News Post (9/25/03)
towers shouldn't be popping up like
sunflowers around town from now on.
Tuesday night, the
board of commissioners amended the town's
zoning regulations to place stricter
requirements on companies looking to
locate wireless telecommunication
facilities in Thurmont. The change,
drafted by the planning and zoning
commission, was altered slightly and
The text amendment
adds a section to the zoning ordinance
detailing where antennas and towers can be
erected and the process for their
approval. Planning commission member John
Ford, the primary author of the amendment,
used the wireless ordinances of other
cities and towns and Frederick County as a
guide and changed sections based on
perceptions of Thurmont's needs.
The lone change
made in the planning commission's proposal
involved antennas used at homes. Glenn
Muth, who plans to run for a board of
commissioners' seat next month, noted that
the amendment outlawed everything from
amateur radio and wireless Internet
antennae to television satellite dishes,
so language was added to allow those
considered sending the document back to
the planning board for revision but
decided against waiting more than a month
to pass tighter regulations. Other
modifications can be made as needed.
"The way this
industry is," Commissioner Eddie
Hobbs said, "I can see a lot of
(amendments) over the years."
Mayor Martin Burns
questioned whether Thurmont should accept
an applicant's engineering study or have
the applicant pay for the town to hire a
technical expert to review plans.
Commissioner Ron Terpko agreed, saying
stormwater management ponds engineered by
developers have been problematic.
Mr. Ford said some
localities hired a consultant at the
applicant's expense, but payment method
varied. Some methods amounted to "a
blank check" for the applicant, Mr.
Ford said, and he feared it would cause
companies to seek locations just outside
the town's limits and control.
In other action,
the board decided to leave two stop signs
on North Carroll Street at its
intersection with Luther Drive.
ago, the signs were installed as a
temporary way to slow trucks traveling to
and from the NVR Homes plant. Some
residents complained about the noise
caused by trucks having to stop and
restart, but others said all vehicles now
travel more cautiously.
Mr. Burns and Mr.
Hobbs favored removing the signs because
of the noise complaints. But commissioners
Terpko, Wayne Hooper and Kenneth Oland,
citing Police Chief Terry Frushour's
preference for safety, wanted the signs to
also considered whether they should impose
the same tax on unincorporated businesses
that they do on incorporated entities.
Some commissioners said it seemed fair for
all, but Mr. Terpko said it should be
studied to determine its impact smaller
affect the hairdresser who works two days
a week out of her home?" he asked.
Mr. Ford noted
that it could cost the town as much to
administer and collect the tax as it
gained from imposing it. The issue was
tabled until Oct. 7.
Mr. Hooper also
reported that the town's continued efforts
to fix its sewer system problems have
reached an important step.
Inc., the engineering firm from Hagerstown
that's studying the system, has identified
six or seven areas that require immediate
attention. Pleasant Acres, one of the
town's newer subdivisions, is one of those
areas, and Mr. Hooper said the developer
has been \cook tatted about the problem.
Mr. Burns later
proposed that the town hold a food drive
in conjunction with the Oct. 27 town
election. With so many residents going to
a common place, the mayor reasoned that
people could bring canned goods to help
the Thurmont Food Bank stock up for the
upcoming holiday season.
Mr. Hooper joked
that people bringing bigger cans would get