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Navigating waterfront property regulations in New Hampshire

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | Land Development & Zoning

According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the Granite State boasts more than 19,000 miles of rivers and streams and over 800 lakes. These picturesque water bodies offer a unique opportunity for residential and commercial projects.

However, harnessing the potential of these waterfront gems is challenging, thanks to stringent waterfront property regulations.

Rules about where to build

A building setback line is the space between a structure and the water’s edge. Builders must navigate these setbacks to follow regulations and use the property well. Doing so helps keep the delicate shoreline habitats safe and prevents pollution from running into the water.

Laws to protect the shore

The Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act is a law to keep the water clean and the state’s lakes and rivers beautiful. This law regulates what you can do within certain distances from the shore. These rules cover things such as vegetation removal, impervious surfaces and the building of new structures.

Regulations to safeguard wetlands

Although wetlands are not ideal locations for new developments, they often exist near waterfront areas. New Hampshire has rules about protecting wetlands and the areas around them, making some projects difficult. For example, builders risk fines if they fill in or damage wetland ecosystems.

Input from the community

Developing waterfront real estate means not just following state regulations but also talking to the local community and planning boards. People’s opinions and local laws can change the direction of a project. Good builders work with the community and include its feedback in their plans.

While regulations may challenge real estate developers, they play a role in balancing economic growth with environmental preservation. By safeguarding water quality and natural habitats, New Hampshire’s state government ensures the long-term sustainability of its precious waterfront resources.