ChipLakeNEWS InfoSheet

This InfoSheet is number: 21

Summary: Answers to a question about how long a dock/wharf can be on a Maine Lake.

CLIC member's RESPONSES (thru Noon, 8/10) to the question: "How far out from shore can a person run a continuous wharf on East Grand?"
Response #1
Not sure there's any need to include my name with this -- I certainly don't want to be quoted and have someone come by and tell me my dock is too long.
1) Perhaps the new member should check with the town government where his camp is located. Since local ordinances seem to regulate the amount that you can expand a camp, it would seem that the town would also be the group that determines dock length.
2) I've never measured my dock, but I believe it is longer than 24 feet and only about 2 feet is on the shore.
3) Since the purpose of a dock is usually to be able to get into a boat, the length of the dock should allow the boat to have enough draft so people can board it. My drop off is very gradual so my 17 foot boat needs to be at least 8-10 feet from the shore end of the dock when the lake is this high
4) the dock at Rideouts is very long -- most of it floats of course.
Name withheld by request.
Response #2
The first part of the answer is, "It depends on the town, and country."
Another part of the answer is the question, "With, or without special town permission?" I know that in Weston, ME, any wharf over 20 feet requires planning board approval. There is no absolute length limit stated in the Weston, ME Shoreland Zoning regulations. The way to get the correct answer is to ask the town officials of the town that your property is in. Russ Heinselman
Response #3
Build it any damn length you want and rent a chain saw if someone makes you. :-) Name withheld by request.
Response #4
Sorry. I don't know the answer. (Usually, that would not stop me from discoursing at length.) Maine Division of Fish and Wildlife might be a quick resource. When you get an answer I'd like to know too. Bob Landau
Response #5
Good idea, submitting such a question. Carl Beaulieu
Response #6
Maine regs set the limit at 100 feet. Each town may make their own ordinances and, of course, with the state setting the limit at 100 feet, towns usually will allow variances upon specific request, depending on the individual circumstances (and how the board feels that night). Name withheld by request.
Response #7
If you get a definitive answer on this, I would like to know, as my wharf might be affected.
Thanks for keeping CLIC members updated on all the issues. Darrell Keay
Response #8
I have a friend who works at the [Maine?] DEP, and her answer is the following:
The person to ask is Carol Dibello, Submerged Lands Coordinator. Her number is 207-287-4922; e-mail East Grand Lake is a flowed lake, therefore publicly owned. Submerged land is land below the natural (low-water) mark prior to dam construction. The submerged land supervisor estimates that for East Grand Lake, structures in less than 6 feet of water (Editor's Note: The Forest City Dam controls the top 6.3 feet of water when the lake is "full - at the top of the dam.") are not on publicly owned submerged lands, and do not require a conveyance from the Bureau of Parks and Lands. Should the wharf extend over deeper water a conveyance from the Submerged Lands Program may be needed. A permanent structure that covers less than 500 square feet over submerged lands requires an easement; a permanent structure larger than 500 square feet requires a lease. Seasonal structures covering less than 500 square feet over submerged lands may be exempt. Other review agencies may include local [municipal] review, DEP, LURC, or the Army Corps of Engineers.
Faye Luppi
In summary, it sounds to me that if the water your wharf is in (or even over) is less than 6 feet deep when the lake is full, only your town thinks it should be able to limit the length of your wharf and if you want your (possibly even very short) seasonal wharf to stand in water that is, for example, five feet deep when the lake is down two feet, i.e., it stands on submerged public property, you're probably exempt from requiring an easement or lease from the state even though your wharf is not on your own property...unless it's larger than 500 square feet and then you might need an easement or a lease. Response #3 seems to have growing validity. :-)
No apparent responses were from the New Brunswick side, all were from the Maine point of view...except perhaps, Response #3. :-)

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