Dear Expert: My lake cabin has been in the family for generations. I’m thinking about remodeling, but I’ve heard since it’s located only 50 feet from the shoreline, I won’t be allowed to. Is that true?
A. There are several variables that dictate what can and cannot be done in what is referred to as the Shore Impact Zone surrounding any Minnesota lake. Typically structures have to be at least 75 feet from the shoreline, but it depends on the ordinances of the county the property is located in and the classification of the lake. If your home or cabin was built before the county’s zoning guidelines were put in place and it’s located closer to the shoreline than it should be, you can still remodel or even rebuild in the current location, as long as certain rules are closely followed or a variance is granted by the governing authority for your location. Builders experienced in lake home and cabin construction will be able to help navigate through these technical, and oftentimes complex details so you don’t have to.
—Steve Northway, Principal, Northway Construction Services