Shoreland Protection Act

Effective July 1, 2014, the Vermont Legislature passed the Shoreland Protection Act (Chapter 49A of Title 10, §1441 et seq), which regulates shoreland development within 250 feet of a lake’s mean water level for all lakes greater than 10 acres in size. The intent of the Act is to prevent degradation of water quality in lakes, preserve habitat and natural stability of shorelines, and maintain the economic benefits of lakes and their shorelands. The Act seeks to balance good shoreland management and shoreland development.

What activities need a permit or registration

Any new development, redevelopment, or clearing of a property, may require a permit or registration. A permit or registration is not required for a projects that qualify under the following transition language:

Sec. 9 Transition (PDF, 81KB)


The following are examples of projects that do not need to be registered or permitted through the Shoreland Permit Program. Refer also to 10 V.S.A Chapter 49A, Section 9. TRANSITION.

  • Maintenance of existing buildings, gardens, and lawns, without enlarging them.

  • Creation of a single six foot wide footpath to access the lake.

  • Re-construction of existing impervious areas without increasing or changing the current footprint, such as rebuilding a house, deck, or driveway within the exact same footprint.

  • Removal of 250 square feet of vegetation under three feet in height, 25 feet from the mean water level, is allowed as long as the Vegetation Management Practices are met and the duff layer is not removed.

  • Tree removal and pruning within 100 feet of the mean water level using the Vegetation Management Practices.


The following activities may be registered once per parcel, for the lifetime of the parcel:

  • Creation of less than or equal to 100 square feet of cleared area or impervious surface at least 25 feet from mean water level of the lake.

  • Creation of less than or equal to 500 square feet of cleared area or impervious surface at least 100 feet from the mean water level of the lake.

Application Process (Registrations, Permits & Fees)

It is strongly recommended that applications be submitted at least 30 days before the proposed beginning date of the project. The standard minimum review times is 15 days for registrations and 40 days for permit applications.