Questions and Answers: On Waterfront Homes Which Side Is The Front?
Have you ever wondered why waterfront homes are considered to have their front doors facing the water? The answer comes from the Anne Arundel County Planning and Zoning website:
Q: Why is the front yard of a waterfront property different from a non-waterfront property?
A: On non-waterfront property, the front of a structure is oriented to the road. However, on waterfront property, since the orientation of the structure is to the water, the water side is considered the front yard. With more than 533 miles of waterfront in Anne Arundel County, this makes a significant difference since front yard setbacks are the most restrictive.
Not only are waterfront homes restricted by front yard setbacks, there are also restrictions imposed by the Critical Area Act passed in 1984. The law identified the "Critical Area" as all land within 1,000 feet of the Mean High Water Line (the average level of high tides at a given location). The Critical Area Commission oversees the development and implementation of local land use programs directed towards the Chesapeake and Atlantic coastal bays.
Non-waterfront homes could also have restrictions imposed by the Critical Area Act if they are within 1,000 feet of the water. The distance from the Mean High Water Line (or "MHW") is about 2.8 football fields, which is a long way from the water's edge when you think about it. With 533 miles of waterfront in Anne Arundel County alone (that's slightly more than the straight line distance between Annapolis Maryland and Hilton Head South Carolina - 527 miles), chances are good that if you live in Anne Arundel County you live in or near property in the Chesapeake Bay critical area.
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