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Public and Private Water-Use Facilities

1.0 Purpose

To document TVA’s operational classification of multiple-slip water use facilities based on public or private use of the facility and the associated maximum allowable facility footprint and harbor limits associated with these uses.

2.0 Public and Private Use of Water-Use Facilities

TVA manages the reservoir for multiple uses, including recreation access for private and public use. In 1999, TVA implemented a Shoreline Management Policy (SMP) based on the Shoreline Management Initiative (SMI) adopted by the Board. The policy established new standards for construction of facilities along the reservoir. The construction standards manage the density and size of shoreline structures in order to protect important natural resources and preserve public benefits while allowing reasonable access to the water. These standards were incorporated into the Code of Federal Regulations, 18 CFR Part 1304, in 2003.

When permitting multiple-slip water use facilities, TVA considers whether the use of the facility will be public or private. Public facilities, such as commercial marinas, provide open access to the general public (not limited by membership or dues) whereas private facilities do not. The construction standards of the SMP are used in permitting private, non-commercial facilities.

Water-use facilities can be divided into four broad categories based on use, general amenities provided, and access: (1) private individual facilities (2) community facilities, (3) private waterfront clubs and (4) commercial marinas. The fundamental difference among these types of facilities is the access provided to the general public. Commercial Marinas are generally the only facilities which provide open access to the general public; whereas, the other types provide private (exclusive) use by the property owner or club member(s) and their guests. Private waterfront clubs may include, but are not limited to: yacht clubs, sailing clubs and corporate recreation areas serving company employees

 Private water use facilities (such as individual or community facilities) are limited in size based on Section 26a Regulations (§§ 1304.204, 1304.206, and 1304.300). When determining the size and number of slips allowed for a private community facility TVA considers the provisions of 1304.206(b). The “length of shoreline frontage associated with a community outlot” [§1304.206(b)(2)(iii)] is a key factor TVA considers when determining the maximum allowable facility footprint of a community facility. Consistent with the density standards of SMP, the maximum allowable footprint of a private community facility is based on the length of the shoreline (the lot or outlot) supporting the resource (1000 ft2/100 linear feet of shoreline). Facilities in excess of this size require the approval of the VP Land & Shoreline Management (L&SM). Facilities requested by private waterfront clubs are issued approvals based on these standards for private facilities (1000 ft2/100 linear feet of shoreline).

Requests for facilities open to the general public, such as commercial marinas, must also comply with Section 26a regulations; however they are not limited to a maximum allowable footprint; but rather, are usually issued harbor limits based on §1304.404. Harbor limits are generally associated with larger facilities per shoreline length as compared to private community facilities.

3.0 Definitions

The definitions of and general guidance for permitting water use facilities for these three broad types of facilities (commercial marinas, private community, and private waterfront clubs) are listed below.

Commercial Marinas

  • An operation on the waterfront available for public use without associated membership fees or dues for access to amenities. These facilities are also referred to as “commercial marinas”. The associated amenities (such as water access, fueling, sanitary sewage pump-out, etc) may be provided to the public for a fee.
  • TVA issues harbor limits for commercial marinas according to §1304.404 Commercial Marina Harbor Limits.

Private Community Facilities

  • Available for private use by adjoining and/or backlying property owners (owners who have legal interest in the lot).
  • TVA issues Section 26a permits for community facilities (1) when it is determined that physical or environmental constraints prohibit individual facilities and (2) at jointly owned community outlots.
  • Requests for private community facilities comply with 18 CFR 1304.206 and are approved facilities based on 1304.206(b)(2) and the implementing guidance for Community Facilities (density standards of SMP). The facility footprint does not exceed 1000 ft2 for every 100 linear feet of shoreline. Exceeding this limit requires approval of the VP L&SM.

Private Waterfront Club (yacht clubs, sailing clubs, recreational boating clubs, etc.)

  • Available for private (restricted or exclusive) use by members only and their guests, generally through required membership dues and fees.
  • Applications for water use facilities from Private Waterfront Clubs with no existing, approved harbor limits are considered a private use and are reviewed based on the 1000 ft2/100 linear ft of shoreline guidance (density standards of SMP).
  • Requests from Private Clubs with existing, approved harbor limits are reviewed based on the existing harbor limits and any new land acquired outside those harbor limits. TVA considers the conditions described in 1304.206(b)(2) and applies the implementing guidance used to approve private community facilities when approving facilities for private water front clubs outside of existing harbor limits (see Path Forward below)

4.0 Path Forward for existing Private Waterfront Clubs

TVA recognizes harbor limits may have been issued in the past to private waterfront clubs. Existing, approved harbor limits and facilities will be honored by TVA. Harbor limits and approved facilities are based on the last, valid 26a permit(s). Requests to expand facilities within the existing harbor limits will be reviewed by TVA. The 1000 ft2/100 linear ft shoreline guidance does not apply to these requests. However, TVA retains the right to reconfigure these harbor limits based on changes in circumstances, including changes in land ownership (§1304.404 Commercial Marina Harbor Limits).

Requests from existing private clubs for facility expansions outside of existing harbor limits or where additional shoreline has been acquired outside existing harbor limits will be reviewed based on the 1000ft2 facility footprint/100 linear ft shoreline guidance. For example, if the private club acquires an additional 200 ft of shoreline, TVA can permit up to 2000 ft2 of additional facility footprint outside the harbor limit. Shoreline length used to calculate the allowable facility footprint must be within the contiguous property boundaries of the Yacht Club. In general, additional harbor limits will not be established for the new facilities approved. 

An applicant who wishes to exceed the maximum allowable facility footprint based on shoreline length (1000 ft2/100 linear ft of shoreline) may apply for approval of a commercial marina provided such an application is supported in the relevant land plan, when applicable, and the proposal meets all aspects of TVA's currently applicable definition of a commercial marina. If the applicant is not willing to agree to be a commercial marina (a marina must be open to the general public and it may entail a land use agreement that requires annual payment to TVA), then the 1000 ft2 facility footprint/100 linear ft of shoreline guideline will still apply.

Where the 1000 ft2 facility footprint/100 linear ft of shoreline guideline applies, requests to exceed the facility size calculated on the basis of shoreline length may not be approved without concurrence of the VP L&SM.