TVA panel says no to residential development

By DUNCAN MANSFIELD, Associated Press Writer
September 29, 2006

A Tennessee Valley Authority committee made a dramatic recommendation Friday to reverse policy and stop selling protected shoreline along the Tennessee River system for private residential development.

The proposal, which will go out for public comment over the next month, would halt an existing informal policy that allowed two major developments on Nickajack and Tellico lakes in southeast Tennessee.

Those developments drew fire from conservationists and descendants of the land's original owners.

"It may open a few cans of worms out there," TVA director Susan Williams of Knoxville said of the new policy recommended by the board's community relations committee, which she chairs.

But she said the policy reflects public opinion from a hearing in August. At least 75 percent of more than 900 comments opposed the sale of public land for private development.

"We heard overwhelmingly that citizens wanted TVA's lands to be used for public recreation and public access," she said.

The proposed policy, which the board may vote on in November, would still allow new marinas or industrial development in areas already designated for that use.

The policy would affect about 293,000 acres that TVA manages along the Tennessee River and its tributaries in Tennessee and surrounding states. About 7,000 acres are designated already for industrial use.