Surveys - Easements - Setbacks


A Scale drawing which depicts the outline of the residence and other structures, the Property Lines and easements.


Easements signify an area which is part of the property but cannot be built upon as rights of usage have been alloted to a utility or other authority. 

Easements are usually for electric, phone, cable, water, gas, drainage, lake maintenance or access. 

Easements can be underground, across or overhead. 

You cannot construct a building, pool or pool deck in an easement. 

You can build right up to an easement. 

Pavers in sand are sometimes installed in an easement but nothing permanent like a concrete deck. 

Typically there is no setback requirement from an easement, but you should always check with Zoning department in your municipality.


Setback is the minimum distance a structure must be from a property line. 

Setbacks are different for a building, pool and pool deck. 

Setbacks can differ from side property lines to rear property lines. 

Setbacks can differ in parts of the same town. 

Setback information can usually be obtained from a Building/ zoning dept. 

Setback is usually measured to the pool deck and to the waterline of a pool.

A pool must be setback from overhead electric wires. This setback is usually 10′ Horizontally from where an overhead wire would fall, to the pool waterline. See the N.E.C. (National Electric Code) book for further details. 

Setbacks and Easements are measured from Property Lines, not fences. Fences are not always placed exactly on Property Lines. The survey should be used to measure and accurately locate the property lines by dimensions from the house and other information on the survey. Unless you can locate property line markers, the property lines are invisible. 

A pool plan to build a swimming pool should include a site plan with dimensions to locate the pool on the property relative to the house, property lines, easements and setbacks. 

There can be exceptions and situations which differ from the norm. Deed restrictions can affect construction and home owners associations can have additional setback, fencing and building requirements. Homeowners associations sometimes have an (architectural committee) approve plans prior to construction. 

There is no minimum setback from the house. A pool can be constructed up to and even inside a residence. The requirement is that the foundation not be undermined by excavation and, or caveins during construction. Adjacent structures provide a load on the pool, therefore the pool structure must have additional reinforcement and thicker walls when it is built within the angle of repose. Shoring is often necessary when building within the angle of repose. The deep end of a 10ft. deep pool should be 10′ from an adjacent structure or the pool structure should be modified. 

Retaining walls, slope and grade will also affect a pool structure. 

The excavation of a pool includes the pool floor and walls and must be considered when locating the pool. In many situations 5ft from a structure is acceptable for pool location but may be insufficient without shoring and structural modification to the pool.

Decks have setback requirements in most areas. Like pools and other structures, setbacks are measured to property lines and decks are not allowed to be built in easements. Pavers in sand are sometimes built into easements but concrete decks are not. Some properties are affected by flood control and in these areas the deck and other improvements may be limited to provide adequate square footage for rainfall and drainage. A drainage or flood control authority is usually required to approve improvements in these areas. Even if there are no requirements mandated by your local authority,  it still makes good sense to limit the deck coverage to provide green planting, landscaping areas and clearance from property lines to avoid flooding your neighbor’s property with rainwater. Deck should slope away from pool, usually ⅛” to ¼” per foot and deck drains used when necessary. 

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