(10/22) - With three major annexation requests before them that could
increase the town's population by a third or more, the Thurmont Town
Commissioners have decided that's enough growth to deal with for now. They have
asked town staff to draw up a draft version of a moratorium on annexations.
"Those three alone are plenty that we need on our plate at this time," said
Commissioner Wayne Hooper during the town meeting Oct. 17.
Mayor Martin Burns had the proposal placed on the agenda. He wants to see no
additional annexations made into the town until the town's inflow and
infiltration problem is fixed. The town is currently making repairs to its
sewer system, but the earliest it expects to be able to tell whether the
problem has been fixed will be next spring.
"I would not be able to vote to approve any annexation unless I was sure the
sewer system was able to handle the capacity of any of the three annexations in
the Town of Thurmont," Burns said.
This would only affect future annexation requests. The three annexation
requests that total 945 homes made last month still have to be considered by
Commissioner Ron Terpko pointed out that the moratorium was essentially a
moot point because until the town's sewer problems are fixed, no development
will pass the town's adequate public facilities ordinance. And once the sewer
problems are fixed, the Maryland Department of Environment will lift its
consent order against Thurmont, which would end the moratorium.
Under the consent agreement, Thurmont had enough capacity to add about 65
homes and some of this capacity has already been allocated.
Burns agreed that the APFO would halt any development until the sewer
problem is fixed. However, at least one of the three developers who requested
annexation has also asked for an exemption from the APFO.
"Anyone who thinks to bypass the APFO, from my standpoint, it's not going to
happen," Burns said.
The commissioners voted unanimously to request the draft moratorium. At the
request of Commissioner Glenn Muth, the only exception to the moratorium will
be for single lots that have a septic system failure.