This spring the Vermont General Assembly passed the Shoreland Protection Act (Act No. 172). The Shoreland Protection act goes into effect beginning July 1st and applies to activities within 250 feet of mean water level for lakes and ponds greater than 10 acres.
The intent of the Shoreland Protection Act is to prevent degradation of water quality in lakes, preserve habitat and natural stability of shorelines, and maintain the economic benefits of lakes and their shorelands. The Act outlines clear standards for the creation of cleared and impervious areas in shorelands while seeking to balance good shoreland management and development. Generally, development or redevelopment projects occurring within 250 feet of a lake’s mean water level will require owners to register or apply for a permit.
Since many shoreland properties in Vermont are already developed or are small parcels that cannot meet the new standards, these parcels are ‘grandfathered’ and are not required to meet the new shoreland standards until the owner proposes redevelopment. In the case of redevelopment on a ‘grandfathered’ parcel, we will work with homeowners so that standards are met to the extent possible.
We kicked off a summer of information sessions and field trainings at the 2014 Vermont Lake Seminar with the goal of educating shoreland owners, municipal officials, foresters, septic installers, and a variety of other stakeholders about the Shoreland Protection Act. For a schedule of the information and training sessions, which are free and open to the public, visit the Shoreland Permit Program webpage.
Please visit the Shoreland Permit Program webpage for a full explanation of the Vermont Shoreland Protection Act and additional information, including frequently asked questions, a list of Vermont lakes greater than 10 acres, and permit application instructions and worksheet. If you have additional questions or inquiries contact the Shoreland Permit ProgramatANR.WSMDShoreland@state.vt.us or 802-490-6196.