Long voices concern about new Corps moratorium at Table Rock

Posted on December 8, 2014 08:17 am CST

Springfield News-Leader
By Wes Johnson

A new moratorium on dock construction at Table Rock Lake has drawn the concern of U.S. Rep. Billy Long.

In a news release, Long said he contacted Col. Courtney W. Paul of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and manages the lake, to discuss the newest moratorium.

"While I appreciate Col. Paul listening to the concerns of myself and many of my constituents who have reached out to me, I am not convinced this course of action is necessary or prudent at this time," Long said.

"There is no need for the Corps to take this drastic action that will negatively impact property owners and the local economy around Table Rock Lake on the heels of a recession and a recent one-year moratorium."

Long, however, said he received assurance from Paul that "no existing Redline Zoning, dock permissible areas, would be taken away from land owners, and the Corps will not revisit a possible vegetation buffer zone that was floated during the last moratorium."

"Both of these decisions should come as a relief to landowners," Long added. "Following the call I look forward to the Corps working in good faith to educate the public on what this plan will entail. The Corps needs to avail itself of all avenues available to effectively communicate with property owners what to expect going forward with the moratorium."

Redline Zones are areas designated by the Corps where boat dock construction is allowed.

On Monday, the Corps announced a second temporary moratorium on new dock permit applications while it works to determine a baseline number of permits and docks for an updated shoreline management plan. The shoreline plan hasn't been updated in 19 years.

In December 2012, the Corps issued a similar moratorium on permit requests pending a yearlong review of the Table Rock Lake Master Plan. That moratorium was lifted a year later, and the Corps began accepting permit applications on Jan. 2, 2013.

Late Friday, Miles Brown, chief of public affairs at the Corps' Little Rock, Arkansas, office, said the 2012 moratorium was put in place while the corps revised its land classification plan for areas around the lake. That differs from the current moratorium, which is focused more narrowly on shoreline management, he said.

"This is an additional deep-dive look at the pieces of shoreline management plan," Brown said. "The Corps stopped requests for new dock permits so they have a steady-state to look at while they update the shoreline plan. It's a way to control the inputs while we make sure the shoreline plan is fair to those who use the lake as well as the Corps."

He emphasized that while new dock permits are on hold, the Corps is still processing requests to repair damaged docks and renew existing dock permits, although that process likely will slow during the review period.

While the shoreline management plan is being revised, which is expected to take until the spring of 2017, "requests for shoreline activity will not be accepted," according to the Corps.

The Corps also noted that all zoning and shoreline management regulations will remain in effect until the plan is complete.

The Corps' shoreline management plans are used to guide the use of the shoreline to "ensure the general public recreational enjoyment and fish and wildlife benefits on public lands and water, both now and for generations to come," the release says.

A series of public workshops will be held in March to inform the public about the process used to update the shoreline plan and take information from lake area residents and park visitors.

For more information about the shoreline management plan revision process, visit http://www.swl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Planning/TableRockLakeShorelineManagementPlan.aspx or call Dana Coburn at 501-324-5601.







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