopes, which are depicted in the DCP.

The building line is generally measured from the front boundary to the wall or post of any deck of a building.

The DCP also permits owners to choose Council’s mapped building line setback or adopt the average setback of the nearest two residential dwellings having a boundary to the same primary road (street the house fronts) and located within 40 metres of the lot to be developed.

Council’s DCP 2012 CH4 also contains information on the types of minor construction such as portico entries and small decks that may encroach within the building line setback  “articulation zone”.

For specific building line setback information and advice, please consult DCP 2012 CH4 or contact Council’s Building Services section on 02 6686 1415.

Corner Allotments

Building line setback concessions apply to the secondary street frontage for corner allotments within the Shire. The primary street is the street that the entrance of the dwelling faces.

For example, where a minimum primary street frontage setback of 6 metres applies, a 4 metre setback applies to the secondary street frontage.

Where a 4.6 metre building line applies to the primary street frontage, a 3.6 metre setback applies to the secondary street frontage.

In addition to the abovementioned setbacks, a minimum building line setback as measured from the front boundary to a garage entry door of 5.5 metres is required. Therefore, garage entry doors must be setback a minimum of 5.5 metres from the front boundary regardless of any corner lot concessions.


The building line setback to laneways throughout the Shire is generally 3.5 metres, unless otherwise stated in DCP 2012 CH4.

Where garages are accessed directly off the laneway, a minimum setback of 5.5 metres applies to garage entry doors.

Rural Areas

Building lines in rural areas are covered by DCP 2012 CH7. A general building line of 20 metres applies to a sealed road and 50 metres from an unsealed road. A secondary road frontage setback of 10 metres applies.

Some existing rural residential smaller lot subdivisions have their own specific setbacks as covered in the DCP.

Foreshore Building Line

Some subdivisions within the Shire have specific setbacks from the foreshore, which are covered in Council's DCP2012 and electronic mapping system. Some areas include the foreshore area of Lennox Head and the Ballina Quays area.

For further information, contact Council’s Building Services section on 02 6686 1415.

Building Line Setbacks Concessions

On written request under Clause 1.12 of DCP 2012, Council can give consideration to a variation of the building line setbacks where a merit-based assessment is made depending on the circumstances of the case.

Generally, concessions are only given in exceptional circumstances where existing site constraints dictate that it would not be possible or practical to maintain the building line, and/or the development is considered not to have any adverse impacts on surrounding properties or the streetscape. The objectives and intents of DCP 2012 CH4 are also to be addressed.

Concessions may be viewed more favourably where the subject structure encroaching upon the building line is of open form construction (e.g. carport or pergola), having minimal impact on neighbours or the streetscape.

Specific requirements for carport structures are also covered in DCP 2012 CH4. Also note, under DCP 2012 CH4, some minor structures are permitted to project forward of the building line into the allowed “articulation zone”.

Council also permits cantilevered balconies with no roof over (except eave and gutter overhang) or post supports to encroach for a distance of 1.8 metres in to the primary street building line setback.

Side and Rear Boundary Setbacks

Within urban areas of the Shire, side and rear boundary setbacks are determined by the Building Height Plane provisions contained within DCP 2012 CH4. Some subdivisions may also have specific setbacks contained within their own planning controls within Chapter 4 of the DCP.

Within rural areas, DCP 2012 CH7 requires a minimum side boundary setback of 10 metres.

Concessions to both side and rear boundaries may be considered that meet the objectives of the DCP, comply with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and there is no significant impact on adjoining properties. For example, Council may give favourable consideration to a BHP variation where there is minimal impact upon overshadowing or privacy. We may also permit minor open structures such as a pergola or carport  to extend to the boundary that meet with the requirements of the BCA and have minimal affect on adjoining properties.

The NSW State Environmental Policy (SEPP) code for “Exempt and Complying Development” contains specific setbacks for specific Complying Development which override Council’s setbacks contained in the DCP.

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