WHAT OTHERS SAY: Revision eases Lake of the Ozarks residents' fears

Monday, November 14, 2011 | 4:45 p.m. CST; updated 7:28 p.m. CST, Monday, November 14, 2011

Common sense prevails.

Federal regulators last week eased an order that threatened some private property built on the shoreline at Lake of the Ozarks.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had directed Ameren — the utility that owns and derives hydroelectric power from the lake — to remove "nonconforming structures" along the shoreline.

Ameren, formerly Union Electric, built Bagnell Dam and created the lake in the 1920s and '30s.

The utility owns a strip of land, called the project boundary, along the lake's shoreline. The project boundary ranges in width from a few feet to a mile, depending on location.

During the past 80-plus years, private property owners who secured a permit have been allowed to build decks, gazebos and other structures on the project boundary. In addition, other structures have encroached — in whole or part — on the project boundary, as a result of surveying and other errors.

Those structures were not an issue until Ameren filed a new shoreline management plan in connection with its 2008 filing with the commission for license renewal.

In response to the plan, the commission's reference to nonconforming structures prompted much confusion among Ameren officials and Lake property owners.

The confusion led to both a grassroots movement and action from members of Missouri's congressional delegation.

The revised order directs the utility to redraw the project boundary. Federal officials also said structures built on property where owners have a deed, lease or easement can remain and never were intended to be in jeopardy.

For any structures not covered by the remapping or pre-existing authorization, Ameren will be expected to work with owners to find a solution that is mutually satisfying.

The action marks a reasonable revision that helps eliminate confusion and ease fears among Lake of the Ozarks property owners.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

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