Hand-in-hand is a movement to market more than 4,000 undeveloped lots that have sat vacant for years within the POA and Village boundaries.

The Four Seasons Property Association has launched a campaign to improve its image and to promote the benefits of living and building within the POA boundaries and the Village of Four Seasons.

Hand-in-hand is a movement to market more than 4,000 undeveloped lots that have sat vacant for years within the POA and Village boundaries.

Steve Yoder, a spokesman for the POA, said the meeting was an attempt to get stakeholders that would benefit from increased building within the POA and Village together for an open discussion.

Attending were representatives from the POA, Village of Four Seasons, Lake Ozark and Sunrise Beach Fire Protection Districts, Osage Water Company, Horseshoe Bend Special Road District, several local builders and Camden County Planning and Zoning.

"We're all going to benefit when houses replace these undeveloped lots," Yoder said. "Undeveloped and developed lots is something the POA is concerned about. Within the POA there are 6,400 lots and only 2,000 of those are developed. There's plenty of room to grow."

His comments followed a 10-minute video created by the POA that showcases the POA and the Village of Four Seasons. The video is being used to promote "how great a place the lake is to live" and is available to real estate agents, builders, lenders and other groups with a vested interest in growing Horseshoe Bend.

Yoder explained that about half of the POA's revenue comes from homes, and the rest from undeveloped lots.

"So, the more developed lots we can get the more revenue we're going to have, and the more services we can provide at a lower rate to the developed lot owners," Yoder explained. "We're trying to stimulate, to get ahead of the curve. We know construction is starting to pick up a little, and the economy is improving. We think that secondary income from areas around the state is going to end up here like it did before the recession. Hopefully, we're ready for it."

Horseshoe Bend has been identified in a Lake of the Ozarks Regional Economic Development Council Housing Study as having a huge potential for housing development with its large number of undeveloped interior or second-tier lots. The POA is managed by restrictive covenants and receives its revenue from assessments and permit fees.

The Village of Four Seasons, because it is incorporated, operates under the guise of Missouri statutes along with a set of ordinances. Its source of income is sales tax and permit fees. Each entity has its own boundaries, and in many areas the boundaries overlap.

One of the challenges over the years is the size of lots relative to requirements for wastewater septic sewer systems. Septic system laterals must be of a certain length and number to handle larger homes, and many of the interior lots are undersized.

The introduction of a new type of treatment system in recent months will eliminate the need for laterals, thus making the smaller lots more suitable for the construction of three- and four-bedroom homes.

Yoder challenged the stakeholders to discuss issues they have that might be a deterrent to new construction.

"How can we get more building activity?" he asked.

He noted that Osage National Golf Resort, Lake Ozark and Osage Beach are seeing more construction activity than the POA and Village. Even certain areas of Horseshoe Bend just outside the boundaries of the Village and POA are experiencing more new construction.

"Our building activity has gone up, things are coming up, we just need to have them come faster," Yoder said.

He said the POA has taken steps to encourage homeowners to locate within its boundaries.

"The POA has been trying to make this a community people want to live in," he said.

These include:

•Expanded fitness center with an annual fee of $50 per family. The center now has some 500 members.

•Revised tree policy to make it more owner friendly to live in the POA.

•Eliminated all home repair and home improvement permit fees.

•Created a home builder rebate program to eliminate past-due assessments. The builder pays the overdue assessment and then can apply for a rebate amount at the end of construction, thus removing a roadblock to building.

•Developed a refund policy for re-platting fees.

•Established a no-cost yard waste disposal location.

•Retro-fitted storage facilities to be securely accessible 24/7. 

Challenges

From a commercial development perspective, there is a perception that the POA and Village are at odds, Yoder said.

"But I don't think down deep we really are," he said.

"I think the Village and POA are on a much more understanding ground after some contentious times trying to convert properties. The Village certainly can change zoning, we just can't change covenants. I think there's enough space on Horseshoe Bend that the Village and POA can get along," Yoder said.

The POA cannot make adjustments to its restrictive covenants without the approval of its developer (Peter Brown family) or a large majority of the 6,400 lot owners.

Village Trustee Chairman Arnold Sandbothe said he feels it's now more promising for second-tier lot owners who previously felt they couldn't build because of the sanitary sewer requirements. There is a coordination between the POA and Village since two of the Village Trustees are former members of the POA.

"We try to work to the best benefit for all entities," Sandbothe said.

Several builders shared frustrations with what they perceived as stricter building codes and ordinances within the Village of Four Seasons than other areas of the lake. While they had no issues with how the rules are applied by the Village's building inspector, they felt that some of the rules are too burdensome and far exceed the standards set by the International Building Code which is followed throughout the lake area.

Builders said they were willing to sit down with Village and POA officials to continue to find solutions to their differences.

Terry Roets, another POA representative and meeting organizer, summed it up best:

"We need to collectively think about issues that will help us all."