Although the process is a long way from being a done deal, the possibility of building a causeway on the northshore to a condominium development has taken a significant step forward.
Although the final decision rests in the hands of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the first requirement needed to go through the process was approval from the Miller County Commission.
The county commission, in a 2-1 vote, has signed off on the formation of a Community Improvement District for the Isla Del Sol condominium development. The development sits on a small island near the 3.5-mile marker. The CID was crucial to the future of the project.
Known as Isla Del Sol, the condominium development is not accessible by land. It is served by a ferry service that runs to and from the shoreline at the end of Lake Road W-12 on the north shore of Lake of the Ozarks in Miller County.
Prior to being taken over by Rockwood Bank of Eureka, the current owners/developers, it was known as Atlantis Island. The small piece of land was referred to as Hawaiian Island for years by locals before it was bulldozed for development.
Miller County Associate Commissioner Brian Duncan said while the talk of a causeway once drew standing room only crowds to meetings, the owners/developers have gone to great lengths to work with the county and residents who live in the neighborhood near the island, calming fears and concerns.
When the county took the vote on the CID, Duncan said no one showed up. That's quite a change from the heated discussions talks of the causeway once stirred up, he said.
The developers/owners have set aside $100,000 in a special road fund and signed an agreement relieving the county of future liability. That combined with the CID gave the county commission the assurance they needed, Duncan said.
"They've done everything we asked," he said. "They jumped through all the hoops. I think they definitely made headway with the people who had concerns. The dust seems to have settled now."
The approval paves the way for the owners/developers to begin the process of obtaining the necessary approval and permit from Ameren Missouri and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The next step for the project will include application for construction of a causeway which includes submission of the final county approved CID, drawings, plans showing conformance with Ameren guidelines/license and Shoreline Management Plan. An environmental assessment of impacts, state and federal resource agency review and approval of Corps of Engineers, will be included in the process. Once all of those steps are completed according to Ameren guidelines, the project will be sent to FERC for final approval.
Ameren rejected the original proposal, saying until the county signed off on it, they would not approve it. At that time, the utility company gave the bank/developer a list of requirements that had to be meet. Although the bank/developer did manage to get the approval of the Missouri Department of Conservation, they were not able to get the county commission on board.