Here are some things to think about when buying or building on waterfront properties:

Site plan control

Before you build on a waterfront lot you must enter into an agreement with the Town. You must provide a site plan drawing that outlines:

  • the location and size of buildings
  • landscaping
  • pathways
  • septic systems
  • natural features on site (such as wetlands, streams, etc.)

You can find more information about this process on the site plan page.

Original shore road allowances

Many of the original shore road allowances (OSRAs) along the lakes and rivers in Huntsville are owned by the Town.

If you have structures or plan to build on the OSRA abutting your property (such as docks and boathouses), you will be required to purchase it or enter into a license of occupation.

For more information, visit the close a shore road allowance page.

Shoreline buffers

The zoning by-law protects natural vegetation along the water's edge. This is the “shoreline buffer”.

Shoreline buffer requirements

  • Maintain in a natural state except for removal of dead and decaying vegetation
  • Maintain across a minimum 75% of the lot, measured along the shoreline
  • Maintain a minimum depth of 15 metres measured back from the shoreline
  • Total width of all structures and amenity areas cannot exceed 15 metres or 25% of the lot frontage, whichever is less

See the re-vegetation of shoreline buffers policy for more information.

Why are shoreline buffers so important?

Shoreline buffers protect the health of waterbodies and contribute to the natural beauty of Huntsville.

The shallow water and the first 20 metres of the land around lakes and rivers forms a “ribbon of life”. Most lake life is born, raised and fed in this area. A healthy shoreline buffer supports fish habitat and reduces erosion and runoff into the water.

Fish habitat

The zoning by-law requires a 30 metre setback from Type 1 fish habitat for all development (except docks). If you want to build closer than 30 metres to Type 1 fish habitat, you'll need to apply for a planning relief. You'll also need to provide a report from a biologist that supports a reduced setback.

Why is fish habitat so important?

The Province provides the Town with the location of fish habitat. Type 1 fish habitat is very sensitive to the impact of development. Disturbing fish habitat can result in the loss of fish population.

Build a dock or boathouse

To find out about building a shoreline structure, visit the construct a dock or a boathouse page to find out the next steps.