A federal agency is telling Ameren thousands of structures on its property at the Lake of the Ozarks have to go away, but Ameren wants more time to look at the issue.
In the more than 80 years since Ameren bought property on the Lake, Shoreline Manager Jeff Green says over 4,000 homes, docks, patios and other structures have been built on Ameren property. The Utility must file a shoreline management plan with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that in part deals with these structures.
FERC has issued an approval of that plan that Green says does not give the Utility the tools it feels it needs to deal with existing structures. Green says a re-hearing has been requested.
Ameren wants to lower its boundaries so that they will no longer include many of those structures. The rest could be allowed to remain on the utility’s property under certain conditions. Those could include:
Expansion would be prohibited
Nothing may be done in the structure to harm the Lake’s resources or the environment
Structures could only be moved off the project boundary
As to how these structures came to be built on Ameren property, Green says errors in deeds have been found over time. He says deeds have been written to include an elevation along the shoreline that does not match the utility’s project boundary. After 2 or 3 generations and those properties have changed hands, Green says many property owners have been told their land extends to the water line when it actually does not.
Green says some decks, patios and gazebos have been permitted by Ameren, but the Commission is suggesting such permits not be allowed in the future.
Most of the properties in question are in the upper tributaries of the Osage and Niangua Rivers and Gravois Creek. Green estimates that less than 10 percent of the total lake front parcels have an issue.
FERC has given Ameren until May find a resolution to the issue. The utility is asking for an extension until 2013.