The Montgomery County Planning Board today approved a new tree protection plan for Congressional Country Club that the AT&T National host said has been in the works for at least two years.
The request for the new plan, which would allow Congressional to buy 2.82 acres-worth of off-site plantings, came almost a month after the Planning Department issued a violation to the club for not abiding by a 2007 Forest Conservation Plan.
Planning staff and Congressional attorney Jody Kline said the parties were in communication about the coming violation, issued last October, and agreed that a new plan was necessary.
Kline said “the Club has been working assiduously,” toward correcting the violation, which Kline said it looks at “as sort of the technical way of getting in front of [the Planning Board],” to amend the agreement.
Kline said the Club simply could not protect trees in some of the previously upon agreed areas, including a section of forest near the 18th and final green where a set of bleachers goes each year.
The Club did not plant promised trees in other areas after realizing the trees would be knocked down or damaged from spectator traffic. The Club first hosted the AT&T National in 2007, a PGA Tour event hosted by Tiger Woods. In 2010 and 2011, the Club took a break from that event to prepare for and then host the 2011 U.S. Open, a USGA event.
“Is there a reasonable chance of a higher level of actually achieving compliance,” Planning Board Chair Francoise Carrier asked.
The Board approved the new Forest Conservation Plan unanimously.
“This is something that’s been on the Club’s front-burner for a long time,” Kline said. “But we’ve been working with the PGA to do it.”
The Club also plans to put up signs marking preservation areas, complete with Congressional’s logo.