IMZ, What does it mean to me?

It’s been a while since we last wrote about the various shoreline classifications designated by Duke Energy for Lake Keowee, so it’s a good time for a refresher. Especially since the moratorium for working in one of these areas, the IMZ, is coming up fast, and may influence some of you who have been considering having dock or shoreline work done on your lakefront property.

Duke Energy is the governing body over Lake Keowee and, as such, maintains a Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) which designates every linear foot of lakefront property into one of several categories, probably a good topic for at least one more blog. The classifications are determined by current use, vegetated cover, habitat value, water depth, substrate, and location, and can have a major impact on the use of your lakefront property. The one we’re concerned with here is IMZ, or Impact Minimization Zone, which is defined as having stable sand, gravel, or cobble substrates.

You can see the color-coded classifications of the shoreline on this cool interactive map.

keowee smp map.jpg

When applying for a boat dock or shoreline stabilization permit, you may learn that all or some of your property falls under the IMZ classification. If so, there are a number of considerations and restrictions on what size and type of boat dock and shoreline stabilization techniques that you’ll be allowed to put in place. The SMP states that applicants must first try to avoid IMZs, but if that’s not possible, then construction within these areas will have specific requirements such as larger boulders and native vegetation that can be integrated into, as well as above and below the area.

Since one of the main purposes of the IMZ classification is to protect spawning, rearing and nursery habitats for fish, as well as rearing, nursery, and adult habitat for amphibians, reptiles and birds, there is a moratorium on all work within these designated areas annually March though June.

Shoreline classifications can change as the lake water level rises and falls, so once you have an approved permit for an IMZ it’s a good idea not to wait to have the work done lest it effect how you’re able to use your lakefront.

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Get inspired for your upcoming lakefront project

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Winter isn’t a time that most folks think about being out on the lake, but we certainly have been and thought you might like to see some of our most recent projects. If you need to get your lakefront ready … Continue reading

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Permit Updates from Duke Energy

As many of you already know, Duke Energy is the governing body for all permitting issues on Lake Keowee. We have few updates from Duke Energy effective this year that may be of interest if you are applying for a boat dock or shoreline stabilization permit soon.

1. Duke now requires each boat dock permit application to show the type of roof the dock will have (i.e. Gable, Hip).

2. Boat Dock and Shoreline Stabilization permit fees have increased by $50. The new fees now in effect are: Boat Dock Permits $350 (plus the Habitat Enhance Fund fee of $500), Shoreline Stabilization Permits $100 (plus the Habitat Enhance Fund fee of $500). If you are planning to have both dock and riprap work done within the next 12 months, you may apply for both at the same time to save $100 and avoid paying the Habitat Enhancement Fund fee twice. When you apply for both at the same time the total fee is $850.

3. Boat lifts intended to be mounted on the outside of a dock, as opposed to in the boat slip, now require a Dock Permit Application ($850 fee).

If you would like any of these changes explained in further detail, or have any questions about them, please give us a call at 864.882.7671 and we’ll be more than happy to help!

We’ll post more as information becomes available.

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Permit Application Process for Lake Keowee

The dock (and riprap) permitting process has become very convoluted over the years, and periodically undergoes significant changes. As a function of daily business we stay up-to-date on all regulatory and subdivision changes for local lakes, especially those from Duke Energy for Lake Keowee. We understand the different processes and can take care of the permitting process from start to finish, making the process hassle-free for you.

Here’s a quick guide to the current permitting process for Duke Energy on Lake Keowee. The property owner must provide:

  • $300 check payable to Duke Energy for docks and/or $50 check for riprap (shoreline stabilization)
  • $500 check payable to Habitat Enhancement Fund (for both docks and riprap)
  • plat of property with shoreline pins, legend, surveyor’s stamp, and dock location        ***Surveyor’s Seal must read “Registered/Professional Land Surveyor” AND must be signed by the Surveyor***
  • completed Construction Application and Private Facilities User Agreement from Duke Energy, both with property owner’s signature
  • GPS coordinates for intended dock location (we use Google Earth)
  • photo of shoreline- Must be taken from the water looking back onto the property. If you’re buying a lot your realtor may already have this and provide it to you.
  • dock drawing- We can provide this when you submit your application to us.

A few more particulars (it’s much easier to get it all correct the first time!)…

All documents with signatures must be originals, photocopies are not accepted. Once Duke Energy receives your application, it’s usually around 3-4 weeks until they notify you of their decision. Once approved your permit it good for one year from the Approval Date. This is non-negotiable, so you want to get the work done within that timeframe so as not to need to reapply and take a chance on not getting approved at a later date if conditions have changed.

Easy, right?! That’s why we thought it’d be helpful to outline the process, and reiterate that we’re available to help facilitate it for you.


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Classic vs. Signature Series Docks

We offer two innovative dock styles to suit different lifestyles and budgets. While each dock we build can be customized to meet the specific tastes and requirements of individual clients, the two I’ll detail here are the ones we build most. There are also very specific guidelines for docks in certain neighborhoods, which I’ll also include. Both series of docks include custom components such as aluminum extrusions, bumpers, castings, fasteners, decking, and trim to make them as strong as possible and to create a dock that has a finished appearance unlike any other.

The features included on all of our docks are:

secorddockOur Classic Series offers a combination of low maintenance, structural design elements with long term durability. In addition to the elements listed above, this series also includes: 1′ slip angles, three inch aluminum roof posts, an aluminum ramp, and your choice of roof design.

The Signature Series is a combination of sturdy elegance and enhanced Signature Burnished Slate Hip Halfappearance. It incorporates all of the Classic elements along with these upgrades:

  • lower bumper boards
  • IPE roof fascia
  • 3′ slip angles, for added ease of access to your boat
  • painted four inch roof posts, color of your choice
  • our exclusive flared ramp design, painted
  • treated and stained wood cupola and weathervane

We’ve worked closely with particular neighborhoods to develop docks that meet their specific design requirements. Two of these include The Reserve at Lake Keowee and The Cliffs at Keowee Falls South. The Reserve Signature docks have all of the features of our Signature line except the roof posts are what we call “boxed”, meaning they’re wrapped in IPE, instead of painted. The other distinctions of this line are ramps painted your choice of Fern Green or Burnished Slate, and cedar shake or copper roofs and cupolas.


The Cliffs Signature docks also have all the features of our Signature line, but differ slightly in that they require Fern Green metal roofs and cupolas, IPE caps on the ramps, and three inch IPE boxed roof posts.


If you’re in the market for a dock, hopefully all of this is helpful in giving you an idea of what will work best for your needs. You can best see the differences in our photo gallery. No matter which design you choose, you can be sure you’re getting the highest quality construction as they are expertly designed for living on Lakes Keowee, Hartwell, Bowen, and Jocassee.

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Kayak Stow & Go, Storage and Launch System

kayak stow & go

We often get questions about our variety of dock accessory options, so I’m going to devote a few posts to highlighting popular ones that people find very helpful. The first one is our new, exclusive (patent-pending) Kayak Stow & Go. It’s a dockside storage and launch system for kayaks that makes accessing your kayak much safer and more enjoyable, and it doubles as a convenient dockside storage so you’re not lugging those unwieldy things back and forth each time you want to use them.

All that’s required to use it is unlatching the tie holding it in the storage position and letting the frame down to water level. (Wouldn’t it be nice to see a video of it in action at this point? We’re working on that!) It’s a lightweight aluminum frame so it’s no problem for most people to do. In this lowered position the kayak rests on the bottom of the aluminum frame providing a stable platform for you to step into. So no more trying to hold the kayak still with one hand and lowering yourself into it hoping it doesn’t go shooting out from under you sending you straight into the water! Once you’re in your kayak gently push backward and slide right out into the water. It’s just that easy.

When you return from your lovely kayak excursion, all you do is gently steer the kayak back into the frame and step out onto the stable frame. You’ll use the pull tie again to pull it back into the storage position and securely tie it to the dock post that is part of the frame. You’re done!

It really couldn’t be any easier, and we’re proud to have finally come up with this little invention. Recently, a customer shared with us that he and his wife used to store their kayaks in the garage or basement and carry them back and forth to the lake, dragging them up over the riprap and beach. But the Stow & Go has dramatically changed how often they use their kayaks by making it so much easier and convenient, so now they’re out on the water in them all the time!

And I should mention that the frame is designed to keep the stored kayak in an angled kayak stow & goposition so no rain gets inside, and it’s stored above the water line. We also have options available for canoes and paddle boards, all of which can easily be mounted to your existing dock.

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Side Mount Boat Lifts

Float Lift

There are some cases where it makes sense to attach a boat lift to the side of a dock. One instance might be where cove widths aren’t wide enough to allow a full size dock to be permitted. In this case it may be possible to fit a platform style dock with a lift on the side versus a large covered dock. Another instance is if you own two boats and want both of them out of the water but only have a single slip dock.

For those on Lake Keowee, side mount boat lifts are eligible for permit under the following guidelines:

  1. A standard boat dock permit must be obtained from Duke Energy.
  2. A side mounted boat lift must be 20′ from a projected property line.
  3. Boat lifts with covers must count the square footage of the cover as part of the total boat dock square footage.
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