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Indian Ridge developers plead guilty to clean water violations

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Two firms involved in the development of Indian Ridge Resort Community in Branson West pleaded guilty Nov. 21 to violating the Clean Water Act.

Indian Ridge Resort Inc. - represented in court by owner and President Jim Shirato -  and North Shore Investments LLC - represented by owner Donald Snider - pleaded guilty in separate appearances to charges contained in a Sept. 1, 2010, superseding indictment, according to a news release from Beth Phillips, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Shirato and Snider broke ground in 2005 for the planned $1.6 billion, 850-acre Stone County development, with plans to include hundreds of homes, condominiums, an eight-story hotel, water park, golf course, conference center, retail shopping and restaurants, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

By pleading guilty, officials from both companies admitted a failure to prevent storm-water runoff at the construction site from funneling silt into Table Rock Lake. According to the release, construction activities such as clearing, grading and excavation disturbed roughly 600 acres of land southeast of Highway 76 and Highway 13 between August 2006 and June 2009, and the companies' failure to abate, control or slow the erosion persisted until at least the end of August 2011.

Under the terms of the guilty plea, Indian Ridge Resort and North Shore Investments must pay fines of $215,000 and $100,000, respectively. Both companies also will be subject to a five-year probationary period, which includes a compliance clause to prevent further erosion and discharge of sediment from the construction site into the lake and its tributaries. A sentencing hearing will follow completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office, the release said.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robyn McKee and was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Shirato and Snider could not be reached for comment by deadline.
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