Floating houseboat owners could be asked to leave

By  | 

LA FOLLETTE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Tennessee Valley Authority has proposed to remove non-navigable floating homes on all TVA reservoirs in the next 20 years.

The proposal will be brought before the board Thursday in the quarterly Board of Director meeting.

For some people, their floating home is everything.

"This home to me is our whole way of life," said Paula Johnson who owns a floating house on Norris Lake.

It might look like a normal home, but it actually floats in the water.

For Randall and Paula Johnson, this is their life.

"This place means everything to us," said Randall.

The Tennessee Valley Authority has proposed to remove all floating houses considered non-navigabl. If approved, homes could be removed and destroyed in the next 20 years.

"We have over $180,000 dollars invested in this house," said Randall. "We know we don't own property. We don't want to own property. We want to rent a slip in the Marina, just like every other boat does."

The Johnson's aren't going down without a fight. They're showing up at a TVA meeting tomorrow to try and stop them from destroying their home.

"I can't believe the government can make you tear your own property down and not give you anything in return for it," said Paula. "It's ridiculous."

This isn't only going to hurt people living in these homes, this is going to hurt jobs.

"It's difficult just to watch TVA destroy vacations and livelihoods and a community," said Lucas Scholl, General Manager at Shanghai Resort.

Shanghai Resort is a marina, hotel, and campground. Floating homes make up a good portion of their business.

"Forty or 50 homes will have to get yanked out or destroyed, so we'll lose that income," said Scholl. "A lot of them won't come back just because they won't have a place to come to, so they'll end up selling their boats."

TVA said there are nearly 1,800 floating homes on TVA lakes. They said many of them aren't officially allowed on TVA reservoirs.

"Some of them are very well kept, brand new, but they're operating on public property," said Scott Brooks, Public Relations with TVA. "These are folks who are either making a residence on or, in some cases, renting out for profit these homes on public property, which should be available to everyone."

For the Johnson's, they just want to continue making memories.