Shoreland Zoning

What are the "shorelands?" The shorelands are defined as those lands within 1,000 feet of a lake, pond or flowage and those lands within 300 feet of a river or stream.


Activities that take place within 35 feet of a lake, river, stream, pond or flowage.
It helps to envision this area as a strip of land 35 feet wide that parallels the shoreline. This area is commonly referred to as the shoreline vegetation protection area, buffer zone, buffer area or buffer strip. The zoning ordinance specifically states that within 35 feet of the lake, with very few exceptions, the removal of trees, shrubs and ground cover, mowing, and filling, grading and other land disturbing activities are prohibited. Typical exceptions include the establishment of use corridors for access to the waterway, removal of dead and diseased trees, removal of noxious vegetation and the creation and maintenance of watercraft launching sites.

Regulations protect the buffer zone and enhances the preservation of the trees, shrubs and ground cover thereby controlling runoff from buildings and impervious surfaces and provides habitat for birds and wildlife.

Land Disturbance Within the Shorelands

Land disturbing activities are defined as construction, grading, filling, dredging, ditching, excavating or other activities which result in the temporary or permanent removal of vegetative cover. Typical examples are construction activities on steep slopes, the creation of boat landings, access roadways and paths. Basically, if soil is newly exposed and visible, a land disturbing activity has occurred.

Land disturbing activities that exceed 10,000 square feet in area and are within 300 feet of a waterway require the prior issuance of a land use permit by the Zoning Department. Other land disturbing activities not requiring a permit may still take place provided that they are conducted in such a manner designed to minimize erosion, sedimentation and the impairment of fish and wildlife habitat. Typical minimization techniques are the installation of silt fencing, straw bale barriers, berms, retention ponds and seed and mulch.

Why regulate? Uncontrolled land disturbance can result in sedimentation, erosion and the depositing of material into adjacent water bodies, thus destroying both shore land habitat and wildlife and aquatic habitat and species.