Tightening dock regs
AmerenUE looking at issue of large commerical docks. Feds could be involved
By Joyce L. Miller/Lake Sun
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - AmerenUE officials say they expect to make an announcement by the end of the summer on how they will deal with the proliferation of docks on Lake of the Ozarks.
Dock owners, builders and developers can expect some changes in the permitting process and the regulations in the near future, according to AmerenUE shoreline field coordinator Jeff Green.
AmerenUE operates Bagnell Dam under federal guidelines and has specific authority over Lake of the Ozarks.
The process of identifying issues and potential solutions got underway this week when a group of community representatives met to discuss current issues regarding the size of docks currently permitted on Lake of the Ozarks.
"The focus of this meeting was to address the permitting process of large (multi-well) docks and discuss real or perceived problems," Green said. "As the lake has developed we are now looking at larger docks, higher residential densities, second-tier development with community docks and more structures in the backs of coves. The areas left for development are more challenging. AmerenUE wants to involve the community in identifying the issues and possible solutions."
Green said development on Lake of the Ozarks has come to a point where there are new issues that need to be addressed in order to ensure the protection of the environmental, scenic and recreational aspects of the lake.
One of the primary issues is whether docks should be allowed to extend as much as 200 feet from the shoreline.
Green said there is also a growing problem with large commercial docks being put in place without the proper permits.
If the issues are not addressed on a local level, Green said there is a possibility that permits for commercial docks would end up in the hands of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Under AmerenUE's federal operating license, the utility company is responsible for shoreline management on Lake of the Ozarks. However, there is a provision in the license that allows FERC to get involved in the permitting process for commercial docks.
"We don't want to go to that point," Green said. "We want to come up with some solutions that meet the greater good." He said it is not inconceivable that FERC would get involved.
Missouri Water Patrol Captain Joe Hughes says as the number of docks, seawalls and other structures on the water increases, so do the requests for no-wake buoys and zones.
"We don't have any authority over docks unless there is a navigational or safety issue," Hughes said. "But, we are more than happy to work with AmerenUE on solutions. AmerenUE is taking a very proactive approach."
Camden County Presiding Commissioner Carolyn Loraine said she does not foresee the county getting involved in the permitting or enforcement process. She said the county could not afford to do it.
Some dock-related issues may be addressed by the planning commission, Loraine said
"Feedback is what we are looking for right now," Green said.