More than 1/3 of the residential lots in Orono abut the lakeshore. With nearly 40 miles of Lake Minnetonka shoreline, and additional properties abutting Long Lake, Mooney Lake, French Lake, Dickey's Lake, Lake Katrina, Lake Classen and Lydiard Lake, Orono is home to an abundance of dock owners. The following rules and regulations govern the placement and use of private residential docks in Orono:
- Seasonally installed docks are a permitted accessory use for residential properties which abut the lakeshore and contain a principal residence structure.
- New seasonal docks require a one-time permit ($30.00) and may be reinstalled at the same location annually thereafter without additional permits. Docks on Lake Minnetonka are under the jurisdiction of the LMCD.
- Permanent docks require a Conditional Use Permit (Zoning Code Sec. 78-1118) and may require additional permits from the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District (LMCD) and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
- Rental of residential dock space is not allowed. Such activity is considered to be a commercial use, which is allowed only within the B-2 Lakeshore Business zoning district (Sections 94-71 thru 94-101).
- Sharing of a single dock by three or more adjacent lakeshore owners is allowed subject to City Council approval of a Joint Use Dock License (Sections 94-36 thru 94-38).
- Placement of docks on Lake Minnetonka is governed by the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District (LMCD). Minimum setbacks from the extended property lines are required. Contact the LMCD for further information. For other Orono lakes, contact the Building & Zoning Department. Minimum setbacks (similar to those in effect for other types of accessory structures) will be required, and special permits may be required for docks which must cross a wetland to reach open water.
The City of Orono does not provide municipal docks for private boat storage, and has no "commons" areas for public dockage. The City does provide a small number of fishing and swimming docks, typically at locations where roadways were historically platted to the shoreline. Canoe rack rental spaces are available at Summit Park on Long Lake to Orono residents on a first-come first-served basis.
Orono is home to 5 commercial marinas providing in aggregate a total of more than 450 rental slips. Additionally, public landings on North Arm and Maxwell Bay in Orono provide approximately 150 car-trailer parking spaces for transient boaters.