Among those concerned about a zero setback policy for development of certain lakefront property under discussion by Camden County Planning and Zoning is Ameren Missouri.

The zero setback policy is one of several changes being looked at as Camden County Planning and Zoning looks at revisions to the current plan. The policy was a point of contention among several who attended a meeting on Aug. 29 where proposed changes were presented to the public. The current setback is 25 feet. It is unclear why a zero setback is being proposed. 

Camden County has been working on a planning and zoning rewrite for several years. The meeting held on Aug. 29 was the first of several that are expected to be held. About 40 people attended the meeting. 

In documents obtained through a Missouri Sunshine Law request, Ameren Missouri was one of three letters of opposition submitted to the planning and zoning office. All three opposed the zero setback policy. Ameren’s objections were based on their interests and issues that impact lakefront management  and the project boundaries, all of which fall under the utility company’s ownership of Lake of the Ozarks and its federal license to operate Bagnell Dam.

In the letter, Ameren clearly states opposition to the zero setback, citing a number of issues. 

“We are not supportive of the proposed change allowing residential structures to have a zero lakefront setback simply because they are served by MDNR (Missouri Department of Natural Resources) approved wastewater systems,” it stated in the letter written by Ameren Missouri Shoreline Management Supervisor Jeff Green.

The letter went on to say that, although the character of wastewater systems can reduce the need for additional space in yards for on-site wastewater systems, dwelling setback requirements from “our perspective certainly should not be governed by the presence of a public wastewater system.

The benefits of setback requirements as it relates to shoreline development ensure that dwellings are at a proper distance from adjacent property owned by others, including Ameren Missouri,” Green said. “as you are well aware, it is the setback requirements of the county that has likely reduced the number of encroachments on adjacent and lakefront lands, and specifically lands below elevation 662” within our federal project.”

Green cited in his letter that a zero setback will only encourage future encroachments; as well as, decrease safety, reduce light and air between structures, block lake views, and possibly impact the shoreline and lake environment. With a zero setback, there is no room to contain sediment during construction projects nor provide reasonable private and public access to the lake’s shoreline.