The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.
Published March 7, 2018
Lake Ozark using eminent domain to take property
LAKE OZARK – Despite requests from land owners and their attorneys, the city is moving ahead to seize property through eminent domain with the approval of the first reading of the seizure last week.
The city is seeking property relating to the Twin Oaks Lift/Pump Station.
Part of the ordinance says:
“1. The Board of Aldermen of the City of Lake Ozark, Missouri hereby find, declares and determines that condemnation for the acquisition of a Perpetual Utility Easement and Temporary Construction Easement…through, under and upon the property which is presently owned by Rosemary L. Laramore, a single person, is necessary for constructing and for maintaining necessary infrastructure for the citizens and public good of the City of Lake Ozark, Missouri.
“2. The City Administrator and the City Attorney of the City of Lake Ozark, Missouri are hereby authorized and directed to proceed immediately with the ling of condemnation proceedings against the above described property to acquire the Temporary Construction Easement and Permanent Utility Easement giving permanent right-of-way over, under and through said parcels necessary for constructing and maintaining infrastructure related to the Twin Oaks Lift/Pump Station. Said acquisition is to be carried out as authorized by the laws and Constitution of the State of Missouri.”
In a letter to the city from the affected land owners (Rose Laramore, Kevin Kreutzer and Victoria Sutton) alternatives were proposed and a request was made not to proceed with the seizure of their property.
“As you will recall, our attorney Jim Putnam provided public comment at the Board meeting on November 28, 2017, conveying our position against a road to access the Twin Oaks Lift Station and asking that the Board consider reasonable alternatives.
“We continue to believe that reasonable alternatives exist and write now to ask the Aldermen not to take action on Bill No. 2018-05. This Ordinance would direct the Engineers to provide only one option for the Twin Oaks Lift Station, when that choice has not properly vetted alternatives or the environment impact of a road,” the letter stated.
The reasonable alternatives proposed in the letter are:
1. Rebuild the staircase with proper landings and weather enclosure, i.e. roof and walls.
2. Add rails and an equipment cart to the ramp to haul pumps up and down the stairs with a cable.
3. Add the separately powered backup pump to keep the station operational during power outages or pump failure; or, add a portable generator hookup at the top of the stairs parking area.
4. Add controls for the electrical panel to the top of the stairs parking area; or provide for remote controls to turn off alarms and other electrical features.
5. Modify the ramp and enlarge the platform for small utility vehicles to drive and turn around near the station to haul personnel and equipment.
6. Push-button hand cranes can be used to remove pumps from the wet wells and place them onto carts for haulage up the ramp by vehicle or cable.
7. Establish a long-term maintenance contract to rehabilitate the station using the existing access and address any future repairs. The City staff will not have to use the ramp and stairs. The contractor will take care of the station’s needs.
The city was also reminded in the letter that the property owners have always been accommodating to the city.
“Additionally, we remind the Aldermen that the property owner has always been willing over the past several years to offer access near the pump station for the City to repair the station should additional space be needed.”
Another attorney was present at last week’s Board of Alderman meeting to once again ask that the city not use eminent domain. The attorney also said that she believed certain conditions required by the State of Missouri for the improvements were not met.
That accusation was refuted by a representative from McClure Engineering who said in order to do the project you have to meet all the necessary requirements.
In a letter to the city in November of 2017 from Michael M. Hall, Senior Water Engineer at McClure, an access road is necessary.
“As you are aware, the design requirements for sewage systems in Missouri are based on what is commonly called the ‘10-State Standards’, established by the Great Lakes - Upper Mississippi River Board of State and Provincial Public Health and Environmental Managers, of which the State of Missouri is a member. The parameters in the aforementioned document have been codified into the Missouri Code of State Regulations (CSR) so that the MoDNR can implement and enforce the standards. These standards are considered the MINIMUM basis for design. The design guide is found in 10 CSR 20-8.
• “10 CSR 20-8.020, paragraph A.1 states that ‘As a minimum, an unobstructed all-weather access road should be provided to the pump station.’ Furthermore, it specifically states that if a pumping station is to be incorporated into an existing or proposed comprehensive sewerage system at some future the station SHALL be designed in accordance with 10 CSR 20-8,130. The latter definitely applies to the lift station in question, since it’s part of Lake Ozark’s system.
• Paragraph 3.B of 10 CSR 20-8.130 clearly states that the pumping station SHALL be readily accessible by maintenance vehicles during all weather conditions.”
Hall did say that the station can be rehabilitated without an access road but it is not recommended.
“1. The Twin Oaks lift station can be rehabilitated without a permanent road. This is technically feasible however, the need for permanent access for maintenance is the design parameter and goal that is being met with the permanent road. In addition, constructability and ease of construction are diminished without proper access (i.e. construction costs increase).
“2. The station can be maintained using the existing access ramp and stairs. The fact that this has been the means of maintenance for 30 years does not make it compliant with the needs of the current design standards. Stairs and an access ramp do not comply with being readily accessible by maintenance vehicles during all weather conditions. This is especially true given that the City of Lake Ozark is prone to accumulating ice storms during the winter months. This poses an unnecessary safety risk to the City’s maintenance personnel.
“3. Construction of the permanent road would not appear to pass a cost-benefit analysis. The letter states that the access is adequate when, in fact, it does not meet the standards of a permanent all-weather access for maintenance vehicles. Furthermore, it does not matter how many times a station needs maintenance - the CSR clearly states that the access must be provided.”
Four alternatives were listed by Hall.
“The first three, using the existing access, small vehicle access and installing an equipment lift system are all essentially the same alternative which would require using the existing access method, which does not meet the requirements of 10 CSR 20-8. Finally, the fourth and last alternative suggests reducing the flows to the lift station. Since the lift station cannot be eliminated, simply reducing the flows is irrelevant - the lift station would still exist and access for maintenance is necessary.”
The reasoning for the city’s decision is this move is necessary as part of the consent judgment with the state.
The board lost a court case with the state in 2008 and the city has to obey the consent agreement, which they feel this is a part of.
According to the court record, the objectives of the 2008 judgment are:
“A. To require Lake Ozark to come into and maintain compliance with the law, which prohibits discharging pollutants except in compliance with the law and this consent decree: and
B. To require Lake Ozark to abide by a schedule to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows (‘SSOs’) from its collection system.”
The consent judgment stated that the city “is ordered to comply with the Missouri Clean Water Law…at all times in the future.”
That was mentioned in the first paragraph of the eminent domain ordinance.
“WHEREAS, the City of Lake Ozark, Missouri has entered into a Consent Judgment and Order of Injunction in a lawsuit led in the Circuit Court of Miller County, Missouri entitled, State of Missouri ex rel. Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon, Attorney General of Missouri, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, and Missouri Clean Water Commission v. City of Lake Ozark, Case No. 08ML-CC0l4l; and
“WHEREAS, pursuant to said Consent Judgment, the City of Lake Ozark, Missouri was ordered to establish an improvement plan for its wastewater collection system to eliminate sanitary sewer overows from said wastewater collection system…”
The first reading of the ordinance was approved unanimously. The second reading should take place at the next Board of Alderman meeting (March 13).
In other business at last week’s Board of Aldermen meeting:
• Approved the second readings for a special use permit for Cingular Wireless and approval of a contract with McClure Engineering for sewer improvements.
• Passed a resolution with Mike Keith Insurance for Worker’s Compensation Insurance and associated coverages.
The rates have decreased by 17 percent and the city should save close to $10,000.
• Sent a request for rezoning for Magruder Limestone Company back to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The commission had asked for the board to deny the request for rezoning.
• Approved an event application for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; Bridge and Dam Half Marathon 10K and 5K for Saturday March 24.
• Approved the appointment of Dennis Horsman to the utility commission.
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