Sycamore Tree Showdown

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Stately, historically-accurate sycamore trees gently bowing in the breezes of the Potomac River?

    Not in my backyard, say Watergate residents.

    The National Park Service has built a 200-mile trail that sweeps along the edge of Potomac, replete with a bicycle path, a pedestrian promenade, and hundreds of sycamore trees, that will eventually grow to be 60 - 70 feet tall.  The new park has been given national landmark status.

    That is where the Watergate residents take exception, the Georgetown Dish reports.  Condo owners in the historic hotel have asked the National Park Service to pull the nine or ten of the trees out (they were planted in 2009), and replace them with something that grows a little shorter.

    Sycamore trees have historically grown along the banks of the Potomac, which is why they were chosen for the new park.

    At a recent meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission, the Watergate residents made their case.

    "Nobody is against trees, but these are so large, a green wall that would totally wipe out the river vista," Nancy Hicks, a resident of Watergate East, testified, according to the Georgetown Dish.  "All of Foggy Bottom will be impacted in a negative way, with declining property values if river views are destroyed."

    A commission director, Harriet Tregoning, balked at the opposition.  "We have hundreds of trees planted by the river," she said, according to the Georgetown Dish.  "If every time someone's view is obstructed, we cut trees down, it would be devastating to the city."

    The Commission voted to put the final ruling off for a month. 

    In the mean time, the Park Service has been asked to research other trees.