Citizens will debate new state rules

  • Article by: Jim Spencer
  • June 23, 2010 - 10:30 AM
New, more restrictive rules for lakefront buildings and docks have been drafted and await Gov. Tim Pawlenty's transfer to an administrative law judge who will oversee public hearings around the state.

Regulators developed new standards at the request of the Legislature because decades-old rules could not keep pace with construction activity on and around the state's lakes. The administrative law judge can recommend changes to the proposed rules after the hearings.

Regulators cited a number of problems with the state's lakes: more invasive species, failing sewer treatment systems and shoreline development that creates more pollution. In addition, regulators said huge dock platforms turn public waters into private patios.

Major proposed changes for docks and for shoreline building on new residential lots include:

 Increasing minimum lot sizes and widths.

 Decreasing overall population density.

 Requiring pollution-control conditions to accompany every variance and conditional use permit that allows development outside the rules.

 Requiring buildings to be built farther from lake shore on lots served by public sewer.

 Reducing the size of accessory structures to no more than 120 square feet and prohibiting new boat houses.

 Reducing the maximum amount of solid surface covering new residential lots from 25 to 15 percent.

 Requiring special permits for the end of docks running parallel to the shoreline if they are longer than 40 feet .

 Requiring special permits for dock platforms larger than 120 square feet.

 For detailed comparisons and reasoning for major changes, go to


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