Fore! Trump golf course faces hazards

Donald Trump is aiming for a hole-in-one with reported plans to build a public golf course on the former Kluge estate in southern Albemarle, but several hazards stand in his way. For one, the 217-acre would-be golf course in the front yard of Albemarle House is under conservation easement– and it's also under litigation from the John Kluge Jr. Trust, which claims Trump stiffed it on the purchase price.

According to Golf magazine, Trump hired noted golf course architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw to draw up plans for the course on the lawn in front of Patricia Kluge's former 45-room abode, which Trump bought for $6.5 million last year. He also purchased Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard in 2010 for $6.21 million, and has since stamped the Trump brand on that.


Plans for the course are preliminary, and Golf adds a strange detail that would be pretty much unheard of in Albemarle County– that permitting and approvals are "expected to move quickly."

And there's no mention of the conservation easement, which Patricia Kluge, as trustee of the John Kluge Jr. Trust, signed onto in 2006. The 217-acre parcel is beside another 745 acres held by Trump Vineyard Estates, also under conservation easement to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.

"At this time, we haven't received any formal notification from the owner on what they may or may not do," says Brian Fuller, assistant director of stewardship for Virginia Outdoors Foundation.

However, in 2011, after Trump purchased the parcel, VOF sent a letter that noted its disagreement with Trump general counsel Jason Greenblatt and said the easement "does not reserve an 'absolute right' to build a seasonal, commercial golf course on the property." VOF's Tracy Campbell told Greenblatt that it was VOF policy to not take easements on properties that would be used as commercial golf courses.

The easement prohibits any commercial activity unless it's farming related, such as vitaculture. Seasonal outdoor activities that don't permanently alter the physical appearance of the property are allowed.

Another obstacle to creating links on the property: Grading, blasting, and mining are forbidden, except to construct a dam for ponds or for permitted structures or private roads.

The easement also allows grading to re-naturalize areas previously used for recreation. When John and Patricia Kluge built Albemarle House, they constructed an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course. That "was dug up before the easement," says Middleburg attorney Ed McMahon, who represents the John Kluge Jr. Trust in its suit against Trump Virginia.

Ah yes, the lawsuit. McMahon says that doesn't stop Trump from building on property he currently owns. "It's still his property unless the trust wins," says McMahon. "Then it'll be improved."

Billionaire John Kluge put the front yard of Albemarle House into a trust for his son in 2000. When Donald Trump was attempting to acquire the foreclosed-upon mansion from Bank of America, he approached the John Kluge Jr. Trust, offered $150K for the land and another $350,000 if the house sold within two years, according to the suit.

Trump bought the house but didn't make the additional payment for the land, and the lawsuit contends that the Trumps "never intended to perform the obligation to pay additional consideration as required..."

As for the conservation easement, McMahon offers, "When the trust gave the land to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, it certainly wasn't the intention of the grantors that a commercial golf course be built there."

Eric Trump did not return phone calls from the Hook. However, he reportedly told Golf that the golf course architects who had toured the property "all unanimously came back and said this could be one of the best golf courses in the country or in the world." He also touted its location down the road from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

The land is zoned RA– rural– which means there would be one more hazard to avoid to put in a public or private golf course. According to zoning administrator Amelia McCulley, such a recreational effort would require a special use permit from the Board of Supervisors.

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Oh hell no.

Let's hope our Board of Supervisors stands up and protects us on this one. This is not Atlantic City. Charlottesville is not the place for a Trump resort.

Trump has built some of the finest courses in the world including a links on the highly regulated east coast of Scotland overlooking the North Sea. He has the experience, the money, and people like Ben Crenshaw. Mrs Kluge's ex-front yard would make a glorious golf course. are spot on. The nimbobs naysaying Trump are somehow implying that a Trump golf course would be a hideous eyesore and would spoil the land off of Route 20?? How do Glenmore, Farmington, Birdwood look? Think Trump's spread might be a tad better in appearance, world-class gravitas and appeal? Thought you did!

"Charlottesville is not a place for a Trump resort." Love that one, right from the mouths of the neighbors on "Respectable Street."

And "take his greed elsewhere"? Read The Hook much? Do you see any greed in this area? Thought you did!

R.I.P.: Gus Dudgeon

"Golf courses and cemeteries...terrible wastes of real estate."

uh oh, don't mess with people who liked to hit little balls around large fields.

I hear it may be approved if Sunday is set aside for free golf day for the downtown mall crowd.

It will never get built.

Gus Dudgeon died?

"Golf courses and cemeteries...terrible wastes of real estate."

So, what made you reach this conclusion for certain? Do you strike a small pock-marked ball around with a metal stick or hibernate during bright sunlit daytime hours?

Bet you didn't say that about that cemetery that's rerouting a wee-bit of the Western Bypass.

Yeah right, resort..... stick a stake in it enviro-hedonists. The PC police have already been around with me and killed my backyard Lombard Populars. I have even less empathy for deputized vigilants of the tree commision, when after last night one felt entitled to educate on me "no trees are invasive spieces." Are you sure the rest of your fellow au-natural troopers absolutely accept this unquestioned?

I am torn about this. I hate Trump and everything he does and refuse to go to his vineyard. However, this will be a world class golf course that I would love to play. Additionally, the golf course would undoubtedly attract more tourist dollars to C'ville and raise the profile of our city even more (which I guess could be a bad thing as well).

We don't need more golf courses; talk about conspicuous consumption of water resources . . . Trump will probably want his own reservoir so that he has enough water for the stupid thing. The way things are going, water will be such a precious commodity in the next 100 years that no one would think of wasting water on something as frivolous as a golf course. Is it so hard for people to develop land with some modicum of attention to the environment? Charlottesville is being ruined by development.

Here's the key sentence in this article about Donald "Clown" Trump:

"The 217-acre parcel is beside another 745 acres held by Trump Vineyard Estates, also under conservation easement to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation."

ClownBoy wants to build a golf course on the 217 acres. That land is under conservation easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation. As is Trump's winery. Maybe the golf course will get built, maybe it won't.

But what's certain, is that the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) and its conservation easements are beneficial primarily to those with a lot of money. The Foundation says that land owners can "offset their own state income tax liability" and can "receive some cash flow by selling their unused credits." And that's in addition to federal tax credits and reduced assessments of the land by local governments. In other words, the easements generate LARGE taxpayer subsidies for the rich.

The VOF likes to say that there is a "public good" that comes form its easements. But the public rarely (if ever) gains any access to the properties covered by the easements. Mostly the "public good" boils down to what the VOF calls "scenic vistas."

Many of the properties under easements are "estates." Those who buy these properties have no intention whatsoever of developing them; that diminishes the purpose of owning a landed estate. And in many cases, the land cannot be developed anyway due to zoning restrictions, as is is the case with the Trump parcel discussed here.

In other instances, the conservation easement is just a front. Such is the case with the Trump winery, which is a commercial business. Consider. Trump bought a buch of parcels for more than $7.5 million. But go toe the county land records, and you can find one parcel of 81.10 acres assessed at only $224,000, and another 94 acre parcel assessed at only $38,000, and a 144.41 acre parcel assessed at $60,400, and a 85.65 parcel assessed at just $17,300. All of them are under easement to the VOF. And was we know, ClownBoy has plenty of cash.

Meanwhile, a .05 acre parcel of land (land only) that has a townhouse on it is assessed at $55,000. Or, a 0.7 acre parcel of land in Foxchase is assessed at $170,000. Or, a 0.25 acre parcel of land in Grayrock is assessed at $90,000. Or, a 0.39 parcel of land in Mil Creek is also assessed at $90,000.

Warren Buffet was right. As he said, "there’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won...there’s class warfare, the rich class has won."

And the Virginia Outdoors Foundation is happy to assist.

Donald Trump is great for Albemarle. He'll shake up the snobs, bring much needed jobs to the area, and build a golf course that will bring tourist dollars. Check out Trump's links on the east coast of Scotland. WIth patience and skill, he overcame all the standard small town concerns and built one of the finest golf courses in the British Isles. We're lucky he's here.

I hope that if the Golf course is approved and built that part of the deal is road improvement. The road from from Rt. 20S around Carter's bridge to the winery/golf course is narrow and dangerous. The other way to get to the winery/golf course is by Rt. 53/Rt.795. Both directions have narrow and crooked roads that cannot safely handle more traffic than what they do now. I would welcome the safer roads (wider and straighter).

"You've Been Trumped" - look it up

@Just Saying...he died indeed. 10-50 in Britain; wife was with him but I think she survived.

R.I.P.: Marc Bolan

Once The Donald sets his mind to something nothing gets in his way. Regs,Laws,pockets, etc. Case in point the GC built in western Scotland, where he had people arrested in their driveway for disagreeing with his plan.. Sad to say this will likely get built. But what jobs? A golf pro or two, greens keepers and turf maintenance workers....not the most robust income positions around. More Republican falsitudes.

Fifteen to twenty jobs are better than zero, better than another pasture with a handful of cows. This area needs jobs in case you did not notice.

It's Trump property now isn't it? Seems like a huge golf resort is one of the only viable uses for Albemarle House, what else could it be used for? A retirement home? A luxury hotel surrounded by a vineyard? A home for someone's very large extended family? How about low income housing? If someone comes up with a better idea for the house and land that Trump owns then I'd love to hear it, seems that a golf resort actually suits the place well.

Instead of bashing Trump, how about reporting news. Ever since we got a new editor at the Hook we have seen little if any reporting on UVA. How much advertising does it take to keep UVA out of the news? My assertions in the past that UVA literally owns the entire town is not a stretch. Why must we read stuff about 2 UVA students in the Daily Mail? I guess these two students were so used to getting away with anything in their home town of Cville that it was a real shock to be arrested. The Police in C'ville turn a blind eye to anything when it comes to UVA students so these duffies think that's how it works everywhere else!!!!!!!!!

Instead of bashing Trump, how about reporting news. Ever since we got a new editor at the Hook we have seen little if any reporting on UVA. How much advertising does it take to keep UVA out of the news? My assertions in the past that UVA literally owns the entire town is not a stretch. Why must we read stuff about 2 UVA students in the Daily Mail? I guess these two students were so used to getting away with anything in their home town of Cville that it was a real shock to be arrested. The Police in C'ville turn a blind eye to anything when it comes to UVA students so these duffies think that's how it works everywhere else!!!!!!!!!

democracy, do you really believe Warren Buffet's being sincere when he says "my class won" as if he's a member of the rich class? I've tried to explain this to you before. Can't you see he carefully crafts his public statements to pit public sentiment against "the rich" (people with a big house, two or more new cars, maybe a beachfront property) when he as a member of an entirely different and incredibly smaller class known as the "mega rich", (made up a few hundred individuals consolidating and partnering to expand control and profit, although even they compete with each other). He says he doesn't pay enough taxes, he needs to pay more taxes. His corporations of course will have a waiver written by his lawyers and passed by his legislators, judges, and executives, he knows full well that he will never pay a penny of those taxes he says he "needs to pay more of", they will simply drive his competition who don't have the waivers out of business for him to buy up, and prevent the upper eschelon of "the rich" class like Trump (not that he's the greatest poster boy but he's a hell of a lot better than Buffet) from ever becoming rich enough to threaten his monopoly. There is no candidacy whatsoever to anything this slimebag says that's meant for your ear. The only time you'll hear a sincere word out of Warren Buffet's mouth is when he's laughing demonically with his Bohemian Grove friends about how beautiful is to sacrifice children to Molek and poison the American public to reduce their numbers and sterilize their offspring and how mischeivously delightful it is to never be punished for it.

Needs to have an air strip so private jets + full service FBO/refueling and helis can access direct and reduce traffic on the roads.

I looked it up, FBO stands for Fixed Base Operator in Moe's comment. In other words an entirely seperate entity (compartmentalization) than the airline, pilot, runway crew, or flight crew. In other words, the FBO's could be mixing aluminum, titanium, barium oxides, medical waste, prozac, nanoparticulates, etc. into the fuel that propel's the jets on Trumps Learjet to be sprayed into the atmosphere via the exhaust, and neither Trump, the pilot, the airline, flight crew nor runway crew would have any say so about it or any knowledge of it, and consequently no reservations or misgivings about it either. In other words the whole operation would be fixed by headquarters, (or base, if you will)

point is, if the land is under conservation easement, no golf course allowed. hopefully this will be upheld because this is the whole purpose of the taxpayer giveaway, er, incentive, to the landowners under the easement program. somehow Trump will have to put the property into play to justify his investment, and no matter how he does it the transactions will provide jobs, no need to buckle to allow a golf course to do that. Golf courses are beautiful but usually toxic to nature. He bought it with an easement and he should be held to that till hell freezes over....

I contacted the VOF about my farm in Farmville, 72 acres with a pond, 2 houses, a barn, 30 acres of pasture, the rest virgin forest, next to a state park, High Bridge, they totally ignored me and told me it was not enough land to consider for an easement, elitist hypocrites, and when I went to visit them in Orange Virginia, he told me he lived in Keswick, what a bunch of phony tax exempt charlatans