Residents divided over shoreline protection plan - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Residents divided over shoreline protection plan

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

The public still has questions about the proposed Lake Shoreland Protection Commission bill.

Cardy Raper owns property on Lake Champlain.

"I think people are probably worried about 'Do I have to change the property I have?' or 'Do I have an obscure view of the lake by planting a lot of trees?'" said Raper.

The commission was established by the Vermont legislature this year. The bill focuses on cleaner lakes and ponds and implements new regulations to better the quality of state waters.

"We learned that Vermont shoreland condition is substantially less good than our other New England states. So we feel we're behind on this issue," explained Susan Warren with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

The bill isn't set in stone but focuses on different standards for re-developed or expanded properties, currently undeveloped shores where natural vegetation is, and existing small lots.

"It's unknown yet what the rules will look like so people aren't sure how it's going to affect them if they already own property on the shore," said Warren.

The bill has already passed through the house but was held off from review from the Senate. The committee wanted to take time to hammer out all the details with the public. And while some community members and property owners are in favor, others are seeing red flags.

"Everything we can do to help preserve or increase the quality of the lake we should do," said Raper.

"What's right for Lake Champlain isn't necessarily right for the rest of the waters in the state," argued Bill Steinmetz, president of the Lake Saint Catherine Association.

Legislators plan to have the bill reviewed by the Senate in January of 2014. In the meantime, legislators say they want feedback from the public until a decision is made in January.

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