James Rada, Jr.
(3/3) In the next few months, Thurmont Town Commissioners President Martin Burns expects to see a request for the town to annex a piece of property that could eventually have as many as 300 homes and possibly a Wal-Mart.
Burns told the planning and zoning commission on Feb. 23 that he had been told the potential development would include a large box store and that Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Target had shown interest.
"I guarantee we would know what it would be before we even consider an annexation request," Burns said.
A recent survey of town residents by the Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commission found nearly three out of four people want the town to encourage economic growth within the town with many of them citing the need for large department stores and, in particular, Wal-Mart as a business the town
Burns stressed that at this point nothing is definite. Many ideas are being floated for how the property behind the Shamrock Restaurant can be developed. The 240 acres of interest is owned by a seven-person consortium, with Eugene Myers as the major owner.
"No way will anything be done before the I&I (sewer) problem is fixed, approved by MDE (Maryland Department of the Environment) and tested," Burns said.
However, his impression is that the annexation will come before the town commissioners in a few months, which is "sooner than I thought." By making a request soon, the annexation could be included in the town's master plan, which is being reviewed.
Preliminary discussions anticipate 300 to 400 houses to be built on the property. The number of houses that could be built each year would need to be negotiated between the town and developer.
The development would be served by its own sewer system, which the developer would build.
"Of course, that means the town would need to maintain it, but the advantage is that it doesn't impact the town's current system," Burns said.
One idea suggested is that the developer build a town hall shell that the town would finish off.
While Burns and other town commissioners have met with the developer's representative Brian Duncan of Tyler-Donegan Real Estate Services.
Burns said, "There's been no plans, no discussion, no nothing." The interested developer has not even purchased the land.
Duncan and Myers did not return calls from The Dispatch.