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Shoreland Zoning On Maine Waterfront Properties.

Shoreland Zoning On Maine Waterfront Properties.

The do’s and don’t on the Maine waterfront, what is legal and what is a no no on the shoreline zoning areas that some real estate is lucky enough to enjoy.

The handbook on Maine shoreland zoning spells out the current ins and outs but also gets beefed up beyond the state requirements on many local water bodies around Vacationland.

So before you just plow in gung ho and then find out you are in violation, need permits, do your homework.

And consider protection of a natural resource is serious, sobering stuff.

Being a good steward to the Maine waterfront so your kids get passed on something that is clean, healthy and not ruined. Think if you were a fish trying to live in that Maine waterfront and being choked with silt from poorly or no design site development. With overworked, under-sized septic systems that leak big time.

Of erosion pouring soil and debris from on shore into the crystal clear water that slowly is becoming murky, cloudy. And vegetation springing up along the wading area in front of your new Maine waterfront property. Phosphorous, contaminants from chemicals used on the mainland that suddenly leaches into the lake, river, pond or oceanfront out front. 

Poorly designed roadways around the Maine waterfront is where over fifty percent of the problems stem from in non source point pollution or run off, erosion of topsoil.

The Maine shoreland waterfront zoning rules for building and expansion are in place for a reason. Fines are levied, penalties assessed for violations of shore land zoning regulations not out of meanness. But out of respect for the Maine waterfront and the habitat that depends on a clean natural resource. Let alone the loss of value of Maine real estate, of property listings if everyone was allowed to do anything they wanted on the waterfront 250′ shore land zoning area.

The reality, hard part of Maine waterfront properties is listings that did all the clearing, building right at the edge of the lake, pond, river or oceanfront.

But it was years ago. And knowing those procedures are grandfathered in. Done long before the rules and regulations for the Maine waterfront shoreline was hammered out in legislative committee. And you Mister New Comer to the lake in Maine are jealous of it. Want the same features that  this, this and that earlier place have. That the newiceshacklake empty unimproved lot owner on the Maine waterfront can not duplicate too because of today’s shoreland standards, ordinance.


Not going to be able to build closer than a 100′ feet from the Maine lake waterfront. So buying existing Maine properties that have those features you want that you can not create nowadays may be the direction you need to look at.

Considering existing properties and even within the regulations, replacing this wall, keeping the same spot on the lot, the exact location in the process. Calculating the area of the Maine vacation home addition, the total square footage to comply with shoreland rules in Maine for living area.

And if you find an existing Maine waterfront property listing with the modern septic, updates to make the place tip top already done, that is a big big bonus.

So you can spend more time on the water, fishing, sailing, swimming. Or out by the nightly fire in a circle of chairs. Or on the open deck grilling, chilling. Listening to Maine loons create a symphony of sound out on the lake.

If you are bent on building a Maine waterfront property and just don’t want someone else’s messed up construction knot to undo, consider what the shore land zoning rules are for unimproved lots. Check the state statutes, to see if any local additional regulations exist. To see anything and everything on the books to be wary of and work around just saved expensive heartache later. Protecting the Maine lake, river, any waterfront is the key to being a good steward. Passing it on in as good or better shape than you were lucky enough to have ownership. That’s the way to look at it from the only angle.

Get a soil test for the waterfront lot BEFORE you build. 

To know additional land is not needed at a king’s ransom across the road for your leach field. So you can figure out if the way way higher engineered, expensive system on the dinky lot with other people’s wells and septic systems too close cause additional heavy duty ching ching. Or you suddenly decide you don’t want what looks like a dead whale with a white mainelakeviewsnorkel “blow hole” is out back of the new waterfront property in Maine you would like to build.

Measure off the side lines and survey them if not apparent on the Maine waterfront property.

Talk to the neighbors BEFORE you buy to make sure you are not getting started off on the wrong foot by cutting a tree that is not yours to be sawing, chopping.

And the land on that Maine lake or river will still be what you hope to build on after using the lot for the fifth wheel camper fit on the lot. For a few years until the recreational bank account builds up.

Or suddenly the Maine waterfront dream spot becomes a nightmare. With changes, modifications to the plans that add expense and take away from the joy of building to get just what you want.

And then second guessing the Maine waterfront land lot purchase.

Wishing you had bought existing, grandfathered in Maine waterfront property to enjoy. To pass on to your kids, for lots of never fade happy memory making around Maine waterfront property get together traditions. And never buy before checking the title to the Maine waterfront property either to make sure like what’s out front of the property is squeaky clean too.

I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker

207.532.6573   |  [email protected]   

MOOERS REALTY 69 North Street Houlton ME 04730


Andrew Mooers

Welcome to our Maine real estate website. I am the father of four grown children, have listed, marketed, sold properties for over forty years. Lots of changes in the real estate industry over that many decades and daily we re-invent our job. I grew up on a Maine farm that I bought from by three older brothers. My youngest son continues in the tradition on that same Maine farm. Here to help with property searches for homes, farms, land, waterfront, multi housing rentals, small mom and pop business listings.

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