Shoreland Development


The uncontrolled use of shorelands affects the public health, safety, and general welfare, not only by contributing to pollution of public waters, but by impairing the local tax base.

Therefore, it is in the best interest of public health, safety, and welfare, to provide for the wise subdivision and development of the shorelands of public waters. The Minnesota Legislature has delegated responsibility to local governments to regulate the subdivision, use and development, of the shorelands of public waters, to preserve and enhance the quality of surface waters, to conserve the economic and natural environmental values of shorelands, and to provide for the wise use of waters and related resources.

Shoreland areas are defined as: Land located within the following distances of public waters: 1,000 feet from the ordinary high water mark of a lake, pond, or flowage, 300 feet from a river or stream, or the landward extension of a designated floodplain, whichever is greater.

The Waseca County Shoreland Ordinance (which is contained in the Waseca County Unified Development Code) was adopted by the Waseca County Board to regulate development within shoreland areas.

Permits are required for most development within shoreland areas which are governed by the Shoreland Management Ordinance which is a part of the Waseca County Unified Development Code. The classification of lakes as well as setbacks, maximum impervious surface coverage, bluffs, vegetation and topographic alterations are addressed in this ordinance. Information regarding the altering of shoreland can be found on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website. Grading and Filling and Erosion Control permits are required if you plan to move more than 5 cubic yards of earth within the shore impact zone (one half the setback distance) or on a steep slope. All other shoreland areas require a permit if you plan to move more than 50 cubic yards within 1000 feet of the lake. Plans to place fill or excavated material on steep slopes must be reviewed by qualified professionals for continued slope stability and must not create finished slopes of thirty percent (30%) or greater over a rise greater than 15 feet from the toe of the slope to the top of the slope. Fill or excavated material must not be placed in Bluff Impact Zones.

Any alterations below the ordinary high water level of public waters must first be authorized by the Commissioner of the DNR under Minnesota Statutes, Section 103G.245. Contact the local area DNR hydrologist at (507) 389-2151.

A subsurface sewage treatment system (SSTS) must have been issued a current

Certificate of Compliance before an application for a zoning permit (for construction of a new or remodeled structure) can be approved.