August 17, 2010

Governor Tim Pawlenty rejected two sets of rules that regulate how property owners may develop lakeshore property. Governor Pawlenty explained his action noting the rules “create a one-size fits-all standards” that apply statewide.  In his letter to Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Holsten Governor Pawlenty explained: The rules you forwarded to me regarding these issues do not strike a proper balance between protection of our lakes and waterways and the equally important right of our citizens to enjoy them and their property.”

In 2007 the Minnesota Legislature ordered the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to develop regulations regarding lakeshore development.

Certain land owners and organizations supporting property rights objected to the proposed regulations of which included minimum setbacks for new homes, developments and redevelopment of lakeshore property.  The proposed rules restricted paved surface to address stormwater runoff and mandated upgrades of septic systems upon sale or when building permits are issued.  The rules also called for buffer zones of vegetation near shoreline areas.

Environmental groups and legislators who were pushing the DNR to act expressed disappointment in the Governor’s action.  The rules, which were last revised 21 years ago, are designed to minimize impacts to sensitive lake ecosystems.  The regulation of lakeshore and shoreland is controversial because it involves overlapping jurisdiction of the DNR and units of local government.  The regulations affect how individual landowners may use their property.

For more information about the regulations and the Governor’s recent action please visit the DNR’s website at: and a story from the Minneapolis Star Tribune at:

The environmental attorneys at Hessian & McKasy’s Environmental Law Attorney Practice Group work with clients in responding to proposed regulations.  We also represent property owners in real estate transactions including the purchase and sale of property including lakeshore property. Our environmental lawyers and real estate lawyers regularly deal with local governmental approvals, permits and all other issues that arise in the real estate field.

The views here are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, Hessian & McKasy, P.A. Does this topic interest you?  If you would like to see new posts, please provide your e-mail address in the space at the top of this page.