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Lakeshore regs worth reviewing

| November 17, 2022 12:00 AM

The Lake County Commissioners held a public hearing last week to consider adopting the newly revised Lakeshore Protection Regulations (LPR’s). As citizens commented, it became clear that there appeared to be a lack of understanding of the LPR’s, it’s purpose, how it came about and what it meant for lakeshore land owners and citizens of Lake County.

The 1975 Montana State Legislature passed a law tasking county government with establishing regulations for development within 20 feet of the shoreline and out into lakes larger than 160 acres. Nearly any project, repair or maintenance in the lakeshore zone has required a permit and certain requirements be met for more than 30 years.

Lake County Planning Department staff and Planning Board volunteers have spent the past couple years researching and studying impacts of lakeshore development, the science of water quality and how our riparian environments operate. They have looked at the recent history of LPR applications, permits and variances requested. They have held more than a dozen public work sessions considering comments from landowners and contractors.

The result is a draft of revised LPR’s to reflect new knowledge of lakeshore environments and ways to improve the permitting process. The new LPR’s will eliminate the requirement of obtaining a permit for some landscaping and maintenance work. Some regulations have been modified to reduce the number of variances that would be required.

The new regulations require Planning Department staff to make a reasonable attempt to contact you before visiting your property, protecting your property rights. Although the proposed new LPR’s are about 40 pages, they cover many different types of development and should be easier to read and understand.

The draft of the proposed new LPR’s is available on the Lake County website. If you have trouble accessing it, call the Planning Department. Please look them over and compare them to the existing regulations. If you agree the new ones are an improvement, please let the Lake County Commissioners know. The old existing LPR’s will continue to be enforced until the new ones are adopted.

Steve Rosso, Lake County Planning Board Member


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