Lake of Ozarks Videos

 Senator McCaskill furious ... (2011)
 Congresswoman Hartzler addresses House ... (2011)
 FERC Backs Down ... (2013)
    There are two recent legal matters at the Lake of the Ozarks that could have relevance at Smith Mountain Lake.

    The first matter involves "squatter's rights."  Three lawsuits filed against Ameren UE, (the project operator) claiming adverse possession, are scheduled to be heard June 16 by Judge Kenneth Hayden.  (Trying to get info on outcome.)  A jury will be present at the trial, scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Camden County Courthouse.  As Ameren implemented the recent Shoreline Management Plan, they were "FERCed Over" by that same Independent Federal Agency and told that all non-permitted encroaching structures (e.g. homes, condos, roads, docks, etc) in the project boundary must be removed.  Of course FERC later reversed itself and allowed all of the encroaching structures to remain, revealing its missing backbone, and its inability to involve the Agency in a property rights dispute of this magnitude.

    The adverse possession lawsuits filed against the project operator all came after that power company notified approximately 1,500 residents – that all or a portion of their properties lie inside the power company’s project boundary and, as such, don’t actually belong to those property owners but instead belong to Ameren UE.  So to cover itself and make nice to affected residents, Ameren filed Estoppel Certificates, that grant easement rights to use the properties. Those certificates serve as a legally binding commitment promising that Ameren won’t take steps to remove existing structures located on the power company’s property. However, all Realtors contacted agreed that selling an easement is quite different than selling land that is owned, and both title companies and lenders said the Estopple Certificates don’t provide a marketable title.  Adverse possession allows a “squatter” to sue to get legal title to the property after that person or persons have been in possession of the property, and acting as if they owned the property by paying the taxes and maintaining the land, for 10 years.

    Any relevance to SML here ... we've paid taxes on our docks and riprap since they were installed!

Read:  Lake of the Ozarks residents will take land dispute to court By Donald Bradley, The Kansas City Star McClatchy-Tribune Information Services   

    The second matter involves a wrongful death lawsuit against Ameren Missouri (the project operator) that stemmed from the deaths of two children in the Lake of the Ozarks on July 4, 2012 following electrical shocks from a nearby dock. The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals ruled that the project operator's dock permit and enforcement fees were user fees for the construction, use and enjoyment of a dock and consequently the project operator, Ameren UE was liable. 

    Maybe APCo ought to reconsider issuing dock permits and not charging fees to record the dock Permit!