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Summary of Shoreland Zoning and Platting Standards

Frequently Asked Questions

Aitkin County Lakes are classified by the DNR as General Development(GD), Recreational Development (RD), or Natural Environment (NE) Lakes.

For new Plats: Lot sizes should be as follows:

       Class -  Area     -       Waterline Width:

  • GD - 20,000 sq ft - 100 feet (riparian) or 40,000 sq ft 150 feet (non-riparian)
  • RD - 40,000 sq ft - 150 feet
  • NE - 80,000 sq ft - 200 feet

Substandard Lots:  All lots that do not meet the minimum lot area, length of water frontage, structural setbacks or other dimensional standards are classified as "Substandard Lots"

Lots of record in the County Recorder’s Office prior to the date of enactment of the County Ordinance (prior to 1992), which do not meet the above requirements will be allowed as building sites. But structural setbacks must be met.

Minimum Building Setback from Lake:

  • GD 75 feet from ordinary high water level
  • RD 100 feet from ordinary high water level
  • NE 150 feet from ordinary high water level

Road Setbacks:

  • 50 feet from the right-of-way of Federal, State, or County Highways
  • 30 feet from the right-of-way of Township or other minor roads

Side Location:

All structures (including decks and overhang) are to be 10 feet from the lot line in Shoreland areas and 20 feet outside the Shoreland area.

Variances for building locations may be allowed upon appeal to the Board of Adjustment, provided a hardship situation exists.


Setback of Soil Absorption Systems from ordinary high water level:

  • GD Lakes, Rivers, or Streams 75 feet
  • RD Lakes 75 feet
  • NE Lakes 150 feet

Distance From: Septic Tanks - Drainfields

  • Lot Line 10 feet-10 feet
  • Residence 10 feet-20 feet
  • Deep Well (50’+) 50 feet-50 feet
  • Shallow Well (49’-) 50 feet-100 feet

Minimum Size Septic Tank Drainfields

  • 1-2 bedroom 1000 gallon
  • 3 bedroom 1000 gallon*       *Size determined by
  • 4 bedroom 1000 gallon*        type of soil &
  • 5 bedroom 1500 gallon*        percolation data