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bad shoreland development

Protect Vermont’s Lakes; Contact Your Legislator

As you may know, the Vermont legislature is discussing a bill to keep pollution out of lakes and ponds across the state. The bill, H.223, is smart, forward-thinking and long overdue legislation that is based on undisputed science.We need your help right now to be sure this bill is successful!

The Agency of Natural Resources, VNRC, the Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds, the Lake Champlain Committee, the Conservation Law Foundation and Vermont lakeshore property owners have all spoken in favor of the lakeshore protection bill, H.223, which would bring protections for our lakes and ponds closer to the levels of our New England neighbors.

The problem is, lawmakers have been hearing from opponents of the bill, many of whom may think it adds more restrictions than it actually does. We need your help to push back and set the record straight!

The bill:

  • Assures strong property values well into the future for camps and houses along lakes because it will help keep pollution – like that which encourages algal growth, for example – from flowing into the water
  • Promotes wildlife habitat
  • Helps keep water (a public resource) safe for swimming, drinking and other recreation
  • Protects properties from flood damage
  • Helps the critical tourism economy
  • Avoids hugely expensive, after-the-fact lake lake and pond cleanup costs, borne by both lakeshore property owners and taxpayers

The bill sets up a regulatory program establishing a shoreline protection zone along the edges of lakes and ponds. Property owners who want to build within that zone would be required to seek a permit either from the town or the state. Maine, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin among other states have similar programs in place. The bill does not address rivers.

The bill has plenty of flexibility for landowners. For example, exemptions in the bill include:

  • Existing buildings, decks and paths
  • Existing lawns, gardens and other non-building uses
  • Trimming of vegetation to create views

This important measure increases water quality protection and at the same time preserves landowner flexibility, allowing owners to enjoy views and uses of their property. The bill will help protect lakes and ponds from the huge costs of the persistent pollution problems that continue to plague many of our waterways.

So please, help us by supporting H.223 by calling your lawmakers now.

You can find your Senators and Representatives here and once you know who they are, please call and leave a message for them today if possible at the State House at 802-828-2228. In your message, tell them your name, your town, and that you support H.223, the shorelands bill.

If you prefer to contact legislators directly by phone or email, you can find that contact information here.

Please act now . . . and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Jake Brown at 802-223-2328 x111.

Save the date: there will be a critical public hearing on H.223 March 12 in Montpelier. Please stay tuned for details.