43 / 34
      40 / 33
      43 / 32

      McCaskill vows to help lake property owners

      A couple of weeks ago the Federal Energy Regulatory Ccommission, the agency that regulates the lake, the dam and the hydroelectric plant, agreed to take another look at the lake TMs shoreline management plan.

      The way the plan is now, nearly 1,000 homes and as many as 4,000 docks, patios and gazebos are in jeopardy.

      Ameren requested the hearing after FERC issued an order that all docks and other structures that don't meet code be removed--no matter how long they've been on the lake.

      Missouri senator Claire McCaskill spoke out on the issue and said FERC initial ruling is "beyond stupid."

      "I TMm furious that this has happened and really trying to get to the bottom of it," McCaskill said.

      As a homeowner herself, McCaskill is stepping up to help others affected by FERC's decision.

      "They have really delivered a gut punch to the lake in terms of the ability to move real estate and the ability for the economy to frankly recover after a couple of pretty tough years," McCaskill said.

      With FERC's permission Ameren wants to revise their project boundary and grandfather in all the structures in question that were in existence prior to a certain date.

      "We don't feel like that's good policy for the Lake of the Ozarks or the community, or the folks that have some of these structures, Ameren TMs Shoreline Manager Jeff Green said. We feel like these structures could be approved or maybe the project boundary around the lake could perhaps be revised and take those structures out of harms way."

      Officials from the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance agreed.

      We feel that if it's not harming the lake and not interfering with the dam operation then lets let the residents own their property and not cut their property value etc," Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance TMs Donna Swall said.

      Many of the property owners affected by this had no idea their property was actually built on utility land or easements.

      Green said a lot of them got into this messy situation after years of confusing property deeds.

      "People thought they owned to a lower elevation then they actually did and now we're faced with a lot of structures, most of which were built quite some time ago, that we really need to come up with some tools to allow them to stay," Green said.

      McCaskill said she will do whatever she can to help.

      If I have to work to get a law passed to make this right, I TMm going to do it, McCaskill said. It is just beyond stupid that they have done this to homeowners down at the lake."

      At the end of the day McCaskill thinks the easements will be given and property rights will be respected.

      "I can't imagine any court in this country that would deny these homeowners and these property owners their property rights under these circumstances," McCaskill said.

      If you disagree with what FERC decided, click here to visit the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance's page where you can sign a petition.