Having land doesn't always mean one may change it any way one wishes, especially if the land is part of a scenic easement overseen by the National Park Service.
Former Lockheed Martin CEO Robert J. Stevens, who lives on an estate in the Merry-Go-Round Farm community overlooking the Potomac River and the C&O Canal in Potomac, cleared trees from 35,000 square feet of land this past summer, Potomac Patch reported last October.
He claimed to have removed the trees for safety reasons after the June 29 derecho, The Washington Post reported in October.
"After months of discussion with Montgomery officials, Stevens agreed in December to plant 400 trees, grasses, shrubs and wildflowers on 1.3 acres surrounding his home," The Post reported.
But the National Park Service—which, along with the county, prohibits cutting down trees along the C&O Canal, a National Historic Park—says that's not enough to replace the tall, old oak and beech trees that were once there, and that Stevens will end up with a better view than he did before.
"Mr. Stevens had not only violated the [National Park Service's] scenic easement but may also be liable for damages to the [National Park Service],” Kevin Brandt, superintendent of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, wrote in a letter on Jan. 15 to the Montgomery County Planning Department, The Post reported.