Dear YouDig?

Dear YouDig?,
We bought a gorgeous waterfront lot on the shores of Lake Erie near the adventurous Lake Erie Islands.  We love being on the water and we love boating so naturally we wanted our own dock and breakwall. Turns out we sailed straight into the storm of the century and a tidal wave of bureaucracy.  How can we build it quickly?
-Lee Ho
Dear Lee,

Yes indeed my nautical friend, the cold winds of bureaucracy blow strong when it comes to waterfront construction. Before you dock you will have to sail past a gauntlet of federal, state and local regulations designed to assess the impact on clean water, fishing, swimming, boating, nearby beaches, property values, animal habitat and local construction and design standards. Let’s not forget your chatty and nosy neighbor who may say “not so much” to your schematic. The cherry on top is the significant engineering and design costs (and RE-engineering and RE-design costs).

If that didn’t sink your ship, Lee, press on! The process starts with a submerged land lease with the State of Ohio, which controls the Lake’s waters. Next, since Lake Erie is a navigable waterway of the United States, grab a permit from the Army Corp of Engineers under the Federal Clean Water Act.

Simultaneously, you will have to obtain state and local permits for your shore structure, coastal erosion, flood plain issues and possibly other issues that may arise depending on the circumstances of your shoreline, Lee.  Still not discouraged? Hire a contractor familiar with the process and start writing checks.  Learn the language a bit so you don’t sound like a chump. Make sure you also educate yourself on the regulations ( Soon it will be anchors away and leeward ho indeed! YouDig?