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Few residents attend Thurmont
planning workshop

(5/18) Thurmont resident Sabrina Massett has lived in town for 48 years - nearly all of her life. She attended a workshop to gather public input for the Thurmont Master Plan on Monday, May 15 because she wants to have a part in planning the future of the town.

"I love this town and I want to be proactive rather than reactive," Massett said. "We need a vision."

However, she noted, as did others, that what the meeting to plan Thurmont's future lacked was people from Thurmont.

"I wish more of us had come," Massett said. "I don't know how to get residents more involved."

Planning and zoning commission member John Kinnaird said the commission would take into account who was making the comments and recommendations as the commission considers what to recommend to the town commissioners. He, like Massett, would like more resident input.

"I tried to indicate to people I talk to that this is their future and they should come out and take part in it," Kinnaird said.

Fewer than 20 people attended the workshop at the Senior Citizens Center and only about one-third of them were town residents not associated with town government. Out-of-town residents and building industry representatives outnumbered town residents.

When asked why so many non-residents of Thurmont were there, Town Commissioner Glenn Muth said, "That's easy. They're here because of the pending annexation or rather they think that there may be a pending annexation."

This was the second workshop to gather public input for Thurmont's master plan. The first workshop was April 3.

"There is a sense from the first meeting that people are looking for Thurmont to remain a small town," said county planner Denis Superczynski.

The current Thurmont master plan was created in 1998. The town is in the process of updating it before the county begins looking at the regional plan for areas outside the town limits. The master plan outlines the town's goals and objectives for the next 20 years, which are then implemented through zoning.

Superczynski said the workshops are used to "test whether or not the key components of that plan are still goals that resonate with residents."

The attendees broke into three groups to study the town's future economic character, growth and land use and town services/infrastructure.

While the town could see a lot of growth in the future, Superczynski said, "Relative to the rest of the county, we're not taking a high portion of the new growth occurring in the county."

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