Concern about marina proposal continues; decision left up to TVA, Army Corps

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By Charlotte Underwood

As the April 18 deadline for submitting public hearing requests  passed, concern continues in regards to a proposed marina near Heatherly’s Point.  

An outpouring of community comments and hearing requests has all led up to one thing- it’s time for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Army Corps of Engineers to make a decision.

Approximately 20 public hearing requests and letters of concern have been received by the Army Corps of Engineers, according to Rueben Hernandez of the Regulatory Branch of the Army Corps of Engineers.

He said he had not yet been in contact with TVA regarding the proposed marina. A visit to the actual site along with discussion on the nature of the comments and concerns will part of the anaylsis, Hernandez said. He also said an environmental study still had to be prepared and weighed in conjunction with the citizen’s comments before a decision would be made in regards to holding a public hearing.

“Due to our work load, it could be a few days or weeks before we reach a decision about holding a hearing,” Hernandez said.

What it all boils down to is TVA and the Army Corps of Engineers are the ultimate decision makers in this issue.

Meanwhile, comments continue to come in, many echoing earlier concerns.  Glenda and Fred Albright have added their names to the list of those opposing the marina.  The Albrights live in the Shanghai area and feel there are enough marinas on the lake already.

“We already have great marinas at Shanghai, the Springs, Stardust, Sugar Hollow and Sequoyah—all of these minutes apart.  We definitely do not need another one,” said Glenda Albright in a written submission to the LaFollette Press.  The Albrights believe the cove at Heatherly’s Point is too shallow and narrow to support a marina.

“We enjoy anchoring our pontoon with all the grandchildren in there and swimming.  It’s a place to get away from all the too large boats that have now been allowed on Norris Lake,” Albright said.  The Albrights have lived in the area for the last 10 years and say they are concerned with the large boat traffic, which has gradually been increasing.

The marina proposal, submitted by local businessman Mark Hoskins has generated concern for several reasons.

Comments and worries about the proposed marina’s close proximity to Galilee Bible Camp is one of the main issues.  Camp Manager Bill Bennett, along with other residents in the surrounding lake communities have written formal requests for a public hearing.

 Some, such as Mike McDonough, president of Friends of Norris Lake, are concerned about the impact another marina and excess boats would have on the lake itself.  

But whether the cove is too shallow, too narrow, and whether the marina could negatively impact the area is not left up to Hoskins.  Nor is it left up to those who may be opposed to the marina.  It is a decision, which will be made by TVA and the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We have to evaluate the need to have a hearing; we won’t decide until we think we have all the necessary information,” said Hernandez.

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