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When referencing both the International Mechanical Code and International Building Code neither one specify a speration distance from the thimble to the clean-out. The do specify the minimum distance below the lowest chimney inlet opening. Here is the direct reference.
From the Mechanical Code book...
801.13 Cleanouts. Masonry chimney flues shall be providedwith a cleanout opening having a minimum height of6 inches(152 mm). The upper edge ofthe opening shall be located notless than 6 inches (152 mm) below the lowest chimney inletopening. The cleanout sh
From the IBC....
Ooops didn't paste the right one.
From the IBC...
2113.18 Masonry chimney cleanout openings. Cleanoutopenings shall be provided within 6 inches (152 mm) ofthebase of each flue within every masonry chimney. The upperedge of the cleanout shall be located at least 6 inches (152mm) below the lowest chimney inlet opening. The height ofthe opening shall be at least 6 inches (152 mm). The cleanoutshall be provided with a noncombustible cover.
These are the only clearance references in the code about the placement of clean-outs in a masonry chimney.