Attention All Home Owners in Florida. If you live on a lake or are purchasing a new home on a lake in Seminole County, Orange County, The City of Winter Park, or The City of Orlando, be prepared to hear a new term when you are trying to install a fence. Where is the Normal High-water Elevation Mark (NHWE) on your land survey? Understand, the absence of the NHWE will bring your fence project to a screeching halt. You will not pass go. Your fence project will be dead on the water’s edge.
Here is why: The Normal Highwater Elevation Mark is the base-line from which Municipalities determine the set back of the fence from the water’s edge, both horizontally and perpendicularly. The NHWE, in some municipalities, determines the height, style, and materials that can be used. Understand, without this mark, you cannot begin the process of permitting. The application will automatically be rejected.
Chances are if your reading this, you need an NHWE added to your land survey. The best thing you can do is call the company back who did the original land survey and ask them to add it. Be prepared, this costs money. Some land survey companies do not do NHWE, so you might have to have your property completely resurveyed.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is important if you are buying a home on a lake to confirm that the surveying company selected includes all necessary marks associated with a titled body of water. Next, make sure the survey company being suggested by a real estate agent, seller, or title company is qualified to handle lakes.
So how do you determine if your current survey has an NHWE mark? It's simple. Look where the property meets the waters edge. You will see words like Edge of Water, Survey Closure Line, Flood Zone ratings, or Elevation Measurements. These are important and should be included, but don’t be fooled. These are not the Normal High-water Elevation Mark. See the two surveys below. The land survey on the Left does not include all the necessary marks
Incorrect Survey: Correct Survey: