President Obama signs law preventing TVA from removing floating homes

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) - A decision to remove all floating homes from waterways under control of the Tennessee Valley Authority was overruled. The homes were due to be removed in 30 years.

Karen Jenkins, owner of a floating home, said she was thrilled with the news, CBS affiliate WJHL reports.

President Obama signed the bill that re-wrote a portion of the Tennessee Valley Authority Act after a 7-2 vote from the TVA in May on a proposal that would remove all homes within 30 years.

"We feel like our homes have value again," Jenkins said. "When they passed this, you know, who's going to buy a house that they know that they can't keep for more than 30 years?"

In September, North Carolina's Republican U.S. Senators filed legislation in response to the TVA's proposal. Congress passed the bill, meaning that the new law no longer requires floating home owners to get rid of their floating homes within the next 30 years, as long as they follow rules agreed upon by TVA.

"We wanted to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to safely enjoy these great natural resources that the TVA manages for the public throughout the valley," TVA Spokesperson Jim Hopson said.

Hopson also said the rules for floating homeowners have not yet been defined.

"A series of requirements will be created to address specific safety, environment and navigational safety issues associated with having floating houses or floating cabins on TVA's reservoirs," Hopson said.

Hopson explained that floating homeowners will have to pay fees, but that the costs have not yet been decided.

"We have to determine what the fair nature of those fees would be and then those who would have the floating homes or cabins would be required to pay their fair share of those specific fees."

"Hopefully it won't get too out of hand and make it to where it's not worth owning these homes," Jenkins said.

A series of public hearings will be held to determine the necessary changes that will need to be made in order for the floating homes to remain on TVA reservoirs, as well as to decide on the fees homeowners must pay. TVA said those meetings should happen near the beginning of 2017.