Long bill prevents forced removal of property on Missouri’s Table Rock Lake

U.S. Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) on April 8 sponsored a bill to protect his home state constituents from federal changes associated with new boundary lines at Table Rock Lake.

If enacted, H.R. 2132 would exempt certain structures on the homeowners’ properties from forced removal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because they conflict with the lake’s new boundary lines, according to the congressman.

“This bill is a common sense solution to a problem that has long caused headaches to homeowners around Table Rock Lake,” Rep. Long said. “This bill provides a long overdue fix to this issue and allows these individuals to keep their decades-old structures in place.” 

The artificial lake in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas, which receives water from the Table Rock Dam constructed by the Corps on the White River, is a major tourist attraction for the nearby town of Branson, Mo.

Numerous homeowners around Table Rock Lake have structures on their property, such as retaining walls, steps and decks, that have been there for decades, according to Rep. Long. 

“Many of these people built these structures under the assumption they were on private land only to be told years later that wasn’t the case,” he said.

As the Corps utilizes more modern methods to establish the shoreline around Table Rock Lake, homeowners must remove certain structures the Corps previously deemed acceptable and which now may extend somewhat onto federal land, Rep. Long said.

To get homeowners to remove the structures, the Corps has withheld certain permits, according to the lawmaker.

If enacted, H.R. 2132 would grandfather certain structures that were in place before the finalization of the last Table Rock Lake Shoreline Master Plan in 1976. 

Additionally, H.R. 2132 would convey the minimum amount of land required to maintain the eligible structures to the property owner, according to Rep. Long’s summary of the bill.

And the Corps would not be permitted to take these structures into account when processing other permits for that property owner, he added.