Zoning Handbook

Courtyards and Open Spaces

A court is an unoccupied space, not a court niche, open to the sky, on the same lot with a building, which is bounded on two (2) or more sides by the exterior walls of the building or by two (2) or more exterior walls, lot lines, or yards. A court may also be bounded by a single curved wall of a building.

The court regulations control the minimum distance between two building walls on the same lot that face one another, when the space between the two walls is uncovered; and the minimum area of closed courts.

Where a court is open to a yard or any lot line, the court width requirements apply only to the dimension that is parallel or nearly parallel to the opening. Court width requirements are expressed as a ratio of required width to height of a court. The height of a court is measured from the base of the court, even where the base may be on an upper story of a building. If the court is not rectangular, the width shall be the diameter of the largest circle that may be inscribed in a horizontal plane within the court.


For more information on the following topics, please see the corresponding referenced sections:

  • Structures in Required Open Spaces– Subtitle B § 324