A Guide for Buying and Managing Shoreland

Section 6: Statewide Shoreland Management Standards

Minnesota DNR statewide minimum shoreland standards apply to all lakes greater than 25 acres (10 acres in municipalities) and rivers with a drainage area two square miles or greater. These standards apply to the use and development of shoreland property including: a sanitary code, minimum lot size and water frontage, building setbacks and heights, land use, BMPs, shoreland alterations, subdivision and PUD regulations. The Shoreland Management Act regulates all land within 1,000 feet of a lake and 300 feet of a river and its designated floodplain. Upon notification by DNR Waters, local governmental units having shorelands are required to adopt these or stricter standards into their zoning ordinances.

Statewide Minimum Shoreland Standards for Sewered Lakes

Lake Class

Lakeshore

Non-Lakeshore

 

Lot Width (ft.)

Lot Area (sq. ft.)

Structure Setback (ft.)

Shore Impact Zone (ft.)*

Lot Width (ft.)

Lot Area (sq. ft.)

Natural Environment

125

40,000

150

75

125

20,000

Recreational Development

75

20,000

75

37.5

75

15,000

General Development

75

15,000

50

25

75

10,000

Statewide Minimum Shoreland Standards for Unsewered Lakes

Lake Class

Lakeshore

Non-Lakeshore

 

Lot Width (ft.)

Lot Area (sq. ft.)

Structure Setback (ft.)

Shore Impact Zone (ft.)*

Lot Width (ft.)

Lot Area (sq. ft.)

Natural Environment

200

80,000

150

75

200

80,000

Recreational Development

150

40,000

100

50

150

40,000

General Development

100

20,000

75

37.5

150

40,000

Statewide Shoreland Minimum Standards for Rivers

River Class

River Shoreland

 

Lot Width (ft.)

Structure Setback (ft.)

Shore Impact Zone (ft.)*

Sewage Setback (ft.)

Remote

300

200

100

150

Forested

200

150

75

100

Transition

250

150

75

100

Agricultural

150

50/100**

25/50**

75

Urban & Tributary

75/100**

50/100**

25/50**

75

* Shore Impact Zone -- area immediately adjacent to lake or river that is critical to preserving water quality, wildlife habitat and visual screening of the developed area farther back from the shore. Within it, restrictions apply to the placement and size of structures, vegetation removal and shoreland alterations (grading and filling).

** Sewered/Unsewered

 

Other general standards that apply to all shoreland lots:

  • Building Elevation must be a minimum of 3 feet above the highest known water elevation.
  • Sewage System Elevation must be a minimum of 3 feet above the highest groundwater level or bedrock for all lake and river classes. A conforming sewage treatment system is required for all future development and any site improvements.
  • Impervious Surfaces are not permitted to cover more than 25 percent of the total lot.

The standards specified in the tables and text above have been adopted by most counties and many cities into their local zoning ordinances. Stricter local standards may apply. Check local zoning office for guidance and approval.

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Related Web pages
DNR LakeFinder
DNR Lakes information
DNR Wetlands information
DNR Rivers and streams information
DNR Restore Your Shore Guide
DNR Waters - Shoreland Management Program
DNR Waters - Shoreline Alteration Information Sheets
Current Minnesota Shoreland Rules (cross-linked with Statement of Needs and Reasonableness - Microsoft Word ® document)
Minnesota Sea Grant - Minnesota Shoreland Management Resource Guide