Trump National Golf Course shoreline

About a dozen trees were cut down near the shoreline of Trump National Golf Club in Sterling in 2019.

Loudoun County officials and representatives of Trump National Golf Club in Sterling have concluded there was no impact to the floodplain along the Potomac River after several trees were removed from the property in March.

The conclusion clears the property owner of any penalties or fines.

Shortly after Loudoun County issued a Notice of Violation detailing three violations in March, Trump National's engineering firm submitted a declaration of no impact, stating there was no disruption to the floodplain. County staff made the same determination after a review of the firm's plan to address the violation notice.

“The Potomac River drainage shed is over 14,000 square miles, and the limited amount of disturbance would not impact the enormous breadth of water associated with the size of the drainage shed,” engineering firm Christopher Consultants, which represents Trump National, stated in the letter to Loudoun County.

The zoning permit required prior to any disturbance within the floodplain will be issued retroactively, according to Loudoun County Public Affairs and Communications Officer Glen Barbour. These actions were consistent with the corrective measures contained in the Notice of Violation issued, and no fines have been imposed, Barbour said.

In 2016, the Board of Supervisors amended the county Zoning Ordinance floodplain regulations based on a FEMA directive, requiring any disturbance or construction within floodplain areas – including cutting, removing or planting trees – be reviewed prior to any work being done. Loudoun County issued the Notice of Violation to Trump National Golf Club because the owner did not seek approval prior to completing the work. In March, the owner was found in violation of operating without a zoning permit, altering the floodplain and removing trees without county approval. Inspectors observed approximately 31,000 square feet of land had been altered during removal.

“Trees are beneficial to water quality, and removing them from the floodplain in many localities is prohibited,” Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks said in an interview with the Times-Mirror. He said it was “inappropriate” to operate without a permit and allow the trees, waste and debris to flow in the river. Naujoks encouraged the county to consider stronger penalties and require violators to replant vegetation areas in Zoning Ordinance floodplains.

Trump National Golf Club

Trump National Golf Club Washington D.C. is located in Sterling.

Conservation Advocacy Chairwoman Cheri Conca of the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy similarly described the report as disturbing.

“Even though the county determined there wasn't any impact to the floodplain – again, after the fact – maybe the bigger problem is that the county's zoning ordinance isn't comprehensive enough," Conca said. “Cutting down those trees may or may not have affected the floodplain, but [it] does affect air and water quality and biodiversity. The community would benefit from zoning ordinance that provides more thorough protection for riparian buffers, in addition to floodplains.”

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network environmental group earlier this year urged the Board of Supervisors to adopt the Virginia Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and enact regulations that prohibit similar action in the future.

The petition notes, “This tree clearing will result in increased sediment runoff and erosion of the streambank, degrading the river’s water quality and adding to the pollution that continues to degrade Chesapeake Bay downstream. Loudoun County needs to follow the example of counties in tidal areas of the Bay Watershed, which have taken action to protect our rivers and Bay from harmful actions like these."

Trump National Golf Course, located at 20391 Lowes Island Blvd., sits in the Algonkian election district and a mile outside of the Sterling District.

"County staff handled this complaint in accordance with standard procedures," Algonkian Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R) said. "This particular complaint attracted attention due to the ownership of the property."

While Volpe praised the work by county staff, her Sterling colleague called for trees to be replanted.

“I would like to see Trump National replace the trees they have cut down and work with county staff to right this wrong,” Sterling Supervisor Koran Saines (D) said. “A healthy environment is a priority of mine and trees on riverbanks are crucial to the Potomac’s water quality and reducing erosion. I plan on speaking with county staff about this.”

Trump National Golf Club in Loudoun has a history of removing trees following Donald Trump's purchase of the 800-acre property in 2009. Trump Organization officials said the trees—which were under stress and eroding— threatened the shoreline, according to The Washington Post. More than 400 trees have been removed from the property.

(25) comments

romano

I know this article is about a golf course, but I still can't get over how little the left has learned about why Donald Trump is their president. Deliciously, they are making the same mistakes that led to some of the best Rachel Maddow meltdown videos back in 2016. Trump Derangement Syndrome is very real, and it will keep President Trump around for another six years. I can't wait to watch the Democrat debates...that is going to be must-see TV to watch all these pandering whackos being forced to support socialism, reparations, and the Green Deal. Fun, fun, fun!

LoudounClear

Enjoy it while you can. America is getting quite tired of Trump and the politics of white grievance. A reckoning is coming...

romano

gosh, if only things weren't better for most peoples of color too! Keep the anger up LoudounClear...keep believing you are in the majority. You media has you believing that....just like in 2016. Definition on insanity...delicious

LetFreedomRing

Once again, another frivolous attempt to damage Trump turns out to be nothing. Try, try again. Trump will win every time.

Loudoun4Trump

Trump wins again….best economy ever...record unemployment....millions off the Obama food stamp rolls....record number of Americans working....3.2% GDP growth....Trumps work on the trade deals is smart and well overdue......the smart self absorbed ivy leaguers gave the farm and all the US jobs away in their NAFTA, and other dumb trade deals...USMCA needs to be approved...

LoudounClear

Don't leave out that Trump socialism: customers pay higher prices on imports so we can then pay higher taxes to give the money to farmers who have the government protecting their business. Of course, for Trump it's really National Socialism.

workhardgetahead

Then vote for Bernie or Biden and we can go back to Obama's new normal.
Word to the wise, vote for a Democrat and you will be commiting economic suicide.

Thebroof

Loudoun and its residents dont care about trees, its all about the money. Gas guzzlers and data centers as far as the eye can see.

workhardgetahead

Gas Guzzlers? If I choose to drive one that's my right. I'm an American and I'm free to do that. You are want to drive a Prius and help the environment that's your choice and you made that choice because of freedom. Enjoy it. If your party gets elected in 2020 you may be enjoying a lot less of it, especially with the likes of the imbecile Ocasio Cortez

Username17

Thanks for writing this story, and extended thanks to the person who filed the complaint through the proper means and making the problem known. The person who filed the complaint took the time to follow the correct course of action. The golf course and other properties that want to remove trees should follow that example. Seeking retroactive approvals shows a lack of care, especially when reapeated over time. If the trees removed won't affect the buffer, then they should have no problems receiving the approval to remove them. Any impact, no matter how small it may seem higher up on the stream, can affect the entire system. If the county spends time and resources planning and monitoring the health of our natural resources, the residents and businesses alike are hurting the community by not helping the local gov and following its guidelines and proceedures. Cutting the system short in one area means it will need to be compensated for in another area. Be conscious. There's a reason policies exist, and our neighboring counties are reminding us why. Thanks again for sharing this story.

gbay926

I completely agree...well said

btm11

The managers of the Trump property just blandly disregarded the law. I can understand someone who doesn't know much about law inadvertently violating it and being excused because it didn't mater much, but this is a high profile organization that is ignoring the law and getting away with it probably because they are politically well-connected. If this number of trees makes no difference, will any smaller land owner's tree removal matter either?

coche500

"Loudoun County officials and representatives of Trump National Golf Club in Sterling have concluded there was no impact to the floodplain along the Potomac River after several trees were removed from the property in March."

Let the fox run the hen house much?

Loudounest

Protect the palace at all costs! MAGA

Chris McHale

Supervisor Saines states that the golf course needs to "right the wrong". How do you right a wrong that isn't wrong in the first place?

workhardgetahead

Saines is a buffoon. You get what you vote for.

LoudounClear

Like how can you obstruct justice if your buddy the AG says the crime you were trying to cover up never appeared to happen?

scottva

Uh oh, Trump vindicated AGAIN. You Liberals must be loosing your minds! Keep in mind, the Wilson bridge is a short drive away.

MAGA Morons Are Governing America

It's losing our country and our economy that bothers us much more than this story...

RoundHillGuy

the sky is falling a piece of it hit me on the head.

John M

Yeah, our economy is in so much trouble. Last night I was bemoaning the fact that I can't find good people to fill open spots at my company because EVERYONE HAS A JOB....darn it, Mr. President! Why can't you be more like the last guy?

workhardgetahead

Losing the economy? Wake up Wake up, Obama isnt President anymore. Open your blinds and doors. It's safe to come outside now. America is back to work and the economy is humming!!

coche500

Loosing, huh?

romano

absolutely ZERO chance this story gets picked up by LTM if it didn't have Trump's name on it

David Dickinson

Absolutely ZERO chance this paper gets picked up up if they didn't throw it in my driveway.

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