Per Jeff McClung of McClung Surveying, in 2005, the state of Georgia implemented new stream buffer restrictions. Over the past few years, these restrictions have become a major problem for some home buyers and existing homeowners wanting to make improvements to their property. Nowadays, you are 4-5 times more likely to encounter a property with stream buffer restrictions than property being located in a flood zone. It is important to be informed about this issue facing homebuyers today.
The stream buffer laws set by the state started small at 25 feet and have slowly grown to 75 feet from the edge of the bank on each side in most metro Atlanta counties, and it’s becoming more difficult to obtain a variance for new construction within these areas. These buffers are intended to protect the environment against pollution and increased storm water runoff. Stream buffers also known as impervious and riparian buffers, are bands of vegetation bordering a body of water or drainage areas that play a crucial role is promoting public health by protecting water quality. The type of vegetation in the buffer depends upon the climate and buffers the stream from anything that flows into it – polluted water, eroding soil or toxic chemicals. Many fish species need cool water and steam vegetation provides shade to keep streams cool. Leaves falling into the stream provide food for insects that fish eat. Roots help stabilize stream banks also provide shelter for wildlife as they drink from waterways.
McClung Surveying has encountered as many as 30 to 40 properties per month affected by stream buffers. Some properties have had buffer lines running through the house which makes it very difficult to obtain building permits to add many new improvements to the house in those buffer line areas. Only the existing house and improvements would be grandfathered into the stream buffer lines. To give you a example of how big of an issue this is…in the past 10 days, they have worked on three properties, two of which were small half acre lots and on that was 3.8 acres, the total negative loss of value for just those three lots was around 2 million dollars for the owners. Due to these numbers, stream buffers can be a big deal to a purchaser.
Stream buffer requirements may not show up on older surveys. A homebuyer should always get a survey of the property they are purchasing. Premier Homes By Angela, will assist you thorough this process and connect you with surveyor resources.
Premier Homes By Angela awaits your call to assist you with buying or selling your home, (844) 385-SOLD. Our goal is to be your For Life REALTOR® as we assist in building the communities of Atlanta up through homeownership. We provide you with educated, knowledgeable guidance that can only be made with accurate, reliable, and projected market information. We use proven repeatable systems for client successful results. We are happy to be a trusted professional resource for you and your family. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with this blog, we look forward to answering any questions you may have and to the opportunity to be your REALTOR® in the future. Your Dream Our Mission, we are the KEY to your real estate experience!