Congressional Country Club In Violation Of Reforestation Agreement

Congressional Country Club as seen from the Blue Course 18th hole, Flickr photo by Keith Allison

Congressional Country Club has not planted about three acres of promised reforestation area as a result of its annual PGA Tour golf tournament.

Now, in response to a violation issued last year by the Montgomery County Planning Department, the Club has proposed a new conservation plan that would allow it to meet requirements by paying into a county forest mitigation fund for offsite planting.

The proposed Forest Conservation Plan Amendment will go in front of the County Planning Board for approval on April 25. In it, Planning Department staff describes the history of the original 2007 agreement and the specifics of sites on the golf course where promised reforestation has not taken place.

Those areas include the part of the course near the intersection of River Road and Bradley Boulevard, used for trailer storage, parking and staging during the PGA Tour events and the U.S. Open in 2011.

There is also the large grandstand area near the 18th and final green. Planning staff says that bleacher platform was erected within a conservation easement and the area was in violation because it was not replanted and it was completely mowed.

Congressional has proposed to abandon that part of the original conservation plan.

Before the first-ever AT&T National Tournament at the Club in 2007, Planning and Club staff worked together to mitigate tree damage to areas that would need to be used for TV structures, concession tents and spectator viewing. According to the Planning Department report, Planning staff met with Club staff many times in 2010 and 2011 to go over the remaining planting requirements of the 2007 agreement.

On May 25, 2012, Planning staff completed a two-year inspection of all trees planted in late-fall 2009 and spring 2010 and found that not all areas in the original Forest Conservation Plan were planted. By October 2012, with the planting deadline passed, staff reported 3.12 acres were not planted within the one-year (or two-growing seasons) time limit.

The violation was issued on Oct. 17. On Nov. 15, Congressional submitted a proposal to change the Forest Conservation Plan that would leave 1.41 acres of those areas unplanted in exchange for the purchase of 2.82 acres of credit in a Park and Planning Commission-approved forest mitigation bank.

Planning staff is recommending the Board approve the new agreement.

The 2013 AT&T National is set for June 27-June 30, with events and practice rounds beginning earlier that week.

Flickr photo by Keith Allison


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