Ameren Missouri officials filed an amended shoreline management plan with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that the utility company believes will solve any property boundary disputes on the shores of the Lake of the Ozarks.
The new shoreline management plan that Ameren filed Tuesday sets the lake's project boundary, a small strip of land along the shoreline that a reservoir operator holds legal rights to, at 662' above sea level. In cases where an existing house sits below 662, the boundary shifts below 662' to accommodate the structure.
The new plan, filed at least four months ahead of deadline, represents countless hours of work since the summer of 2011.
“We want to thank Lake of the Ozarks stakeholders, community leaders and the public for working with us in our development of this plan,” Jeff Green, Ameren Missouri Shoreline Management Supervisor, said. “We value everyone’s opinion and appreciate those who gave us input in drafting this document. We collected, responded to and included more than 400 comments in our final plan.”
A FERC order issued in July, 2011 created the perception that approximately 1,200 lakefront homes sit 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."
FERC raised 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."
There is no deadline for FERC to make its decision on the new shoreline boundary.
FERC holds authority over hydroelectric projects across the nation that are not controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Responses from representatives:
U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R)
“I am pleased to learn that Ameren’s revised Project Boundary Plan for Lake of the Ozarks will take 1,500 homes out of the federally regulated boundary along the shoreline of the lake, meaning these homes would not be in jeopardy of being torn down. I am also glad that Ameren has taken into account some citizens’ comments in putting together its amended proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). There are, however, still concerns expressed by lake area homeowners. I want to make sure these concerns are adequately addressed and will continue to look at possible legislative options to protect property rights of area homeowners.”
Page 2 of 2 - U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R)
“I am pleased to see that Ameren understood the importance of this situation, and that they have worked quickly to remedy the shoreline management plan issue. It is my hope that FERC will do everything they can to ensure a speedy and appropriate response to Ameren’s shoreline plan so that our property owners will have some resolution to this issue. As a lifelong resident of Miller County, I have a unique understanding of what folks are going through right now, and that is why I continue to closely monitor the progress of the proposed management plan.”