Trump Contractor Cut Down Mt. Kisco Trees: Village

Mount Kisco village manager says a contractor, working for Donald Trump's Seven Springs estate, went onto village property and removed trees without permission.

A contractor working on behalf of Donald Trump's Seven Springs estate in North Castle removed trees on an adjacent property that is owned by Mount Kisco, Village Manager James Palmer said.

Palmer bases his findings on a Jan. 9 site visit of the village's property - it is adjacent to Byram Lake and the estate, and includes a steep western cliff down towards the lake - along with photographs from before and after Hurricane Sandy.

Seven Springs maintains that changes in the landscape were related to Sandy, Palmer said, but he contends that there was deliberate tree removal on the village's land. The property is contiguous to Trump's, starting 185 feet from the eastern building line of a mansion that overlooks the lake. The mansion can be seen from Byram Lake Road, and Palmer says that it is now more visible due to the tree removal.

Seven Springs, a large property of 213 acres, is located in parts of North Castle, Bedford and New Castle. It is the former estate of Eugene and Agnes Meyer, the owning family of The Washington Post. Trump bought the property in 1995 for $7.5 million, according to published reports.

Mount Kisco owns Byram Lake, which is located within Bedford and North Castle. The lake is used as a water supply for the village, along with some residents of New Castle and Bedford. The adjacent village property serves as a buffer space and is in the lake's watershed.

Losing trees is an issue, Mount Kisco Mayor Michael Cindrich explained at Monday's Village Board of Trustees meeting, because of the possibility for erosion of steep slopes adjacent to the lake. 

Cindrich said, “our primary goal" is "for the preservation of the watershed.”

Palmer wrote a letter, dated Monday, to Deborah Stellio, the general manager of the property. In it, Palmer stated that compensation will be sought for the lost trees, replacement work and slope stabilization. He also warned against trespassing on the site, and is requesting access through Seven Springs so that a surveyor can come up to mark out the lines between the properties, which could be done "as early as next week." The village's property, with its odd topography, is done by passing through the estate.

Any legal rescourse that Mount Kisco could take would be civil in nature, although North Castle could penalize Seven Springs through its town code. Palmer did not know if North Castle has issued any violations. Palmer said that North Castle is aware of the issue.

Attempts to reach North Castle officials who would handle such matters were not successful. People connected to Trump who have taken various roles in the estate, including Stellio and his son, Eric, could not be reached for comment.

Trump has multiple brushes with controversy of Seven Springs. In the early 2000s he proposed a golf course for the site, according to media reports, which ignitied protest locally due to fear about contaminated runoff harming Byram Lake. Trump scrapped the plan, and is now seeking to build seven mansions on the Bedford side. Preliminary approval for the houses was granted by the town's planning board, Bedford Director of Planng Jeffery Osterman told Patch, which several conditions needing to be met for the board to grant a final approval.

There are no announced plans to develop the North Castle or New Castle sides of Seven Springs. In recent years, Trump battled a group called the Nature Conservancy, which owns nearby North Castle land, over whether he had an easement right to a portion of Oregon Road that is connected to the group's site. The dispute was in state court from 2006-12, with the conservancy prevailing last year in an appellate ruling that stated he did not have such a right. The conservancy's land were once owned by the Meyers, who transferred it to Yale University in 1973, who in turn transferred it to the group.

eef March 06, 2013 at 08:46 PM
The Seven Springs Neighborhood Association was the first organized group to fight Trump and the golf course. We were successful. The road he wanted to re-open (Oregon) had been closed by the town for more than a decade. We might live in a small town, but we're not small people. People like the Donald can be fought and beaten.
Geryon Ciacco March 06, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Let's hold Donald to the highest standards of the law. He knew about Byram Lake being important to protect, and he showed the greatest disdain for Mt.Kisco and the law by trespassing onto their land and cutting several acres on the steepest slopes where it would cause the most erosion. Let's organize with all the builders in the area to boycott the construction of Trump mansions which he wants to have a $20 million view, at the expense of Kisco's main water supply. Let's organize a watchdog group for the lake-It's not AlQuaeda that is a threat to our waters after 911. Instead, it is Trump's disregard for a town's land and water supply that is the biggest threat to our water. Let's take back our public lands from private billionaires!
Geryon Ciacco March 06, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Trump also cut down a mile long riparian buffer of trees that were protecting the Potomac so that his golf club guests could have more of a view -and he also lied about the trees being of poor quality next to the Potomac. Where's his conscience?
Geryon Ciacco March 06, 2013 at 09:31 PM
The Bedford Board must certainly deny approval for Trump's mansions considering that he has proven himself to be untrustworthy with the tree removal on Kisco land near the water supply. We should contact Bedford and North Castle and hold them responsible for enforcing all codes to the maximum, without any exceptions! This endangerement of the water is anti-democratic, and Trump should forfiet his right to build mansions. Can the residents of Kisco trust the Bedford Planning Board to hold Trump to the same standards as everyone else? The truth will be revealed.
Dietriche Tremayne jr. March 18, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Latest DEMOCRATIC Update: In our opinion, the town of Bedford is unethical for working hard to ensure that Trump will be given a variance to be able to cut an additional 900 trees on slopes along Byram Lake to make an even bigger view for his mansions so that the tax assessment will be huge-all at the expense of Mt.Kisco's water quality. You can check the Bedford Tree Code and see that Bedford is required to enforce its tree code which prevents the cutting of trees that are needed to protect water quality. But, Bedford doesn't enforce its own codes because the town has a double standard-rich people can violate the codes and those without such money have to obey the codes. Bedford will simply ignore the science and the laws by stating that the trees don't do anything to protect water so that Trump will cut them down to make more views. So, WE INVITE ALL MT.KISCO RESIDENTS TO THE NEXT BEDFORD PLANNING BOARD MEETING WHICH IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. WE PROTEST BEDFORD'S FAVORITISM OF TRUM P, HIS MANSIONS, VIEWS, AND TREE CUTTING THAT THREATENS OUR WATER SUPPLY. LET'S SUE BEDFORD.


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