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Thurmont officials doubt two annexations
 will survive

Jeremy Hauck
The Gazette

(5/4) Of three annexation petitions pending in Thurmont since October, two are destined to fall by the wayside, according to Mayor Martin Burns and town commissioners.

On April 17, Burns told Tom Hudson, representing developer HKB Myers Land, that town residents and officials may not be ‘‘receptive" to Hudson’s proposal to annex 210 acres of land, despite the removal of 350 homes from the proposal.

HKB Myers Land asked Thurmont to annex the 210-acre property north of town known as the Myers Farm.

At Tuesday’s town meeting, commissioners authorized Burns to tell Beazer Homes, a developer that wants the town to annex a 131-acre tract of land south of town known as the Lawyer property, to consider withdrawing its petition to annex.

‘‘I have severe reservations," Burns said. ‘‘I’d rather turn them off now."

Burns and Commissioner Ron Terpko said that Beazer Homes’ proposal, which includes 241 homes averaging $450,000 in price, sparked concerns about traffic and sewer issues.

‘‘What are they going to do with all those cars?" Terpko said. ‘‘Where’s [the sewers issue] going to go?"

Meanwhile, Burns called the annexation proposed by Drees Homes the ‘‘most promising" of the three.

‘‘The difference [between the Drees proposal and the HKB Myers Land proposal] is, I don’t think people are going to scream about the scenic byway issue," Burns said, adding that allowing the Cincinnati-based developer to build 330 homes south of Thurmont ‘‘would instantly Band-Aid the [town’s sewer] system."

Drees Homes told officials in January that the town would benefit from $6.8 million in impact fees and incentives if its land was annexed.

Mayor cools developer’s interest in Myers Farm

Burns told Hudson of HKB Myers Land that further public workshops with the planning and zoning commission would likely not improve that annexation’s chances.

‘‘I’m trying to make sure that you’re not wasting your time any more than you have," Burns said.

Thurmont residents and the Frederick County Planning Commission in January disapproved of the annexation, which now calls for up to 450,000 square feet of commercial space, and a 113-acre farm to be included in Thurmont’s boundaries.

Hudson asked the board of commissioners at the meeting ‘‘for a little direction."

‘‘[I’m] just wondering [what] your sense is, as far as steps going forward," Hudson said.

Commissioner Bill Blakeslee reminded Hudson that the decision on whether to annex rests with the board of commissioners alone.

‘‘The recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission is just that," Blakeslee said. ‘‘I know in the past, there’s been annexations and rezonings that the Planning and Zoning Commission recommended against, but the board approved."

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