winter scenery
Printer Friendly Version  Email A Friend  Add This  Increase Text Size  Decrease Text Size

Shoreland

The areas around lakes are subject to special rules and regulations intended to protect water quality and minimize the visual impacts of development. The shoreland area extends 1000 feet from the Ordinary High Water level of any DNR classified lake. This entire area is subject to the shoreland regulations.

Lake Classifications

Not all lakes are treated the same by the Douglas County Zoning Ordinance. Lakes are zoned differently based on size and depth. There are three lake classifications: general development (largest size, lowest restrictions), recreational development (medium size, medium restrictions), and natural environment (smallest size, greatest restrictions). The Douglas County Ordinance is based on this classification system.

For more information about zoning regulations for a particular lake classification, click on the links in the text above. To find out what a particular lake is classified, see our Lake Classification Listing. As you access each section, use your browser's Back button to return to this page.

The information provided is in Adobe Acrobat format.

Shoreland Alteration Permits

The public has a responsibility to help protect our lakes and rivers. Douglas County Land and Resource Management restricts certain types of landscaping and building within the sensitive area known as the Shore Impact Zone or Upland Buffer Zone.

Clearing of vegetation must be minimized in the Shore Impact Zone in order to maintain a buffer for stormwater runoff from the lawn and other potential sources of pollution. The buffer also provides natural wildlife habitat and protection from shoreline erosion. Drawing used with permission from MN DNR.

The Shore Impact Zone (SIZ) is the area from the ordinary high water mark upland to half the distance of the building setback for the zoning district. These distances are summarized below:

 

Setbacks near unsewered lakes

Setbacks near lakes sewered before 1/2001

Setbacks near lakes sewered after 1/2001

Natural Environment Lake

Structure- 150 feet
SIZ- 75 feet

Structure- 150 feet
SIZ- 75 feet

Structure- 150 feet
SIZ- 75 feet

Recreational Development Lake

Structure- 100 feet
SIZ- 50 feet

Structure- 75 feet
SIZ- 37.5 feet

Structure- 100 feet
SIZ- 50 feet

General Development Lake

Structure- 75 feet
SIZ- 37.5 feet

Structure- 50 feet
SIZ- 25 feet

Structure- 75 feet
SIZ- 37.5 feet

Structures are not allowed within the Shore Impact Zone. Stairways and landings are allowed with a Shoreline alteration Permit (SAP). All landscaping projects within the Shore Impact Zone require a SAP as well. Three types of SAPs are issued, Standard, Major and Minor, depending on the type and size of the project. Land and Resource Management staff will determine what type of permit is required.

Removal of Shoreline Vegetation:

It is a good idea to arrange a site visit with Land and Resource Management staff before beginning any shoreline work. You can do this by calling (320) 762-3863. Removal of vegetation below the ordinary high water line (OHW) is regulated by the MN Department of Natural Resources. Above the OHW intensive vegetation removal is not allowed. Limited clearing (25% or up to 25 feet of the shoreline frontage) is allowed with a Shoreline Alteration Permit issued by Land and Resource Management. A Shoreline Alteration Permit is also required for any type of landscaping, construction, dirt work or excavation within the shore and/or bluff impact zones.

For more information on how to manage a shoreline with little environmental impact, see our Owning Lakeshore in Douglas County Brochure.