Owners Say City Has Less Costly Alternatives to Expensive Sewer Project
LAKE OZARK, MO (STL.News) Landowners threatened by the City of Lake Ozark’s plan to use eminent domain to obtain their property are asking the public for support in their efforts to seek a less costly alternative to the proposed project. The City is actively seeking to use eminent domain to obtain the right to build a service road to a small residential pump station. Owners cite the City’s unwillingness to provide accurate information or credible justification for the project as some of their reasons for refusing to provide the City with additional land.
The City is under a Consent Judgment to eliminate sewage overflows. The City intends to repair the small pump station located at the head of a cove on Lake of the Ozarks. The station serves a residential area and has little maintenance needs. The City wants the land to install a service road for large trucks to reach the station. Lack of a service road for trucks to park next to the station has not contributed to sewage overflows. The City built the station in 1988 with the current access and has been servicing it adequately.
At issue is 1.3 acres of steep forested slopes and a small creek that runs to a Lake of the Ozarks cove. The valley is home to deer and other wildlife. The green space is a valued amenity to the surrounding homeowners. Owners say the City can continue to provide sewer service from this station as they have for the past 30 years without a service road for trucks, while at the same time preserve the hillsides, streams, and wildlife habitat.
Construction on steep slopes is expensive and problematic. Heavy impacts to the hillside are required for trucks to enter the valley and drive along the creek bottom. Extensive fill must be placed to support the road. Controlling storm-water runoff during construction is unlikely, and rock blasting may be required. The current cost estimate for the road is $280,000.
Owners have organized into an informal group they call NAGG: Neighbors Advocating Good Government. The group is concerned about the lack of transparency and whether sewer system funds are being spent in the most effective manner.
Landowners request additional scrutiny on this project by the public who pay for the system – residents and visitors to Lake Ozark. They are asking those who wish to support the landowners to attend the Board meeting or send an email supporting their efforts in asking the City to use a less costly alternative to OzarkNAGG@gmail.com.
Meeting to be held at 6 p.m. March 13 or Email OzarkNAGG@gmail.com.