Your editorial supporting the Legislature’s lakeshore protection bill states landowners must assume “responsibility for the people’s waters” and that this “might come as a surprise to landowners who believe a man’s home is his castle and he ought to be able to do anything he wants with his property.” This is a false premise at the heart of those pushing this legislation and often on other legislative actions that take a wide and deep swath to affect everyone instead of the few needing attention. Perhaps a surprise to the Legislature is, lakeshore property owners do, in fact, assume responsibility for the people’s waters because they are some of the people themselves who use the waters.
The pending legislation is flawed since it takes a one-size-fits-all approach requiring the introduction of trees, bushes and other vegetation near the shoreline. Other approaches might be just as effective such as concrete or other material for retaining walls to prevent erosion. The sponsors of the bill show a pictorial example of what is intended showing a tree-infested property on which the house can’t be seen well, if at all. This is nonsense and an overreach.
Many properties are small, a third of an acre or less. The 250-foot buffer zone places the total property under state regulations, and any desire by a property owner to improve any part of the property will be made onerous and probably face an expensive and time-consuming approval process.
The likely effect of requiring vegetation with loss of a wide-ranging lake view and reduced lake access points will be to devalue lakefront properties, resulting in less revenue to the state and towns. Unfortunately, unlike the private sector where, for the most part, the customer is always right, in the public sector, the government is always right.
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