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City reiterates need for businesses to follow the rules: City of Lake Ozark officials have a stern warning for businesses that sell alcohol within the city limits: Follow the rules or face possible suspension of your liquor license, or even worse your business license. A local bar/restaurant recently violated city code when an employee allowed patrons to consume alcohol outside the boundaries of the premises three days in a row without the proper licensing. The business owner had acquired the proper state license but had failed to obtain a catering license from the City of Lake Ozark. Both licenses are required by law before alcohol can be consumed off premises – even then, the exact boundaries of the off-premises consumption must be outlined in the catering license application. The issue arose when the bar/restaurant owner applied for a temporary catering license at the regular May 11 board of aldermen meeting for additional dates throughout the summer. The license was ultimately approved, but not before city staff and the Chief of Police scolded the bar/restaurant manager about the incident and warned him not to let it happen again. “It was made clear to that business that he had to have a local city permit, but still continued to serve alcohol in the parking lot in violation of Missouri law,” Police Chief Gary Launderville said. “I have a hard time with the board okaying anything for this business. The license clearly states that the business is subject to all ordinances of the City of Lake Ozark and that the owner and employees agree to that, yet he violated those rules Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday.” City Administrator Dave Van Dee reiterated that both state and city permits are required before alcohol can be served or consumed off the premises of a bar.  “The chief wants to know that the board understands that if it happens again the Police Department will issue citations and will forward the information to the proper state agency,” Van Dee said. City Attorney Christopher Rohrer confirmed the violation. He witnessed the incident Saturday night of that recent weekend and alerted the chief of police. Rohrer noted during the meeting that the police department is stretched well beyond its manpower with other issues and shouldn’t have to deal with permit violations when the owners or managers knowingly break the rules. The business manager, given an opportunity address the board, said it was a misunderstanding as to what constituted the bar’s premises. He assumed it included the tent outside the business. “The minute your patrons left your doorway and went to that tent, they crossed that line and put you and your license in jeopardy,” Van Dee said. The bar owner said there are posted signs that alert patrons about taking alcohol off the property. “I don’t see any ambiguity in this,” Mayor Dennis Newberry said. “It’s your job as business owner to know the rules and regulations.” Chief Launderville said he and his officers will be watching closely for any violations and will take appropriate action which could include a citation or shutting the business down. “From my perspective, we definitely want to support the businesses, but we also want to send a clear message that businesses must comply with our code,” Van Dee said. “We want to be user friendly and want businesses to be successful, but we have to have their cooperation and follow both state and local liquor laws. The responsibility is on the business owner, in my opinion.” The city administrator stressed that following the rules and regulations of both the city and state applies to all businesses, not just those that serve alcohol.   


Revamped Highway 54 interchange to open next week

The signals and the intersection (top photo) at W Road and Highway 54 will be going away by the end of next week as MoDOT moves to open Highway 54 to non-stop traffic as part of a major interchange project. There will still be easy access to Bagnell Dam/Lake Ozark and Osage National Resort as part of the interchange. See map embedded in story for specifics. 



The long-awaited opening of the Highway 54 interchange in Lake Ozark will take place just in time for the annual Magic Dragon Street Meet Nationals car show and the start of the busy season in the lake area.

Contractors are scheduled to remove traffic signals at the intersection of Highway 54, Business Route 54, Route W and Osage Hills Road. The removal of those signals will coincide with the opening of the new multi-million-dollar interchange that will tie in those roads with Highway 54 in a more efficient manner, according to MoDOT officials.

Revamping of the interchange is part of the Missouri Department of Transportation’s ongoing effort to bring improvements and increase the safety for the traveling public, officials say,

The deactivation and removal of the signals is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, April 21. The removal of the signal and existing pavement will require eastbound and westbound lane closures on Highway 54 through Friday, April 23. Motorists are advised to proceed through the area with caution and watch for signage.
“This is a tremendous next step in the process of constructing the new interchange”, said Central Area Engineer Robert Lynch. “When the signals at the intersection are removed and the new interchange is opened, traffic will be able to flow more freely and safely through that area. We’re excited to reach this landmark moment in the project.”

Construction on the new interchange began in February of 2020. The new interchange is designed to increase traffic safety and improve traffic flow in an area where numerous traffic accidents have occurred. In addition to the new interchange, the project involves building several new connecting roads and three roundabouts in the same area.

The changes
Lynch advises that once the signals are removed, traffic from Route W, Osage Hills Road and Business 54 will no longer be able to access Highway 54 at the existing signal location and will be required to use the new interchange. For westbound traffic, access to Route W or to The Strip across Bagnell Dam will continue to use the existing exit ramp. Eastbound Highway 54 traffic wanting access to The Strip and Lake Ozark will use an exit ramp that will take motorists through a new roundabout and under the existing Highway 54 to a second roundabout. Motorists will be able to turn right to Route W or left to cross Bagnell Dam. 

The existing painted roundabout near Eagle Stop (former Rick’s C Store) will also be rebuilt in the near future. Motorists exiting westbound Highway 54 will come to a temporary T-intersection where they can turn right onto W Road or left to access Bagnell Dam and Lake Ozark.

More information about that project will be released at a later date.

Motorists are urged to watch for traffic signals and reduced speed limits during the construction.