President signs bill allowing houseboats to stay on Fontana Lake

Lawmakers succeeded in placing an amendment into a big water development measure. The amendment protects current houseboats. The president signed it Friday. (Photo cred: WLOS staff)

President Obama signed off on legislation that will allow existing houseboats to stay on Fontana Lake.

Last spring, the Tennessee Valley Authority Board voted to remove them within 30 years, citing environmental and safety concerns.

RELATED | Measure to stop TVA houseboat ban advances

Floating boat homeowners protested online and testified before Congress in September. Congressman Mark Meadows and other lawmakers succeeded in placing an amendment into a big water development measure. The amendment protects current houseboats. The president signed it Friday.

Laura Sneed’s family owns two houseboats. She says the reversal comes as a relief.

“Now, at least, we know we don't actually have to destroy either, and we can pass it on to our kids. Or if something bad happens to us, it's an asset that we can sell,” she said.

RELATED | Fontana houseboat owners to testify in Washington against TVA sunset provision

Swain County Commissioner David Monteith said houseboats generate thousands of dollars in revenues for surrounding communities.

“It's a win-win situation for not only the people and their families, but for the counties, for us and Graham County and Cherokee and everybody,” he said.

RELATED | Opposition grows over TVA houseboat proposal

Under the new arrangement, existing houseboats will stay. But the TVA still says no to adding new floating homes.

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