The TVA is attempting to remove houseboats and floating houses from TVA lakes. This presents two problems for me as your commissioner and as a protector of private property rights.
First, these units represent taxable property for the county in which they are moored. Some neighboring counties have over one hundred such units on local TVA lakes. Cherokee County has approximately twenty.
While this does not represent a large source of income, every nickel counts as our budget requests grow faster than the county income.
Second, I have an issue with the federal government owning, controlling, and regulating lands that should be the property of the states or private individuals. The federal government that already owns far more land than allowed by the Constitution. It is estimated that 45% of the land mass of the US is owned and controlled by Washington. Unfortunately, federal bureaucrats in the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Land Management have become more aggressive about using environmental regulations to restrict land use and outright land seizure to evict property owners from property they legally own.
As citizens, technically we “own” all federal land and should not be prevented from using it for lawful recreation and commerce. The TVA plans would, over twenty years, eliminate all houseboats and floating houses from the lakes it controls. This is unacceptable to me.
It is my belief that all federal lands, except for those purposes allowed by the Constitution, should be returned to the states in which the land lies. Then, it would be up to the citizens of the state to determine rules, regulations, and restrictions for the use of what is rightfully ours.
In support of Swain County’s original resolution and to forcefully state the importance of private property rights, the Cherokee County Commission passed the following resolution:
RESOLUTION OPPOSING THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY’S (TVA) ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS AND ALTERNATIVE FORMULATED TO ELIMINATE FLOATING HOUSES AND NON-NAVIGABLE HOUSEBOATS ON TVA LAKES IN THE YEAR 2036
The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners hereby resolves the following at a regularly assembled meeting:
WHEREAS, TVA is a major federal land holder in Cherokee County; and
WHEREAS, TVA started an environmental process in April, 2014, to study the impacts and concerns for safety, sanitation, water quality, and fair use of public lands and reservoirs in the TVA system; and
WHEREAS, upon approval of the policy by the TVA Board and following public comment period, final rules will be published in the Federal Register; and
WHEREAS, Cherokee County taxes floating houses and non-navigable houseboats in a manner consistent with the North Carolina Machinery Act; and
WHEREAS, Cherokee County will have a reduction in ad-valorem taxes receivable due to the TVA recommendation on floating houses and non-navigable houseboats located on TVA waters and lakes within Cherokee County; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of Cherokee County, as citizens of the United States of America, are the rightful owners of all Federal Waters and Lands, and, as such, have the right to the free use of such property for recreation and commerce;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners itself resolves and also joins the Swain County Board of Commissioners to oppose the Alternative developed by the TVA and further resolve that the TVA should eliminate this Alternative from consideration by the TVA Board of Directors.
The Cherokee County Board of Commissioners further resolves and opposes all efforts by the TVA to restrict, limit, and/or eliminate the right of the citizens of Cherokee County to have access to and use of TVA waters and lakes for lawful recreation and commerce.
Adopted unanimously this 16th day of May, 2016.
Resolution written by Dr. Dan Eichenbaum, Commissioner Cherokee County. Please contact Dr. Dan for comments (DrDan@DrDanCommissioner.com).