On February 7, 2014, H. 526 passed the Senate with a vote of 22-6.  The bill that passed out of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, summarized in the January 30, 2014 Legislative Update, was amended by the Senate in the following ways before final passage.

In addition to correcting a drafting error, the Senate Finance Committee changed the permit and registration fees and added a requirement for a report on the costs of the program.  Instead of a registration fee of 50 cents per square foot of impervious or cleared area constructed or created, the fee for a project in a protected shoreland area that requires registration will be fixed at $100.00.  Instead of a permit fee of 50 cents per square foot of impervious or cleared area created, the permit fee will be $125.00 plus 50 cents per square foot of impervious surface created.  The Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) will be required to submit a report to the Legislature by January 15, 2016 that includes the number of lake shoreland protection registrations and permits issued, the fees collected, and the cost to ANR of implementing the Lake Shoreland Protection Program.

As passed the Senate, H. 526 will also require ANR to conduct ongoing education and outreach to assist Vermonters with understanding and complying with the requirements of the law, including the publication of a Citizen’s Guide to Shoreland Protection by January 1, 2015.  The Guide must include easily understood instructions on the requirements of the law, how to apply for a permit or registration, and the activities exempt from or not subject to the requirements of the law.

The Senate made a change to the standard for allowing an expansion of an existing habitable structure on a non-conforming parcel.  As passed by the Senate, the expansion of any portion of the structure within 100 feet of the mean water level must be on the side farthest from the lake, unless ANR determines that expansion on an alternate side will have an impact on water quality that is equivalent to or less than expansion on the side farthest from the lake and the structure is not expanded toward the lake.

Since the bill was substantially changed in the Senate, H. 526 has gone back to the House for consideration.  On February 11, 2014, the House committed the bill to the Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee.

 Click here to read the current version of this bill.

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