A Guide for Buying and Managing Shoreland


A Guide for Buying and Managing Shoreland

Section 3: Evaluating Shoreland Property for Purchase

Issues to consider when purchasing shoreland property

The first and most important consideration is to decide what you want from the shoreland property: a wilderness retreat to get away from people or a friendly rural neighborhood to enjoy nature and water-related activities. Before you decide on a particular piece of shoreland, it is a good idea to spend some time in the area and to gather some information about the water body and surrounding resources. Various government agencies have this type of information: local government units, the DNR (see LakeFinder), county extension offices of the University of Minnesota, and the district offices of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Local zoning ordinances and shoreland property

In addition to establishing minimum lot size, building setbacks, and sewage treatment requirements, local zoning ordinances also establish "land use" or "zoning districts." These are the same types of zoning districts that are common in cities, such as residential, commercial, and industrial districts. Before you purchase shoreland property, you need to confirm that your intended use (e.g., seasonal cabin, year-round home, resort, marina) is compatible with the zoning ordinance.

Physical characteristics to consider