Lake Front Property – Look Before You Leap!

Minnesota, aptly named, the Land of 10,000 Lakes, is well known for its abundance of lakes and rivers. In fact there are over 11,000 lakes over 10 acres in size, and more than 63,000 miles of natural streams and rivers. Chances are, after spending a few years here, you may eventually purchase property on or near one of these bodies of water.

Here are some issues that need to be taken into consideration before purchasing a shoreland property

Decide exactly what you want out of this property, and then do the research to determine if it will meet your needs. For instance, if you are looking for a year round home; are the roads maintained in the winter, or will you have to purchase a four-wheel drive vehicle to get around.

Are you looking for a weekend getaway for peace and relaxation Make certain this isn’t party lake central, and bustling with wakeboarders and seadoos in the summertime. On the flip side, if you are looking for a place for your high powered water toys, and all you see are kayaks parked along the docks; you may run into some problems with your neighbors.

Different districts have their own set of zoning ordinances that may not agree with your plans for the lot. There are also many lots that were created prior to the shore land rules being put in place, and some of these may be too small to house a well or septic system. Depending on the intended use of the property, the lot shape may also be a consideration.

Land elevations are extremely important to consider when deciding on a location for your home. To minimize the risk of flooding, the basement or lowest part of your house should be at least three feet above the highest known water level. Sewage treatment systems should be inspected before you make any purchase, since these have similar restrictions and may require costly upgrades.

If the lot is situated on a steep slope, in order to prevent erosion, there are very specific rules that must be adhered to. Undesirable soil conditions can add thousands of additional dollars to a sewage treatment system if there is an improper balance of soil types. In general, a filled wetland makes an unstable base and development in these areas should be avoided.

You may have plans to remove some unsightly shrubs at the water’s edge; however, there are strict rules regulating the amount of vegetation that can be removed. If you were planning to add enough fill to create a sandy beach, you would require DNR approval to make any sort of changes at or below the water’s edge. It may be to your advantage to seek out a lot that already has a sandy shoreline.

The DNR shore land standards apply to all lakes greater than 25 acres (10 acres in municipalities). It may seem like a lot of rules to conform to, but the fresh water from Minnesota’s many lakes is a valuable resource, and adhering to these standards helps to ensure our future generations share the same enjoyment of these waters.

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