(9/9) Though the Lawyer Farm on the east side of Thurmont is a farm, it is
within the town's growth boundary. The farm is also surrounded by residential
development, which makes it more attractive for development.
Now Jan and Kristen Lawyer are interested in having the 131 acres developed
into 241 homes.
George Rathlev, executive vice president with Beazer Homes of Columbia,
spoke to the town commissioners on Aug. 29 to update them on the conceptual
plans for the development.
"As soon as we have resolved in our minds the issues relating to roads and
sewers, we'd like to bring an annexation request before the town body," said
The homes are expected to have an average price in the mid-$400,000s. The
lots would vary from 12,000 square feet along the exterior of the development
to 8,000 square feet for the lots further inside the development.
Rathlev said the community would have walking trails, tot lots, common areas
and a good deal of green space. Though he did not know how much of the
development would be parkland, on the conceptual plan it appears to be about
one-third of the farm, with most of the area on the southeast side of the
Commissioner Ron Terpko asked if the parkland could be moved to the north in
order to increase the number of athletic fields at East End Park. Rathlev said
it could be considered but a stream valley on the southeast side made that area
better suited for a park. In addition, that area was outside of the town's
The availability of water for new development remains a concern among
residents and the commissioners. Rathlev said, "We believe we have reached an
agreement with a neighboring owner with access to a well that could supply
water to the sites plus additional sites."
However, Beazer Homes is still studying the sewer and road situation in the
area to determine how to deal with the impact of 241 homes on the
Beazer Homes would like to build about 50 homes a year beginning in 2008.
"You're at the upper limits, or even above the limit, of what some people
would find acceptable," Mayor Martin Burns told Rathlev.
Rathlev said Beazer Homes had tried to keep the expected build-out of the
development slow while recognizing the need to pay for the infrastructure
improvements the company would have to make.
Thurmont Planning Commission Chairman John Ford said, "The town has put a
limit on previous development of 25 a year and we've never had a complaint."
To date, none of the three expected annexation requests has been presented
to the town for consideration.