Ameren Missouri files plan to resolve shoreline issue

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 | 5:20 p.m. CST

ST. LOUIS — Ameren Missouri said Wednesday it has filed a management plan to ensure that most of the 1,600 homes along the Lake of the Ozarks shoreline in mid-Missouri are not threatened with removal.

Ameren's plan, filed this week with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, revises the shoreline boundary so that most of the homes are not on land that is part of Ameren's hydroelectric project. Concerns were raised in July when the commission ordered that structures might need to be removed if they encroach onto the project's land.

The plan confirms Ameren's proposal released in mid-December that calls for a lakewide boundary at 662 feet above sea level for existing dwellings.

Ameren hosted two public hearings in January to get feedback from landowners. St. Louis-based Ameren's shoreline management supervisor, Jeff Green, said the utility received more than 400 comments on the proposal.

"We want to thank Lake of the Ozarks stakeholders, community leaders and the public for working with us in our development of this plan," he said.

The commission must still approve the plan, but there is no timetable for when that might occur.

The lake was formed by construction of the dam in 1931. On paper, the existing boundary ranges from 665 to 670 feet. The project boundary is an elevated strip of land surrounding the sprawling lake's shoreline.

Ameren in 2008 filed a required shoreline management plan noting that many structures were built over time on land that appeared to belong to the utility's hydroelectric project, prompting the energy commission's order in July warning that homes may need to be removed. The commission has regulatory authority over hydroelectric projects.

That announcement led to widespread concerns at the lake and prompted both of Missouri's U.S. senators and eight members of Congress to weigh in.

In November, the commission issued a new order directing Ameren to instead submit a plan by June for redrawing the territory around the lake. The company submitted the plan four months ahead of that deadline.

The Ameren proposal does not change the way it handles permits for docks, seawalls, ramps and other facilities. Ameren retains existing guidelines for public access to shoreline areas. Property rights remain unchanged.

The plan also retains land for Ameren within the project boundary that is needed for things such as wetlands, public recreational areas and riparian habitat.

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