What is “impervious surface” vs “pervious surface” and how does it impact the potential for future development of a waterfront property?

Impervious surface is a surface that does not permit water to run through the surface (i.e., a driveway). Pervious is the exact opposite. In a pervious surface, water can freely run through and drain from said surface. Every lot is zoned to allow a certain amount of impervious surface coverage; thus, if a particular lot … Read moreWhat is “impervious surface” vs “pervious surface” and how does it impact the potential for future development of a waterfront property?

With regards to permitting, which side of a waterfront property is considered the “front?”

The waterfront side of the property is legally considered the front of the property for permitting purposes. This has ramifications on what can be built, and what the setbacks are from the property lines. In order to avoid confusion we always refer to the “waterside” and the “street side.” Give us a call if you want … Read moreWith regards to permitting, which side of a waterfront property is considered the “front?”

What is “MLW” in water depth?

MLW stands for “mean low water.” It refers to the water depth at an average low tide. However, there are a few other factors to consider. First, the MLW measurement in the multiple list system is usually provided by the seller. Sellers have been known to “over-estimate” the MLW at their docks. Second, water depth … Read moreWhat is “MLW” in water depth?

How do I get a pier permit?

There are a number of consultants in the area who will prepare and submit a pier permit for you. I have also shown several clients who wanted to save money how to “do it yourself.” It is a fairly simple procedure once you have all the state and county forms (approval is required from both Anne … Read moreHow do I get a pier permit?

What is the difference between the critical area zone and the buffer zone?

The Critical Area is the land area 1,000 feet inland from tidal water or tidal wetlands. The buffer zone, on the other hand, has restrictions on construction, clearing, and vegetation management within the minimum 100-foot buffer along the shoreline. Other factors may increase the buffer and extend it beyond the standard 100-foot mark. Give us … Read moreWhat is the difference between the critical area zone and the buffer zone?

I measured deep water at the dock. Is there anything else to consider in determining if I can get my boat there?

Absolutely. You need to determine if there are any shallow spots or sandbars between the house you are considering and open water. These most frequently occur at the mouth of creeks and at sharp bends in creeks. You will also need to check for bridges between your dock and open water. The upper South River … Read moreI measured deep water at the dock. Is there anything else to consider in determining if I can get my boat there?

People keep telling me about the “high waterfront taxes.” Is there an additional tax on waterfront that non-waterfront homeowners do not pay?

Property taxes are based on the estimate of a property’s value (comprised of a land portion and an improvement portion and together called “the assessment”) and the tax rate per dollar of assessed value (“the mil rate”). Consequently, a waterfront and a non-waterfront property with the same assessment would both pay the same real estate taxes … Read morePeople keep telling me about the “high waterfront taxes.” Is there an additional tax on waterfront that non-waterfront homeowners do not pay?

Can the channel or slip at the pier be dredged to achieve deep water access?

Maybe. With the exception of maintenance dredging of existing channels and basins that have been previously dredged, dredging of shallow water habitats in areas of less than three feet at mean low water is not permitted unless approved by the appropriate state and federal agencies. We have worked with a number of homeowners to get … Read moreCan the channel or slip at the pier be dredged to achieve deep water access?

What is the difference between a location, boundary, elevation and a topographical survey?

A Location Survey shows the location of the improvements on the property in relation to the apparent boundary lines of the property. It generally involves a physical inspection of the property and is accurate to plus or minus a few feet. A Boundary Survey is used to identify a property’s boundary lines. In this type … Read moreWhat is the difference between a location, boundary, elevation and a topographical survey?

The slip at the house I am considering is too shallow for my boat. Can I dredge it?

Maybe. Typically the County will issue permits for dredging to the “historical depth” and if there is no sub aquatic vegetation (“SAV”) that will be destroyed. You also need to consider if tides and currents will quickly fill in the area you just dredged. We work with several people that specialize in dredging and pier … Read moreThe slip at the house I am considering is too shallow for my boat. Can I dredge it?

How does the exposure impact a waterfront property with regards to shade, sunset/sunrise views, storm exposure, etc…?

Homes on the water are exposed to greater weather elements than non-waterfront homes. Mother Nature tends to be less forgiving to a home on the water — wind and driving rain can be particularly fierce — so it is important to understand what precautions you can take to help protect your investment. Ask us about the best building materials for … Read moreHow does the exposure impact a waterfront property with regards to shade, sunset/sunrise views, storm exposure, etc…?

Having a pool on the waterside of a property seems to be a rare find. Is it difficult to get a permit to install a waterfront pool?

It is extremely difficult to get a pool permit on the waterside of a home. The main reason is that most properties do not have enough space outside of the critical area buffer in which to construct a pool. However, there are sever legal justifications that can be used to get a variance to build a … Read moreHaving a pool on the waterside of a property seems to be a rare find. Is it difficult to get a permit to install a waterfront pool?

Will I need flood insurance?

After the recent storms in New York and New Orleans, more and more properties are required to have flood insurance. If needed, the cost of the flood insurance varies widely depending on the elevation of the property and whether it is in an “A”, “B” or “C” flood-zone area. Of course, homes that are built … Read moreWill I need flood insurance?

What is a nitrogen reducing septic system and how does is impact the potential for future development of a property?

A nitrogen-reducing system consists of the advanced pre-treatment unit and the sewage disposal field. The advanced pre-treatment units used in Anne Arundel County typically replace or work in combination with the septic tank. Aeration or recirculation is used to promote biological action, resulting in the release of nitrogen as a harmless gas into the atmosphere. … Read moreWhat is a nitrogen reducing septic system and how does is impact the potential for future development of a property?