Shoreland District Management

The uncontrolled use of shoreland in Benton County, Minnesota affects the public health, safety and general welfare, not only by contributing to pollution of public waters, but also by impairing the local tax base. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the public health, safety and welfare to provide for the wise subdivision, use and development of shoreland along public waters. The Legislature of Minnesota has delegated responsibility to local governments of the state to regulate the subdivision, use and development of the shoreland of public waters and thus preserve and enhance the quality of surface waters, conserve the economic and natural environmental values of shoreland, and provide for the wise use of waters and related land resources. This responsibility is hereby recognized by Benton County.

Frequently Used Terms

  • Shoreland is defined as land being located within 1,000 feet of the ordinary high water level of a lake or within 300 feet of a river or stream or the landward side of a flood plain on such river.
  • The shoreland impact area is defined as half the required building setback.
  • A bluff is defined as a topographic feature with an average slope of 30% or greater and rises at least 25 feet above the ordinary high water level.
  • The bluff impact zone is defined as 30 feet from the top of a bluff.
  • The ordinary high water level is defined as an elevation delineating the highest water level that has been maintained for a sufficient period of time to leave evidence on the landscape.


A Land Use Permit (PDF) is required for the construction of a structure, building, deck, shed or similar structure within Benton County. A Shoreland Alteration Permit (PDF) may be required if an area within the shoreland is being filled, graded or vegetation altered. For additional information or if you have questions please contact the Planning & Zoning Department at 320-968-5065.

You may apply online or mail in a paper application.