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Single Family Home

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PERMISSIBLE USES (Section 91.4.1 of Torrance Municipal Code (TMC)

A Single-Family Residence, with customary accessory buildings including a private garage with a maximum area
not to exceed 1,000 square feet (sf). (NOTE: The 1,000 sf maximum garage area applies to a combination of attached and detached garages.)


  • Minor Remodeling: Minor remodeling/new additions may be made without bringing the existing residence into
    compliance with current R-1 standards. However, all new construction (room additions) must fully comply with these standards.
  • Significant Remodeling: In the event that a significant remodeling project/addition is made, the existing structure as well as the new construction must fully comply with current development standards. For this purpose, "significant remodeling" means increasing the total floor area of the dwelling, excluding any garage, more than 85 percent, or, improving or enhancing the dwelling unit to the extent that the cost of such improvement or enhancement exceeds 85 percent of the replacement value of the dwelling unit before such remodeling (Section 231.1.2 of Division 2, Chapter 31 of TMC).

SETBACKS (Section 91.4.4 - 91.4.6 of TMC)

  • FRONT YARD: 20 feet or average of 20 feet with a minimum of 15 feet. Front facing garage must be set back 20
  • 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
    Two-Story: Lots less than 50 feet in width must provide a setback equal to 10 % of the lot width; Lots
    between 50 and 55 feet in width must provide 5 foot setback; Lots wider than 55 feet must provide a setback equal to 10% of the lot width
  • SIDEYARD (exterior): 10 feet minimum
    One-Story: 15 feet or average 15 feet with minimum of 10 feet
    Two-Story: 20 feet or average of 20 feet with minimum of 15 feet
  • ALLOWED ENCROACHMENTS (Sections 92.5.2 , 92.5.3 & 92.5.5 OF TMC): Chimneys, greenhouse windows and water heaters may project no closer than 30 inches from interior side property lines; Eave overhang for dwellings shall not encroach more than 3 feet - 6 inches into a required rear, front or side yard, and, no closer than 30 inches from the property line in a required side yard of 5 feet or less; Porches and balconies may encroach no more than 4 feet into a required rear yard, front yard, or exterior side yard.

BUILDING HEIGHT (Section 91.4.2 of TMC)

(Measured from the lowest adjacent grade to the topmost portion of the roof, exclusive of chimneys or vents):

  • One-Story: 18 feet
  • Two-Story: 27 feet

FLOOR AREA RATIO (FAR) (Section 91.4.11& 91.2.82 of TMC):

Maximum of 0.6. FAR is a measurement of bulk and includes all building areas, measured from outside wall to outside wall, such as detached accessory structures, habitable attic area, volume areas, and stairwells, but excluding basements, covered porches, patios and balconies enclosed on not more than two (2) sides, and, chimneys.

LOT COVERAGE (Section 91.4.9 of the TMC):

Lot coverage refers to total land area covered by structures or the building footprint, excluding covered patios open on 2 sides or more.

  • One-story: 50 percent of lot area
  • Two-story: 40 percent of lot area

USABLE OPEN SPACE (Section 91.4.10 of TMC):

One-third (1/3) of total lot area is to be provided as open space in one or more areas having minimum dimensions
of 10 feet by 15 feet. Open space is defined as yards unobstructed from ground to sky, excepting covered patios not enclosed on more than 2 sides.


  • Height: Limited to one-story and 14 feet in height.
  • Living quarters prohibited.
  • Setbacks: If located in rear ¼ of lot, may be setback 1 foot from rear property line and 1 foot from one interior side property line, provided setback to other interior side property line is no less than 10 percent of the lot width and no less than 3 feet. If not in rear ¼ of lot, building must comply with setbacks required for residence. Accessory structure must be setback a minimum of 6 feet from residence.
  • Maximum Area: Provided all setbacks are met, an accessory building of 400 square feet may be built on any lot.
    The building may also contain additional area equal to 25% of the required rear yard area. However, no accessory structure shall exceed 700 square feet in area.

PARKING (Sections 93.1.3 & 93.2.1 of TMC):

An enclosed two-car private garage is required for each single-family residence. Existing residences with a one-car garage will be required to provide a two-car garage at such time the aggregate value of the cumulative structural additions/alterations made reaches fifty (50) percent or more of the replacement value of such building or structure, plus one-third (1/3) of the garage, based on Table 3-A of Section 303 of the City Building Code.

Minimum Interior Garage Dimensions (measured as clear areas inside garage):

  • One-Car Garage: 10 feet wide by 20 feet deep
  • Two-Car Garage: 18 feet wide by 20 feet deep
  • Three-Car Garage: 27 feet wide by 20 feet deep


This handout is only a summary of the R-1 Development Standards. See Chapter 1, Article 4 of Division 9 of the
Torrance Municipal Code for the complete standards. Additional Community Development Department handouts are available at the Community Development Department on how to calculate: FAR, building height, and, average setbacks.

Prepared by Torrance Community Development Department June 2002.