Donald Trump has angered some South Florida residents by installing a fence of bushy trees that blocks their views of greens and fairways at the Trump National Doral golf complex in Doral.
Trump told the Miami Herald the Areca palm trees are part of his plan to improve the world-renowned golf resort and that they help give golfers a feeling of isolation from everything but the course.
Residents claim they have legal rights to the views based on agreements between the previous golf course owner and developers of nearby homes. They’re petitioning the city, seeking an order to cease construction until an agreement is reached.
“Most people are happy when I plant trees. They feel much more secure without golf balls smashing into their windows,” Trump said. “Look, I’m looking to build one of the great resorts of the world. You can’t be standing on a hole and looking at someone else’s hanging laundry, barbeque pit, or garbage cans which are stored in the back of the houses.”
He says the trees, which eventually will grow dozens of feet high, are “beautiful.”
But longtime Doral resident Judith Roche calls Trump “selfish.”
“We all paid an extra amount in the thousands of dollars, and now he is cutting off our view and our enjoyment,” she said. “He totally ignored the welfare of thousands of Doral citizens.”
Lennar Corp. developed Doral Park and promised residents a golf course view. KSL Silver Properties acquired the gold course from Lennar and promised not to block views. KSL sold to another group, and Trump bought the course out of bankruptcy in 2012. His camp concluded that promise isn’t binding.
Trump said the trees for one of the four courses cost about $750,000.
“I don’t care if they cost him $10 million,” said Mogan Levy, 90, who has lived in the neighborhood more than a quarter century. “I just want my view back.”
Trump attorney Carlos J. Gimenez said Trump is willing to come to an accord with residents. But they have to understand there’s no legal obligation.
“We’ll work hard to work together, but at the end of the day, the fact that a developer may have sold them a home promising a golf-course view, for the rest of their lives, wasn’t a legal reality,” he said.
By Thursday some 150 residents had signed the petition, spearheaded by Levy.
Levy says he also welcomes Trump to stop by his house to “see for himself.”