He said the clear-cutting did not improve Stevens’s view.
Stevens stepped down in December as the second-highest-paid aerospace executive in the nation, according to Forbes magazine. His compensation package in 2011 was $25.3 million. His Merry-Go-Round Farm mansion, located about two miles upstream from Snyder’s estate, was assessed at $2.78 million late last year.
Property owners in protected areas near the canal are made aware of their obligations to preserve natural vistas for people on the canal and towpath when they purchase property as well as in an annual letter from the Park Service. Montgomery County maintains an online database of its protected areas.
Tree-cutting is a sensitive issue at the Park Service, where officials were criticized in a 2006 Interior Department inspector general’s report for their role in allowing tree-cutting at Snyder’s Potomac home. Brandt was park superintendent at the time. The report found that another Park Service employee had helped broker a deal to allow Snyder’s tree-cutting on 1.3 acres, which substantially improved his view of the canal and the Potomac.
Snyder denied cutting trees to improve his view.
Brandt’s letters also cited other deficiencies in the Montgomery plan.
He said it inaccurately depicts trees on the barren landscape that are no longer there. Stevens should be required to plant more large trees in those spots, plant faster-growing species, and pay an approved contractor to monitor the site for 15 years, not the two years the county stipulated, Brandt said.
Chris Stubbs, chief of resources management for the park, said despite their disagreements, the Park Service and the county “are in a partnership situation” and are meeting Friday to try to sort things out.
In the Snyder case, Montgomery’s planning agency, which had not given Snyder a permit, required him to pay $37,000 to a tree bank to purchase and protect three acres in another part of the county. Snyder also agreed to replant the deforested land and put an additional five acres of his property in a protective easement.