TVA Shoreline Fee Hike Spurs Fight

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February 22, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

Red dots mark dams in the Tennessee Valley Authority. Gold dots mark fossil fuel electricity-generating power plants. Map courtesy of Wikipedia.

Larry Steidle's marina in Meigs County, Tenn., is one of about 450 riverbank businesses in the Chattanooga region expected to be affected by a change the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is rolling out this year after about five years of study and negotiation.

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, over the years, many commercial-use fees have been very low — varying from $400 to $1,200 a year for multiacre recreational areas, say TVA officials.

"We decided we needed a consistent policy," said James Adams, TVA's manager for land and shorelines.

"These folks are in private business making money off of public land," said Bill Sitton, TVA's land and shoreline communications consultant.

TVA, a federally owned and ratepayer-financed utility, purchased and obtained thousands of acres of riverside land in the 1930s and 1940s to create flood control and power generating reservoirs.

In the past decade, TVA has met public resistance to selling or swapping its lakeshore land to developers and adopted a policy not to sell more.

But TVA still is looking at raising the lease and use fees at most of the recreational campgrounds and marinas along the publicly owned shorelines of its 46 reservoirs across seven states.

The new policy, to be implemented in January 2013, looks at the recreational areas with a formulaic eye toward market-value rents or leases, or a percent of commercial revenues. The overall new contract sets out 4 percent of revenues, Adams said.

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