The property along New England's coastline, as well as along its lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, is not only beautiful and valuable, it is also subject to an array of federal, state, and local environmental and land-use controls. Special rules apply to all kinds of activities on coastal and shoreland property, including:

  • Construction, replacement, or enlargement of houses and other structures
  • Construction of docks, piers, revetments, and seawalls
  • Changes from one type of land use to another (e.g., residential to commercial)
  • Maintenance and clearing of trees and other vegetation
  • Beach nourishment projects
  • Use and ownership of intertidal land
  • Public access to coastal and shoreland areas

These uses may trigger the need for approvals from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state departments of environmental protection, and local boards and commissions. In addition, any development in a FEMA-identified floodplain may have issues related to floodplain permits and insurance.

The attorneys in this group are experienced in all facets of coastal and shoreland property ownership. We help landowners use and enjoy their property to the fullest extent, including through development, resource conservation, and protection of property rights. When coastal and shoreland disputes cannot be settled through other means, whether with a neighbor or a government entity, we establish and enforce our clients' rights through litigation and administrative enforcement proceedings.

Firm Highlights

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FEMA National Flood Insurance Program

Verrill represents and advises waterfront landowners in all aspects of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, including appeals of floodplain map designations, permitting structures and other development in mapped floodplains, and negotiation of FEMA insurance...

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Protection of Private Coastal Property Rights for Conservation of Intertidal Habitat

Verrill successfully represented coastal landowners in first-impression litigation against a Canadian seaweed harvesting company with global operations to determine who owns the sea plants that are growing on private intertidal property in Maine. In...

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Enforcement

Verrill has negotiated and litigated with federal, state, and local entities to resolve violations related to coastal development, including homes, docks, seawalls, shoreland clearing, and commercial fishing operations. We have also negotiated beach management...

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Piers, Seawalls and Sand dunes

We have assisted clients in obtaining federal, state, and local regulatory approvals for seawalls, piers, boat ramps, other water-dependent structures, and dune nourishment projects up and down the coast of Maine.

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Shoreland Zone Development and Land Use

Verrill represents landowners and developers in siting structures in the shoreland zone (including the seacoast) and ensuring ongoing compliance with the restrictions that govern clearing and development in the shoreland zone.

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Aquaculture

Verrill represents both growers and coastal landowners regarding leasing and licensing of aquaculture enterprises.

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Coastal Property Rights in Kennebunkport

We represented coastal landowners in a high-profile appeal before the Maine Supreme Court, in which the Town of Kennebunkport claimed ownership of Goose Rocks Beach against numerous homeowners whose deeds described property down to...

Contact Verrill at (855) 307 0700