On July 1, 2014, the Shoreland Protection Act went into effect. Earlier this month, the Lakes & Ponds Program celebrated the second anniversary of the Act. During that time, over 300 applications have been received and the rate at which new applications are coming in continues to climb.
Under the Act, the creation of impervious surface or cleared area within the Protected Shoreland Area, the first 250 feet from the mean water level of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs greater than 10 acres in size, is now regulated. The intent of the law is to prevent the degradation of water quality, preserve the natural stability of our shorelines, and protect habitat while allowing for reasonable development and the shoreland owners’ access to, views of, and use of the State’s lakes.
Among applications received, the most frequent permit requests are for the expansion of existing structures located on parcels that were created and developed before the Shoreland Protection Act went into effect. Many of these parcels do not meet the 100-foot set-back required under the Act for new development. The Lakes and Ponds regulatory team works closely with these applicants to achieve their goals, while meeting the intent and the requirements of the Act. The regulatory team provides input on how applicants can incorporate best management practices to manage stormwater runoff and manage vegetation within the Protected Shoreland Area. These best management practices implemented on the landscape help protect water quality in Vermont’s Lakes and Ponds.
The Lakes and Ponds regulatory team is available to provide information about the Shoreland Protection Act and other regulatory programs including Lake Encroachment and Aquatic Nuisance Control to individual homeowners, towns and organizations. Contact a Regional Permit Analyst for more details. More information about the Shoreland Protection Act, including a brief summary of the Act and a project worksheet, to determine if your proposed project needs a permit, are available on the Lakes and Pond permitting website along with permit application materials and resources.