BUCHANAN, Tenn. (WATE) – In 30 years, floating homes will be a thing of the past in Tennessee.
At their quarterly board meeting, Tennessee Valley Authority voted 7-2 on a 30 year sunset on floating homes. That means floating homes will be allowed to exist on TVA waterways for the next 30 years.
TVA estimates there are more than 1,800 floating houses on their waterways across Tennessee. TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson recommended the 30 year sunset along with upgrades to ensure current homes to limit the environmental impact and safety concerns over that period.
“Our work as steward of the region’s natural resources requires us to deal with a challenging issue, how to safely manage the river system and other resources to provide the greatest good for the public,” said Johnson. “Like national and state parks, which prohibit private residential use of public resources, the land and water we manage are owned by the public.”
At the meeting dozens of floating home owners spoke out against a sunset clause. Homeowners had testified about how much they had invested. Marina owners offered testimony about the economic activity the homes contributed.
Also the homeowners talked about how TVA in the past did not enforce its own permitting rules and that they had been told it was okay to buy these homes. Several TVA board members admitted this policy had been mishandled and miscommunication in the past.
“It is clear that TVA has made a mess out of this for 40 years,” said TVA board member Mike McWheeler. “I know our inactivity has created a real monster for TVA and the people affected by it.”
Some TVA board members proposed delaying the vote until August, but the motion failed. Board members said they will spend the next six months looking at the specific regulations and would look for ways to mitigate the losses associated with removing the homes.
“We were asked to use our hearts and not our heads in making this decision. I understand that request. I wish I could do that, but in the end I feel like what is the right thing for us to do as stewards on this land is to enforce the policy that is on paper and what is fair to provide the necessary time needed to ensure we haven’t brought economic destitution to some that have invested their retirement funds in this piece of property,” said Eric Satz.