Citizen input: shoreland standards

Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
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When it comes to construction and development activity near the lakeshore or riverbank, citizens share common concerns. This is according to input recently received at advisory committee meetings held by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Brainerd, Grand Rapids, and Fergus Falls. "We heard a lot about shoreline development and that changes are necessary to the existing rules," explained Peder Otterson, project manager for the DNR's Shoreland Rules Update Project. "The committees represent a broad cross-section of interests and viewpoints and are providing us with valuable feedback." Development standards in the use of the shoreland have changed since they were established in 1970 and revised in 1989. "Our goal is to arrive at policy recommendations that are reality-based and recognize good science," Otterson said. "It is about striking a balance and creating reasonable standards for lake and river conservation." There are ways to mitigate development impacts on water quality, explained Paul Radomski, a research scientist with the DNR in Brainerd. One way is through shoreland planned unit developments (PUDs). Called cluster developments in the original rules, PUDs were designed to allow greater housing densities with the expectation of protecting natural areas for wildlife, recreational use, and shoreland buffers. The current standards have not achieved the open space amenities originally intended. "Many citizens are seeking higher standards for planned unit developments that local communities can add to their ordinances - standards that define clustering, characterize the quantity and quality of open space, encompass provisions to protect water quality, and allow residential housing densities to be more consistent with the neighborhood," explained Radomski. The Shoreland Rules Update Project, which commenced in January at the request of the Legislature, includes extensive public participation. For more information, visit and enter shoreland rules update project in the search box.