JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Ameren Missouri is recommending federal regulators allow 215 non-conforming decks, patios, gazebos and boathouses to remain standing at the Lake of the Ozarks.
The St. Louis-based power company announced the proposal Wednesday and called it a final step toward addressing encroachments at the central Missouri lake formed by the Bagnell Dam and Osage hydroelectric project. Jeff Green, the supervisor of Shoreline Management for Ameren Missouri, said it determined the structures have no effect on the purposes of the project or the ability to safely manage the Lake of the Ozarks.
“Our main goal during this process has been to work with property owners to successfully resolve issues related to the location of non-conforming structures within the project boundary,” Green said.
The 93-mile-long Lake of the Ozarks was created in 1931 and is about an hour southwest of the state Capitol. Permanent residences and second homes have been built on its shoreline. There has been recent controversy focused on the land near the lake—land within the hydroelectric project falls under the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Ameren Missouri submitted a shoreline management plan to federal regulators in 2008 and noted that some structures over time had been built on land that is part of the hydroelectric project. Regulators initially suggested buildings would need to be removed.
After public outcry, regulators directed Ameren in November 2011 to propose a redrawn boundary for the hydroelectric project. The federal commission also said its initial decision was focused on buildings constructed on Ameren’s property without the utility’s permission.
In June 2012, the federal commission approved—with minor changes—Ameren Missouri’s proposal to adjust its boundary, which removed about 28,000 acres and thereby shielded 1,500 homes and businesses. In addition, the utility was given a year to inventory and report plans for handling structures such as gazebos, piers, decks and boathouses that remained within the hydroelectric project.
The power company said 215 of the structures cannot be permitted under the shoreline management plan for the lake or guidelines in place when they were constructed and requested approval from federal regulators to issue permits allowing the non-conforming structures.
Ameren Missouri said none of the non-conforming structures are inconsistent with resource plans for storm water pollution prevention, historic properties management and recreation enhancement. It said they have little impact on the shoreline environment and that removal could lead to bank destabilization, ground disturbance and removal of aquatic habitat.
New decks, patios and gazebos are not allowed within the hydroelectric project below the 662-foot elevation boundary.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said officials would begin reviewing the report and that a 30-day public comment period was likely to begin soon.