House Passes Amendment to Delay TRL Shoreline Management Plan by Five Years

Posted on September 28, 2016 18:30 pm CDT

Ozarks First-

WASHINGTON D.C.--An amendment that would delay the Army Corps of Engineers' Table Rock Lake management plan, sponsored by Congressman Bill Long(R-Mo.), has been passed by the United State's House.

“After talking with constituents, it was clear to me that their main concern about the Shoreline Management Plan is that their voices are not being heard,” said Rep. Long. “My amendment addresses that by ensuring that the people directly impacted by the plan will have a say in it and have a chance to comply with the proposed measures.  With many people owning homes and land around Table Rock Lake, I thought it was only fair that they be given ample amount of time to prepare for the changes, and my amendment does just that.”

The amendment will delay the plan for five years, lift the moratorium on issuing permits for new and existing docks and extend the public comment period.

Table Rock Lake Shoreline Management Plan

The last time Table Rock Lake’s Shoreline Management Plan was updated was in 1996 - focusing on what areas should be left in their natural state and what areas could be used for different levels of development.

"We try to balance the lake for sustainability," says Army Corps of Engineers Lake Manager, Greg Oller, "we don't want the entire shoreline to be limited development."

It’s in limited development areas, roughly 12% of the shoreline, where the Corps of Engineers and the Tri-Lakes Board of Realtors don't see eye to eye.

"We've utilized about 7% of that 12%," says Oller, "So there's still 5% of the shoreline that limited development is available."

The Corps, which has held  public meetings and workshops are discussing these changes:

  • All new docks running parallel to the lake
  • Only issuing new dock permits and slips to adjacent landowners
  • Vegetation modification programs
  • Looking at commercial marina expansions as an alternative to additional private or community docks

Concerns from the Community

The Tri-Lakes Board of Realtors says it’s not asking for the limited development areas to be expanded, instead, it’s concerned new restrictions could be put in place.

"In terms of the vegetation that can or can't be controlled," says Tri-Lakes Board of Realtors President, Cole Currier. "Whether or not you can put a boat dock in certain places [and] if there are heavy restriction on whose allowed to own a boat slip."

Currier says regulations like not allowing a lake homeowner to mow the grass down to the lake could hurt property values, and in turn the local economy.

"The current restrictions that are in place are already strong enough to maintain the natural beauty of the lake," says Currier.

Others are concerned that once the limited development areas are full only commercial docks slips will be allowed.

"This can't be all things to all people," says Oller, "Our job is to do is what the public is telling us, and try to do our best to develop a draft that reflects the wishes of the public."

Politics Involved

"They’re going to kill the values around this lake, for years and years,” says U.S. Congressman, Billy Long.

Long says Senator Roy Blunt shares his concerns. Long stated recently he would push for new legislation to prohibit changes to the shoreline if he feels the management plan is overreaching, and he's done just that by the passing of the amendment to HR 5303.

"The main concern is that the Corps has a history and a habit of not listening to constituents, my constituents, in the 7th district,” he says, “and that really needs to stop."

The Corps, on the other hand, points to the last year, which has included public workshops, scoping projects, and focus groups.

USACE project manager, Dana Coburn, says the Corps is taking public comment into consideration and says any potential changes are far from finalized.

"We have a hard job in front of us,” Coburn says. “We as an agency, are tasked with taking care of a resource that has to be good for many generations to come."

Coburn says next year several draft alternatives will be presented to the public and, once again, the public comments will be collected.

She says those comments will be added to the collaborative look at what is best for Table Rock Lake.

"Looking at financial sustainability, environmental sustainability, and safety concerns,” she says, “...for the overall good and health of the lake."

The draft alternatives are expected to be presented to the public in February.

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