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Town to change grass height maximum

Chris Patterson
The Gazette

(10/7/2004) Thurmont's board of commissioners introduced an amendment to the town's lot and property maintenance requirements Tuesday that would dramatically affect how long a property owner's grass may grow before the town intervenes.

The board will vote on the change after a public hearing at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 26, during a regular town meeting.

Under the proposed change to the town code, the maximum height that "grass, weeds and brush" may grow before the property is "declared to be a detriment to public health and a public nuisance" is 10 inches. The code currently permits a maximum height of 18 inches.

In addition, the proposed change will add an administrative charge of $50 to the owner of the property if the owner fails to "clean up the property within six days of the delivery or mailing of the notice of violation."

Warning citations were first required under the current ordinance, but will not be required under the proposed changes.

Discussion on the amendment has been ongoing for many weeks, with Commissioner Bill Blakeslee bringing in a sample dandelion to show how high they can grow, even when the grass is short.

His point was that the height minimum had to be at least as high as the dandelions that could shoot up between normal mowing.

Blakeslee did not bring his dandelion to Tuesday's meeting.

Watch out for fats, oils

Thurmont commissioners are asking for public comment, particularly from business owners, on an ordinance to control the flow of fats, oil and grease into the town's sewage system.

With the town facing more than $1 million in work to update a system plagued with old pipes and grease clogs, preventing a recurrence of the problem has become a priority for the town.

The new ordinance ­ as it is written in its draft form - will require proof of an "engineer-approved, adequately sized and properly operated and maintained grease trap or grease interceptor."

The traps or interceptors will be required to meet Frederick County plumbing code and any institution or business that includes food preparation will be affected by the ordinance.

Other businesses, such as automobile dealers or service providers that deal with oil products will also be affected.

The ordinance is still being worked on during commissioner workshops and the board has asked business owners to be involved in the process of developing it.

The next workshop for the proposed ordinance will be at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Amvets Post makes donations to town

Keith Hovermale of Thurmont's Amvets Post No. 7 presented a check for $1,500 to Commissioner Bill Blakeslee for the Support Our Troops group in town that Blakeslee and other residents conceived in March 2003.

Blakeslee thanked Hovermale for the Amvets' good works in the town and their generosity to the troops. He said the group has sent more than a half-ton of packages to date and will use the money to give the troops overseas a "bang-up Christmas mailing."

The Amvets, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans in the community and Martinsburg Veterans Administration Hospital, also presented the town with $150 for the annual Christmas in Thurmont celebration

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