Renovating or remodeling a property comes with its own set of challenges, but when the property is located near a lake, the complexities can multiply. In this blog post, we share insights from Bill, the owner of Vermont Renovation and Remodeling, as he navigates a project at the picturesque Grand Isle.

Understanding the Guidelines

One of the first hurdles in lakeside construction is understanding and adhering to the guidelines set by the Shoreline Protection Agency of Vermont. These guidelines dictate what can be built and where, especially when it comes to new structures like garages.

Bill takes us through a current project, a house located just about 30 feet away from the lake. He explains that measuring the distance from the lake isn’t as straightforward as it seems. The height of the lake can affect measurements, and property surveys are often necessary for accuracy.

The Client’s Vision and the Reality of Setbacks

In this project, the client’s vision was to build a 3 or 4-bay garage. However, the property’s limited space and strict setback rules posed significant challenges. Bill points out the neighboring properties, which were built closer to the lake than current regulations allow. These properties were ‘grandfathered’ in, illustrating how building regulations have evolved over time.

Exploring the Options

Bill then takes us through the proposed locations for the garage, each with its own set of challenges. The first location was too close to the lake, the second would require cutting down and replanting cedars, and the third was near the neighbor’s line, which would obstruct the house’s view.

The most intriguing option was the septic mound system. This unique feature, which filters the septic system, was located at the most ideal spot for the garage. The team is currently working with the state to understand the rules around building on such a location.

The Importance of Doing Your Homework

Bill emphasizes the importance of doing your homework before starting any construction project. He warns against trying to bypass regulations, as it could lead to having to tear down the entire structure. He advises property owners to contact the state and play by their rules, as they are the ones who ultimately decide what can and cannot be done.

In this project, Bill and his team at Vermont Renovation and Remodeling are not only dealing with the challenges of this particular project but are also providing valuable insights for anyone looking to build near a lake. He reminds us that while your ideal spot for a structure might not be feasible due to regulations, with careful planning and understanding of the rules, you can still achieve a successful project.

Stay tuned for more updates on this project, and feel free to share your questions, comments, and concerns. Thanks for reading!

About the author 

Bill Wockenfuss

Bill is a Remodeling and General Contractor located in Colchester VT Serving the Greater Burlington Vermont Area 

%d bloggers like this: