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Waterfront property owners can’t catch a break

Land use policy could hike insurance rates, dent resale value

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An older couple in Washington state had finally decided to move. Their landmark lakefront home, the headquarters for family reunions, community events and Sunday religious services, would soon be offered for sale.

They'd retired there after decades in their in-city residence, where they raised their children, and now it was time to move closer to the city for in-home care and proximity to a specific hospital.

The couple's two children had grown and moved away. As much as they wanted to keep their parents' home in the family, the distance, maintenance and property taxes proved too much for them to handle. It's difficult to justify a cross-country plane trip and two weeks' vacation time every year just to visit the lake home, they said.

The family contacted a longtime Realtor friend to conduct a preliminary market evaluation in order to ascertain what amount of money the older couple could expect at sale. The lakefront home's value comprise...