The Camden County commission intends to send a message to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Ameren Missouri regarding shoreline management at Lake of the Ozarks. The message is that locals want to regulate themselves.
The commission made its Coordinated Land Use Plan (CLUP) available on the county government's official website this week. Members of the public are invited to submit comments on the CLUP until Jan. 10. Commissioners Kris Franken, Bev Thomas and Thom Gumm intend to submit the plan to FERC and Ameren Missouri during the public comment phase of Ameren's shoreline management plan revisions.
"The CLUP is created to ensure public investments in physical infrastructure, as well as private investments in the community, and improve the quality of life. By coordinating the investment of public funds in public infrastructure and services and managing growth and development, the coordinated plan helps guide responsible growth while preserving private property rights, the local tax base, and important natural and cultural resources," The 22-page document's introduction states.
The plan points out that FERC began regulating shoreline management of hydroelectric reservoirs in the 1980's, at least 50 years after Union Electric and its partnered contractors finished constructing Bagnell Dam. Because of this reason, the Camden County Commission states in the CLUP that any structure that existed at or above an elevation of 660 feet above sea level is legal and permissible.
"Camden County is proposing to establish the Project boundary at elevation 660’ lakewide with an increase in project boundary elevation to the 662’ contour around areas of wetlands as previously identified by Ameren Missouri," the plan states.
Resetting Ameren's project boundary, small strips of land around the shoreline that the dam operator deems necessary to maintain control of, to 660 ft. would open up more than 29,000 acres of land that Ameren claimed control over in its first draft of the shoreline management plan for Lake of the Ozarks.
Franken, Camden County's Presiding Commissioner, has stated since November that the CLUP will increase interaction and coordination amongst local, state, and federal government groups along with Ameren Missouri.
"There has been little collaboration in the past between the county and Ameren Missouri, which has resulted in instances where prohibited activities were performed because of a lack of coordination in enforcement efforts," the CLUP states.
The operator of Bagnell Dam finds itself in the process of hurriedly requesting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accept new project boundaries in the Lake of the Ozarks shoreline management plan that do not place approximately 1,200 lakefront homes on property that Ameren would legally control in order to operate and maintain the lake. FERC found that an initial draft of the plan declared more than 4,000 structures as "non-conforming." The utility and FERC, now under pressure from national, state and local lawmakers, will consider amending the plan in the spring of 2012.
Page 2 of 2 - In July, FERC issued an order raising concerns about encroachments and blamed Ameren Missouri for faulty Lake of the Ozarks stewardship.
"Under both its current license and its previous license from the mid-1980s, Ameren has had a longstanding obligation to prevent the construction of unauthorized structures inside the project boundary, otherwise known as encroachments, and to take appropriate action to ensure that neither project purposes nor the expectations of the structure owners were unduly affected," a FERC statement published in November declared. "Over many years, Ameren failed to carry out this obligation. Ameren’s repeated failure to properly implement the terms of its license has allowed matters to get to the point where it does not even know exactly what structures have been built within the project boundary and whether they were authorized. FERC recognizes that Ameren’s failures have left local property owners in an extremely difficult position."