Adam Dow Real Estate

What every buyer needs to know

Buyers Guide

Building and Buildable Lots

Land surveyor:

A land surveyor is a professional who will survey your land and determine the boundaries for the property. They can also perform a perc test to determine the wetness of the soil of the property. If the property does not drain water properly, then the water remains in the soil making it too wet to have a septic system installed. If the land cannot hold a septic system, then the lot is not buildable. 

Always when purchasing land make the offer contingent on the land having a perc test and being a buildable lot.


Site assessment/Septic plan:

A surveyor can prepare a septic plan and a site assessment.

Septic plan: is needed for any new construction or for a new septic system replacing a system that is older than 5 years. It determines where the septic can be placed from the results of the perc test and it determines the relation of the septic system to the well for the proposed home.

Site assessment: is required when selling a home within 200 ft of a body of water, even if the home does not have waterfront property. If any portion of the seller’s property is within 200 ft of waterfront, it needs a site assessment. When a home is to be resold after having a site assessment, and if no changes have been made to the property, the established site assessment can be reused.

It is always good to contact the local town’s officials and ask about local building regulations and rules.  Each town can be a little different.

Also, contact local builders and ask what they know about the land and building in that area. They may have suggestions for qualified resources.


Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act

The Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act has regulations and permits needed when doing any type of construction on waterfront property. The protected shoreland is located within 250’ of water bodies.

Shoreland Permits needed:

1.   New construction or construction that modifies the footprint of existing impervious surfaces.

2.   Septic systems: New or replacing larger than previous system.

Wetlands Permit:

1.  Dock placement

Primary structures need to be 50 ft from the water (this includes decks).

Accessory structures - paths, driveways, patios, improved surfaces, pools, pump houses, woodsheds, garages and other outbuildings; limitations within 50’ of water bodies:

 - Height: 12’ max

 - Size: 1.5 square feet per linear foot of shoreland frontage

 - Setback: 20’ from water

 - May not be built on land having greater than 25% slope

 - Minimizes impacts to natural groundcover


Tree cutting regulations

Waterfront buffer is 50’ from the water. Scrubs and trees shorter than 4 ½’ are not permitted to be removed. No grass is allowed in waterfront buffer.

Tree cutting within 50’ of waterfront is done on a point and grid system. Starting at the northern or easterly property boundary, divide waterfront into 25’ x 50’ grid segments.

Each tree taller than 4 ½’ is awarded a point score based on its trunk diameter.

Point System:

Diameter of tree                                                                  Point Score

<3 inches                                                                                            1

3 to <6 inches                                                                                   5

6 to <12 inches                                                                                 10

12” or greater                                                                                   15

You have to maintain a point score of 25 per grid segment before any trees can be removed.

No fertilizer except limestone can be used within 25’ of the water. Beyond 25’, slow or controlled release fertilizer may be used.

Pesticide use is prohibited within 5 ft. 

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