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Old 08-13-2019, 09:45 AM   #1
TheTimeTraveler
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Default New Building Lot with Stream Running Through it.

So I am looking at a building lot that has a stream running right through the middle of it.

Does someone know if I can legally keep the stream, but move it 70 feet away to a nearby perimeter lot line? Obviously moving it will allow me a larger building envelope footprint.

I know wetlands can be moved if they can be replicated elsewhere on a property, but I was unsure about a seasonal stream.

Anyone out there in Forum land have any knowledge about this type of situation?
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:09 AM   #2
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Default surveyed?

Usually developers doing a subdivision try to put lot lines close to brooks, instead of in the middle of the lot. There may be drainage issues that drove the surveyor to do the layout in a particular way. Is there a drainage easement? How is it described in the deed?
You might find someone from the NH Association of Natural Resource Scientists who can help you. Members are listed on their website http://nhanrs.org
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTimeTraveler View Post
So I am looking at a building lot that has a stream running right through the middle of it.

Does someone know if I can legally keep the stream, but move it 70 feet away to a nearby perimeter lot line? Obviously moving it will allow me a larger building envelope footprint.

I know wetlands can be moved if they can be replicated elsewhere on a property, but I was unsure about a seasonal stream.

Anyone out there in Forum land have any knowledge about this type of situation?
Relocating the stream will require a Wetland Permit from NHDES. This is not something that is typically approved, especially if the stream is a perennial stream.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:53 PM   #4
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Relocating the stream will require a Wetland Permit from NHDES. This is not something that is typically approved, especially if the stream is a perennial stream.
Shore things, can you divert, dam or otherwise tamper with a stream that is only a runoff/drainage stream? This is not near a lake but the drainage eventually empties into a beaver pond.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:13 PM   #5
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Why divert it? Build over it with a lexan floor over the stream. It’s been done!


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Old 08-13-2019, 07:37 PM   #6
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTimeTraveler View Post
So I am looking at a building lot that has a stream running right through the middle of it.

Does someone know if I can legally keep the stream, but move it 70 feet away to a nearby perimeter lot line? Obviously moving it will allow me a larger building envelope footprint.

I know wetlands can be moved if they can be replicated elsewhere on a property, but I was unsure about a seasonal stream.

Anyone out there in Forum land have any knowledge about this type of situation?
No idea.

Why don't you jump ahead 10 years into the future and see how it went?
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:59 PM   #7
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Default development density?

Frank Lloyd Wright built his famous "Falling Waters" over a stream. In the 19th century mills, etc were built on the side of a river. Now DES knows better and you can't build next to moving water. In Florida, you can dredge almost anyplace, throw the spoil onto the shore to make building lots, add concrete sea walls and you've got "new" land.
This whole thing is crazy.
"You can't build that anymore", but the placers built 100 years ago used 300 feet of frontage where new regulations forced building to 100' of frontage and more intense use. Yes, you don't have to be (as) rich, but the intensity of shorefront development is a lot different. Rich, (big shorefront) vs, only a little less rich, and have smaller frontage, with more intense development. Hmmm.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:03 AM   #8
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Default Permit

You CAN do it if DES will approve it. Your reasoning for moving a wetland of any kind is typically the main consideration. In this case if the reason is simply for inconvenience of building, they will not let you move it. Even if they did let you move it, it is prohibitively expensive. It is typically $1 million per acre to move wetlands (or ~$23 a square foot). Again assuming they’ll even approve it.
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Old 08-15-2019, 09:26 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Hillcountry View Post
Shore things, can you divert, dam or otherwise tamper with a stream that is only a runoff/drainage stream? This is not near a lake but the drainage eventually empties into a beaver pond.
Surface run-off is generally not considered to be within Wetlands jurisdiction. Once there is enough natural concentrated flow to incise a channel then it begins to become a watercourse that would be considered jurisdictional, whether there is water visible in the channel year round or not. Roadside and other manmade conveyance structures are not considered jurisdictional unless they were dug into a jurisdictional wetland or they intercept a natural stream at that point they do become part of wetlands jurisdiction.
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Old 08-16-2019, 08:51 AM   #10
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Lightbulb Check the Existing Survey...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTimeTraveler View Post
So I am looking at a building lot that has a stream running right through the middle of it. Does someone know if I can legally keep the stream, but move it 70 feet away to a nearby perimeter lot line? Obviously moving it will allow me a larger building envelope footprint.
I know wetlands can be moved if they can be replicated elsewhere on a property, but I was unsure about a seasonal stream.
Anyone out there in Forum land have any knowledge about this type of situation?

Take a look uphill: If there are spans of irrigated green lawn, chances are very good that you'll have the same (or worse) runoff experience.

Next door, my neighbor had a concern whether their abutting lot could be sold as a building lot. Their new survey showed a very wet lot, and the surveyor had written a note on it, recommending against building on it. That neighbor provided a copy of the survey to me—which I still have—before the lot was sold.

As it turned out, a builder came in, dumped tons of fill, and diverted the existing "babbling brook" to our side of their lot. Where we once had no view of our neighbors, the new owners built to the maximum height, so there's three stories of night-time lighting. The other side of their lot has a shared driveway that washes out every summer. Some of the hill's moisture oozes under the house, and pools-up in the yard facing the lake. Why it produces a red stain, I don't know. There was a buried commercial aviation gasoline tank uphill (serving the airport) at one time. The pre-existing septic system and leach field was filled in and a new system, shared with the neighbor, was installed.

Aside from the negatives of putting the porch facing our porch—renting-out all summer—the babbling brook turns to mud in summer and has doubled in size.

The brook, which is still mostly seasonal, soaked the boundary line to the point that at least eight mature trees have been blown over (to angles of ~45°). The trees that survived have struggled to send up new foliage: Although the greenery is welcome, those trees are making the strangest of privacy fences.

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Old 08-16-2019, 11:58 AM   #11
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TSome of the hill's moisture oozes under the house, and pools-up in the yard facing the lake. Why it produces a red stain, I don't know.
That could simply be that there is a high concentration of naturally occurring iron in the bedrock. This is common place in NH.

My well water in Hooksett has very high iron content and stains everything if used untreated. My sediment filter which is the first in line from my well pump output into the house turns red and catches a rusty colored sediment similar to mud. Kinda gross but hey it's what comes out of the ground!
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Old 08-16-2019, 01:15 PM   #12
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTimeTraveler View Post
So I am looking at a building lot that has a stream running right through the middle of it.

Does someone know if I can legally keep the stream, but move it 70 feet away to a nearby perimeter lot line? Obviously moving it will allow me a larger building envelope footprint.

I know wetlands can be moved if they can be replicated elsewhere on a property, but I was unsure about a seasonal stream.

Anyone out there in Forum land have any knowledge about this type of situation?
If you haven't bought this lot yet, I would keep looking!
Trying to move a stream legally is like finding an old Indian arrow head and reporting to the news media.
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Old 08-16-2019, 02:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Pineedles View Post
Why divert it? Build over it with a lexan floor over the stream. It’s been done!


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I like this idea....and stock it with brook trout and fish from your living room!
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Old 08-16-2019, 04:11 PM   #14
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Default Lot with a stream...

A wise person, maybe Yogi Berra, maybe Confucius, maybe Father Time, once said, "It is not nice to fool Mother Nature", and I think this applies in this case (it will come back to bite you).
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Old 08-16-2019, 04:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by camp guy View Post
A wise person, maybe Yogi Berra, maybe Confucius, maybe Father Time, once said, "It is not nice to fool Mother Nature", and I think this applies in this case (it will come back to bite you).
It was Dena Dietrich in her Chiffon margarine commercial.
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Old 08-16-2019, 09:27 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by camp guy View Post
A wise person, maybe Yogi Berra, maybe Confucius, maybe Father Time, once said, "It is not nice to fool Mother Nature", and I think this applies in this case (it will come back to bite you).
I don't think the philosopher you have in mind is quite at the Yogi Berra level
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijVijP-CDVI
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Old 08-16-2019, 09:49 PM   #17
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Default Nailing down the definition

Is it really a "seasonal stream" - what it actually is by the states definition will lead you to the answer. Seasonal run-off is not a "stream". Does the stream have a name?

After answering the questions truthfully - yes wetlands can be managed but you are not going to be allowed to change the exit point of a water flow or stop the water flow. Not to be confused with storm water retention ponds.

:-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTimeTraveler View Post
So I am looking at a building lot that has a stream running right through the middle of it.

Does someone know if I can legally keep the stream, but move it 70 feet away to a nearby perimeter lot line? Obviously moving it will allow me a larger building envelope footprint.

I know wetlands can be moved if they can be replicated elsewhere on a property, but I was unsure about a seasonal stream.

Anyone out there in Forum land have any knowledge about this type of situation?
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Old 08-17-2019, 04:16 AM   #18
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Question Lakefront?

Something I forgot to ask:

Is the lot shorefront--to a lake?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAXUM View Post
That could simply be that there is a high concentration of naturally occurring iron in the bedrock. This is common place in NH.

My well water in Hooksett has very high iron content and stains everything if used untreated. My sediment filter which is the first in line from my well pump output into the house turns red and catches a rusty colored sediment similar to mud. Kinda gross but hey it's what comes out of the ground!
This red is "Kool-Aid red".
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:29 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTimeTraveler View Post
So I am looking at a building lot that has a stream running right through the middle of it.

Does someone know if I can legally keep the stream, but move it 70 feet away to a nearby perimeter lot line? Obviously moving it will allow me a larger building envelope footprint.

I know wetlands can be moved if they can be replicated elsewhere on a property, but I was unsure about a seasonal stream.

Anyone out there in Forum land have any knowledge about this type of situation?
Ask the seller to move the river.

If the river makes the lot unbuildable - then time to find another lot.
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