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Waterfront FAQs


What does riparian mean?
‘Riparian’ refers to lands bordering along a natural water feature such as a lake, river, or stream, and the wetland areas adjacent to them.
Are there special zoning rules for riparian lands?
Yes, within Evangeline Township, there are special zoning regulations pertaining to riparian lands. Parcels with frontage along Lake Charlevoix, Walloon Lake, or Lake Evangeline (formerly Mud Lake) are subject to those special zoning regulations, and landowners are encouraged to contact the zoning office PRIOR to making any land development changes to their parcels. Please see Waterfront Development for more info.
Which lot line is the front of a riparian parcel?
Parcel orientation for riparian lands is such that the waterfront edge of the lot is designated as the ‘front’ lot line regardless of how the primary dwelling may be situated on the parcel.
What is the setback for new development on waterfront lots?
New land development on waterfront lots must maintain a minimum setback distance of 50-feet landward of the high-water level elevation, with an increased minimum setback distance of 100-feet for areas identified as Shoreline Steep Slopes. (See Section 3.07 & 5.11 of the Evangeline Township Zoning Ordinance (ETZO).
Are there any requirements for shoreline development on riparian parcels?
Yes, all waterfront parcels must maintain a ‘Natural Vegetation Waterfront Buffer Strip’ ranging between 25 to 50-feet of depth (proportional to the minimum required setback as mentioned above) in which the natural vegetation shall be preserved and if required supplemented by planting a mixture of native species trees and low growing woody shrubs.
Can trees and vegetation be removed from the area within 25-feet of the shoreline?
Not without a permit. Pursuant to Section 3.06 E, "No existing vegetation, living or dead, including stumps and root systems shall be removed from within the Natural Vegetation Waterfront Buffer Strip (NVWBS) without a site inspection and written approval to do so from the Zoning Administrator." (See Section 3.06 E of the ETZO.)
Are there other permits besides zoning required for development of riparian parcels?
Yes, any land development (construction and/or landscaping) activities planned for a location in a wetlands area, within the floodplain or at the land-water interface, requires a state approved permit issued by EGLE (formerly the DEQ) PRIOR to applying for a zoning permit from the township or building permit from the county.