Campers: New TVA Campground Regs 'Poor'
The holiday weekend at Southern Komfort Campground in western Kentucky, owner Larry Hellcamp said, was "disappointing."
For the first time he can remember, campsites sat empty on a holiday weekend. Those vacancies, according to Hellcamp, translated to a $30,000 loss compared to this time last year, WPSD-TV, Paducah, reported
Hellcamp says the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) new regulations have hurt more than just his business, "Not only did we lose the renewal fee of somebody that wants to stay, the county lost the tax base."
The regulations went into effect Jan. 1 and regulated campground and marina fees, which increased in some cases. The TVA says it was because the structure fee was uneven. The TVA says regulating the fees is expected to generate an additional $1.5 million annually. That money, a TVA spokesman said, will be used to maintain facilities.
Also, campers are no longer allowed to remain on site year round. Once they leave, they must get on a waiting list or enter into a lottery for a chance to return.
To maintain clients that could stay year-round, Hellcamp created additional campsites on nearby property he owns.
Camper Hank Dockins was glad to have somewhere to go.
"I told my wife I was too old for that," he said of moving several times a year, adding, "I wasn't going to stay down there and move out every 21 days, or 2 weeks."
The TVA says the new regulations make the sites accessible to more people. But Dockins says it is driving away people and dollars.
"They're gonna have people on the holidays, maybe the weekend, but we're here 7-8 months a year putting money into the economy."
Owner Larry Hellcamp is part of the Shoreline Alliance – a lawsuit filed by business owners looking to halt those TVA regulations. The TVA has filed to dismiss that lawsuit but a judge has not yet ruled. Hellcamp says he is also considering a petition to eventually take to lawmakers in Washington, D.C.