Legislator asks Patrol to consider no-wake restrictions for big boats in small coves

A proposal to restrict large boats in some areas of the Lake is being considered by the Missouri State Highway Patrol/Water Patrol at the request a Lake-area legislator.
Rep. David Wood of Versailles, who represents District 58, told the annual RE/MAX Real Estate Symposium that he has asked the Highway/Water Patrol to consider imposing no-wake restrictions on boats over 30-35 feet in length in coves of less than 1,250 feet from shore to shore.
“One of the issues I’m getting more and more calls on is waves and wakes,” he said
Representative Wood said he’s getting calls — especially from property owners in the Gravois Arm area — whose families have owned property for years now are faced with making thousands of dollars in repairs to docks damaged by wakes from larger boats. The issue, he said, is affecting real estate sales.
“It’s at the point I’m going to have to introduce legislation, but the hard part is how do I introduce a piece of legislation that won’t hurt businesses but will still protect property owners,” he said. “I don’t want businesses to lose business.”
His proposal would still allow the larger, cruiser-type boats from motoring to the various waterfront restaurants and bars — just at a slower, less damaging speed.
Representative Wood said he looked at maps and reviewed GIS records before making his recommendation to the Highway/Water Patrol.
A listening session is scheduled Nov. 4 at the city of Osage Beach to receive public comment on the no-wake proposal, electrical safety around docks and condo fire safety. More details will be announced later.
He encouraged public input.
The quality of roads and highways in the Lake area have a substantial impact on real estate, Wood told more than 200 people attending the symposium.
“One thing we have to address, and it’s not an easy topic, is transportation,” he said.
The Expressway changed the market at the Lake, Representative Wood said. Motorists now have a way to bypass a lot of businesses that used to rely on drive-by traffic and go directly to Camdenton or wherever they’re going without stopping.
“That’s why we’re seeing more business fronts empty. Every time we look at a bypass, it affects the real estate market, the business market at the Lake,” he said.
Noting that the Expressway -- which he referred to as the bypass — has had a negative impact on many eastside business, Wood said that the transportation issues for the Lake area go beyond that issue.
“It’s a lack of funding from MoDOT. They’re only going to maintain Highways 54 and 5,” he said. “So, you think about Lake roads like W, Y, 135 and 42. If they don’t get maintained, it’s only a matter of time before they begin to deteriorate. People won’t drive on them.”
A priority for Miller, Morgan and Camden county residents and officials is to improve the route from the Community Bridge to Highway 5, Wood said. That would create a new real estate market.
“But the road is so junky now nobody wants to drive on it. The bridge only benefits the Villages and Porto Cima and a few subdivisions. If we could fix and make good highways over to Highway 5, just think of the real estate and business opportunities,” Wood noted.
A proposal to raise the gas tax 2 cents per year for the next three years failed in the State Senate last year, Wood said. There are people who fight any type of tax increase.
“But we’re going to have to have a solution from those people. They can’t stay with the status quo,” he said. “There are too many Lake roads that need maintained. If we don’t fix existing roads and let them go back to gravel, that affects real estate. There is an investment that needs to be made.”
School equity
The Lake area is fortunate to have several good educational facilities in Camdenton, Osage, Eldon, Versailles and out-lying Stover.
“But there’s an inequity in funding, and we need to look at how schools are funded,” Wood said. The assessed values of school districts range from $80 million at Stover to $1.1 billion at Camdenton. Versailles is $140 million, Eldon is $175 million and Osage is $560 million.
“If a Realtor takes a buyer by Camdenton or Osage school districts, these are excellent selling points. But there’s still an inequity among all of the schools. There is something we need to do to balance out those schools so they are more attractive all the way around the Lake,” the representative said.