TVA hosting final public meeting on floating houses in the state

(WJHL) – TVA has begun looking at “floating houses” on lakes around the state.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is hosting a series of public meetings to discuss a draft Environmental Impact Statement on the development of a policy regarding floating houses on TVA reservoirs after identifying more than 1,800 of the non-navigable structures on 16 TVA reservoirs. Unlike traditional watercraft, floating houses are primarily designed and used for habitation, creating unique safety and environmental issues that must be considered.

Jim Hopson with TVA explains, “over the last 5-10 years, TVA has noticed a large number of much larger, almost sub-division type homes being built literally on the water, lumber houses being built barges that have been floated out into the water. We call these floating homes.

“Ordinarily, these are not out navigating on the water, they’re normally in marinas,” Hopson said. “They are much larger, they have a lot higher electric needs than than typical house boats that you would normally think of, and a lot more water use as well, both gray water as well as black water.”

Hopson said these type homes are actually prohibited which leads to a lot of confusion.

“Since 1978, TVA has prohibited these types of floating houses. There has been a little bit of a misunderstanding as to what is a boat vs. what is a floating home. We’re trying to make certain that people understand that just because you have a boat number on a barge, but a 2,000 sq. foot home out there, it’s not necessarily considered the same thing as a bass boat or a party barge.”

Hopson said TVA hopes to look at all the public input and come up with some rules everyone can live with.

“We want to make certain that people clearly understand what the guidelines are and really make the reservoir safe for everyone, both from electrical safety standpoint as well as environmental consequences of perhaps having a lot of excess water that could just be dumped into the reservoir,” Hopson said. “TVA is looking at a limited number of options, we’re wanting to come back and provide the public with input on these smaller number of options that we’re looking at, targeting having some new regulations in place probably in early 2016.”

Copyright 2015 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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