Categories: Buying, News & Blog, SellingPublished On: 09/27/20220 Comments on Deep Creek Terms You Should Know57.7 min read


Deep Creek Terms You Should Know

When purchasing Deep Creek Lake real estate, you might come across some terms that are unique to this area. The following list will help you in your search for the perfect property.

ASSIGNED SLIP – A term used to indicate that the residential unit or lot has the exclusive use of a specific boat slip issued to the Council of Unit Owners or Homeowners Association.

BOUNDARY SURVEY – A survey that entails the exact marking of every corner of the property boundaries. It is a comprehensive and typically the most expensive type of survey.

BROOKFIELD RENEWABLE ENERGY – The corporate successor to Penelec, GPU, and Reliant Energy. The power station and the dam of Deep Creek Lake are the property and responsibility of Brookfield Energy. This firm manages the Rule Band for water levels at Deep Creek Lake; and see Rule Band below and

BUFFER STRIP – Land owned by the State of Maryland between the water’s surface and the private property boundaries of adjacent landowners to an elevation of approximately 2466’ in most locations. Said buffer strip is designed to provide an access area between the actual water surface and private property adequately sized to permit the general public to walk or fish around the entire perimeter of Deep Creek Lake.

BUFFER STRIP USE PERMIT – A permit issued and then renewed annually by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Deep Creek Lake Management Office, that authorizes the placement of a floating dock in front of private land and upon the State of Maryland’s Buffer Strip. The number of boat slips permitted may vary. The permit is issued to the landowner and terminates annually or with the sale of the real estate. A new permit must be applied for upon acquisition of the property.

BUILDING ENVELOPE – The area on a given lot or property within which all improvements or construction must be located. The building envelope excludes the required setbacks.

BUYDOWN AREA – Land being offered (or sold) by the State of Maryland, Dept. of General Services, to adjacent property owners that are part of the defined “buffer strip” above. Said “buydown” area is subject to a special Conservation Easement, which does not permit permanent structures or general brush and tree cutting. When purchased, it is private property and not available for use by the general public.

COMMON AREA – The areas within a subdivision for the use and enjoyment of all property owners, primarily for private roads, green space areas, or recreational purposes. These areas are designated explicitly on a survey plat or described in the Homeowners Association or Condominium documents.

COMMON DOCKS – A grouping of more than one boat slip for more than one property owner at a particular location. Common boat docks are usually managed and maintained by Homeowners or Condo associations; however, some common or group boat docks have less formal arrangements. Specifics regarding use, rules, and regulations for use at a common dock should be obtained for review before purchase.

CONDOMINIUM OWNERSHIP – The absolute ownership of a unit in a multi-unit building or building based on a legal description of the unit’s airspace, plus an undivided interest in the ownership of the common elements, which are owned jointly with the other condominium unit owners.

CONSERVATION EASEMENT – An easement restricting and limiting the use of “buydown” property purchased from the State of Maryland. Uses restricted or prohibited on this buydown land by virtue of the conservation easement include No permanent structures or decks. No dumping or storage of materials, No trees or brush cutting without permission. A Special permit is required from the Dept. of Natural Resources for non-permanent structures and/or any other change to the area subject to the Conservation Easement.

DEEP CREEK LAKE POLICY AND REVIEW BOARD – A panel of 10 members, 5 of whom are appointed by the Governor of the State of Maryland, the remainder representing the following: State Senator from District 1, State Delegate from District 1A, a Garrett County Commissioner, a representative from the Deep Creek Property Owners Association, and a representative of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce.

DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES (DNR) – Deep Creek Management Office- Regulates and enforces the recreational usage, maintenance and/or alteration of the lake and buffer strip by virtue of the Deep Creek Lake Regulations. Their personnel can answer questions and issue permits for activities on the buffer strip and upon the water’s surface. Copies of regulations are available from their office, which is located at Deep Creek Lake State Park Headquarters Building, 301-387-41II. Mailing address: 898 State Park Road, Swanton, Maryland 21561. Lake Manager – Eric Null.

DEVELOPMENT PERMIT – A permit issued by DNR and secured by the real estate developer to ensure the orderly issuance of private buffer strip use permits to future owners of the developed real estate as well as common area and multi-slips serving lake access real estate. Developers must first comply with the requirements of the Deep Creek Lake Zoning Ordinance for properties adjoining public recreation lands.

DOCK PERMIT – See Buffer Strip Use Permit (It’s the same.)

EGRESS – The Building Code in Garrett County, which was enacted in 1998, requires that all bedrooms have at least one window or door with a minimum of 5.7 sq. ft. of an egress area. This requirement is based upon public fire safety requirements.

HOA – HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION – An organization of property owners charged with maintaining the common areas in the subdivision, promulgating the rules and regulations for same, and collecting fees on an equitable basis. Any property with a mandatory annual fee is subject to the Maryland Homeowners Association Act; accordingly, the HOA documentation is available for review before or during purchase.

LAKE ACCESS – Real estate that has deeded rights to use a common access strip to reach the buffer strip area and in some cases, boat docks. Lake access landowners are also accorded special privileges on the buffer strip according to the Deep Creek Regulations promulgated by the Maryland DNR.

LAKEFRONT – Real estate parcels with a boundary adjacent to the State of Maryland waterfront property. Owners of these parcels are accorded by special regulation uses of the buffer strip that are not available to the general public. See Buffer Strip Use Permit and Dock Permit.

LEASED SLIP – A lease arrangement negotiated between an individual of the general public and a Marina operator (or other entity with boat slips for lease) for the exclusive use of a boat slip on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. Leases cannot exceed one year in duration.

MLS – Multi-list system. The system used by nearly all Realtors in Garrett County is the MRIS system, which displays all properties currently listed for sale in the area.

PENELEC – Pennsylvania Electric Company – The former proprietary owner of Deep Creek Lake. The lake is still used for hydroelectric power production and releases of water occur routinely to provide a regular flow of water to the Youghiogheny River. The water levels are always reduced from the “normal pool” levels after Labor Day to provide dam safety from freezing during the winter and allow for the spring runoff, which fills the lake again for summer recreation. Also, now see Brookfield Renewable Energy.

PRIVATE SLIP – See Assigned Slip (It’s the same).

RULE BAND – A water appropriation permit issued to Reliant Energy permits the use of water from Deep Creek Lake for various purposes, including hydroelectric power production, whitewater rafting releases, temperature releases for fish habitats, etc. This permit designates both a maximum and a minimum water level for each month of the year, which gives Deep Creek Lake a dependable water depth for recreational boaters, adjacent property owners, and other interested parties. For specifics on the current level of the lake, check

SETBACKS – The amount of space local zoning regulations require between a lot line and a building line (or building location)

SHARED SLIP – A term indicating that more than one property owner must share a boat slip that a Homeowners Association manages. Various methods of sharing exist around Deep Creek Lake and a complete review of the Homeowner’s documentation will clarify the sharing arrangements.

SINGLE SLIP – A term that indicates the property is entitled to just one boat slip, to which only one watercraft can be moored or docked.

SPECIAL PERMIT – Required before modifications on the Buffer Strip and/or placement of temporary buildings.


– Path or walkway from the house to boat dock

– Installation of electricity/lighting along the path

– Storage building near the boat dock

– Small platform decks/patios

– Shoreline erosion control

– Tree/brush removal.

SPLIT LAKEFRONT – Lakefront real estate as defined above, but with a public road bisecting the site, the house is located across the public street from the boat docking area and water.

SPRINKLER SYSTEM – All new residential construction for which permits were issued after 1/1/2016 must have an approved sprinkler system conforming to the requirements of the Maryland Office of the Fire Marshal.

TAX DEFERRED/1031 EXCHANGE – A provision in the IRS Code that allows for the deferral of federal income taxes on gains (profits) from the sale of a business or investment real estate (or certain other assets) if the total sales price is re-invested in other “like-kind” property. For instance, investment real estate for other investment real estate (like raw land for a rental home or rental property for additional rental property). Particular criteria must be adhered to, including the required Addenda with both the sale of the investment property and the purchase of the new property. Professional accounting advice is required.

TREES – No trees may be cut on the Buffer Strip without an inspection and permission, as well as other plant life.

TVRU – Transient Vacation Rental Unit – A license issued to owners of properties that are rented for periods of less than 90 days to a single renter within the area of the Deep Creek Lake Watershed. Specific requirements include a parking space for each bedroom, a bear-proof trash collection system, maximum occupancy of 2 people per bedroom plus four additional people, and a system to monitor and contain noise from 11 PM to 8 AM.

TYPE A DOCK PERMIT – A Buffer Strip Use Permit that authorizes the mooring of up to two power boats, one personal watercraft, and one non-power boat to a single docking facility. It may be U-shaped, a platform, or another approved design, and it is a particular type of Buffer Strip Use Permit. Please confirm with DNR and Deep Creek Lake Management the specific requirements or restrictions for the property being purchased.

ZONING -The Deep Creek Lake Watershed Zoning Ordinance was enacted in 1975. Any lots or improvements developed or built after the ordinance regulated that date.

Lake Residential is divided into two categories:

LR1 – Minimum lot area is one acre per single-family home

LR2 – Minimum lot area is two acres per single-family home

Town Residential – The minimum lot area, is 10,000 sq. ft. per single-family home or 8/acre

Town Center — Minimum lot area is 10,000 sq. ft. per single-family home or 9/acre

For additional details and a Table of Uses, please go to, choose Permits & Licenses, then Land Use, then

Planning & Land Management, then Deep Creek Lake Watershed Zoning, or call the zoning office at 301-334-1920.