Sycamore Showdown Update

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    WASHINGTON - JULY 21: The Watergate Hotel, with its fortress-like architecture, was sold at auction for $25 million July 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. The infamous hotel failed to find any outside bidders and was bought by the bank that foreclosed on its debt-ridden owners at an auction. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

    Watergate residents are so serious about getting rid of the sycamore trees that the National Park Service planted in front of their building, they say they are willing to pay to have them removed.

    In a win for the condo owners, the National Capital Planning Commission said as long as residents pick up the tab, they have permission to replace the trees, the Examiner reported.

    "The issue made its way to the National Capital Planning Commission, which ruled Thursday the park service should replace the trees with a shorter variety and replant the sycamores, provided the residents cover the costs."

    Hundreds of sycamore trees were planted along the banks of the Potomac by the Park Service as part of a project to restore the Rock Creek Parkway area to its original 1930's look.  But Watergate residents complained that the trees, which grow as high as 70 feet, would obstruct their views of the river and lower property values.

    "Nobody is against trees," said building resident Nancy Hicks at a National Capital Planning Commission meeting last month, where residents protested the trees.  "But these are so large, a green wall that would totally wipe out the river vista."

    Although the Parks Service opposed moving the trees, the Planning Commission has ruled in the residents favor.

    "We stand ready to pay for the removal of the currently planted sycamores and replace that 100 foot variety with a shorter variety," Liz Sara told the Examiner.  She added that she and other residents were "delighted" with the ruling.