(6/29) This time, county planners were successful in getting town residents
involved in Thurmont’s master plan update process, Frederick County planner
Dennis Superczynski said.
The town’s master plan anticipates development in and around the town 20 to
25 years into the future, but will be refined and updated at least a few times
during that time, he said. Planners revisit the master plan every six to eight
About 75 of the more than 100 people who attended a workshop about the
plan’s update on June 21 were town residents, he said.
‘‘I’m excited at least 100 people showed up for a meeting," Thurmont Mayor
Martin Burns said. ‘‘Most residents who support me, support me because I have a
low, controlled-growth platform."
The primary issue during the latest workshop was to determine what
Thurmont’s growth limit should be, Superczynski said.
‘‘The question was, ‘Should the town grow physically outward, and if it does
what kind of development should that be?’" he said. ‘‘What can we do within the
current town limits? What is it that we should build within the town’s
‘‘Quite a number of groups essentially followed the current growth line.
There weren’t a lot of groups that wanted to see an expansion of the growth
Burns said town residents should consider changing the growth boundary.
‘‘Here’s the only thing that’s different than what I’ve said before," he
said. ‘‘If they keep the municipal growth boundary where it is, and we become
landlocked, eventually our town will die. If there is no room to grow ever,
every piece of property that they’re talking about developing right now is [at
least partially] outside the municipal growth boundary. If not now, just don’t
set the boundary so tight that when our future leaders want to grow 20 years
from now, [they won’t be able to.] If people don’t believe it can happen, they
need to get more involved and outside the box of Thurmont."
Superczynski said he thought more people came to the recent workshop because
county planners had sent postcards to town residents to let them know where and
when it was taking place. The last workshop had attracted about 20 people,
mostly residents living outside of the town’s municipal limits who were opposed
to the potential annexation of the Myers’ farm near their homes. News of two
other potential annexations into the town in recent weeks may also have had an
impact on residents’ participation in the latest workshop, he said.
Thurmont Commissioner Glenn Muth said he attended the workshop as an
‘‘I purposefully did not want to participate, because that’s up to the
citizens and the planning commission to do," he said.
During the latest workshop on the town’s master plan update, residents who
attended were broken up into a dozen or more groups, he said.
‘‘Each group had essentially a map of Thurmont, an aerial photograph,"
Superczynski said. ‘‘The maps had the current town boundary. They also had the
growth limit that Thurmont had drawn for itself in the 1998 master plan. The
maps also showed the growth limit for the Thurmont community established in the
county’s 1995 Thurmont Region Plan.
‘‘So we asked them to draw on the map, and asked them to identify what types
of uses should occur in these new expanded areas."
County planners will take the mapping information generated from the
workshop and put it into a report.
The Myers’ farm property that will soon be formally proposed for development
is not within the town or county’s current growth limits, he said. The Lawyers’
farm, also expected to come before the town’s board soon, is in the town’s
‘‘...I think people have been prepared for that annexation for a while,"
The area near the Weis Market, which will also soon be formally proposed for
annexation by Drees Homes, is within a small area abutting the town, south of
Moser Road and east of the town’s wastewater treatment plant that is not yet in
the town’s limits.
‘‘It’s kind of the missing piece of the puzzle," he said.
Generally, Superczynski said, residents’ discussion of the annexations
focused on whether new growth should be encouraged within the current growth
limits. ‘‘Certainly within the county, maybe or maybe not in the town’s growth
limits," he said.
Based on prior planning workshops and survey data, town residents did not
seem interested in encouraging much residential growth Superczynski said.
‘‘They want to see a rate of growth that does not destroy the small-town
character of Thurmont and at a pace that the town can absorb," he said.
That could become an issue with the latest two potential annexations
announced — the Lawyers’ farm, and the one near Weis.
‘‘If there is one nagging issue, it is that there is no one clear truck
route to get to U.S. Route 15 without having to pass through local streets,"
Burns said. ‘‘I’m hoping that if we do annex additional properties to the
north, that there is some accommodation made for safe entry onto and exiting
off of U.S. 15."
Superczynski pointed out that the county’s regional plan for the area, which
will also soon be updated, shows plans for a new interchange just north of the
Coming up for the town’s master plan is a pre-planning report that will be
issued sometime in July, Superczynski said.
‘‘We’ll issue the pre-planning report, plus ... a summation of all the
public input we’ve had," he said.
In addition, Superczynski said he expected county planners to provide a
draft of the master plan in September to the Thurmont Planning Commission.
The town’s planning commission will make changes to the draft, and
eventually they will vote to send that to the town’s board of commissioners.
The next planning workshop will probably not be until September, and county
planners will spend the summer putting a draft together, he said.
‘‘At that time we will allow [residents] to throw darts or dole out hugs,"
The town board will have its own public hearings and ultimately vote to
accept the plan, he said.
‘‘We’ll probably be finishing things up very early in ... 2007."