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Beazer Homes presents annexation incentives

James Rada, Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch

(2/1) Beazer Homes is willing to offer Thurmont nearly $3 million in additional incentives over and above the impact and connection fees all new construction pays if the Thurmont Town Commissioners agree to annex the Lawyer farm east of town.

The revised annexation petition to annex 131 acres for 250 single-family homes into Thurmont was submitted to the town on Jan. 12.

“Our proposed plan provides multiple points of entry to the Property, respects the natural environmental features, and provides a variety of active and passive recreational spaces throughout the proposed community,” the cover letter read.

The revisions clarify some confusing language in the original request, reduce the number of annual permits needed and expand the number of acres of open space the development would include. It also outlines a number of additional payments Beazer Homes would make to the town if the annexation into town were approved.

These include:

  • $500,000 for sewer line relocation and lift station upsizing
  • $400,000 for establishing and constructing a new water source
  • $625,000 for improvements to the town sewer system
  • $50,000 for creation of a town master plan
  • $150,000 toward the renovation of the Thurmont Senior Citizen Center
  • $200,000 for 2.5 acres of active trails in addition to open space
  • $250,000 in additional road impact fees
  • $625,000 in additional impact fees

These incentives would be in addition to the regular town impact and connection fees, which total $12,660 per unit along with school and library impact fees that are paid to Frederick County.

“The combined total is nearly $9,000,000 in fees, payments and infrastructure. I would like to point out that our proposed work related to Iron Master Court will provide a substantial improvement to the current condition, and help the Town ensure that a permanent solution is in place,” the cover letter states.

Of the three developments that requested annexation into Thurmont recently, the Lawyer farm is the only one currently within the town’s present growth boundary. However, one drawback has been the development wants to connect into the town’s water and sewer system, but the town is under a consent agreement with the Maryland Department of the Environment.

George Rathlev with Beazer Homes said, “Beazer Homes belief is that part of the permanent solution of the sewer system issue is rerouting of the line in Ironmaster Court.”

Beazer Homes would disconnect the sewer line running between Bennett Estates and Ironmaster Court and re-route it through the lift station Beazer Homes intends to build on the Lawyer farm. The lift station would be built to accommodate not only the sewage Lawyer farm produces, but also the waste from about 800 dwelling units that currently passes through Iron Master Court.

Beazer is also asking for only 35 permits a year. If all the permits were not used in a given year, the remainder would carry over to the next year, but there would never be more than 50 homes constructed in a given year.

“We paid attention to the things folks commented on and then went back and refined the plan,” Rathlev said.

With the expansion of the open space in the development, the Lawyer farm would become a net gain to the town in terms of cost of services vs. revenues collected, according to a formula developed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources using numbers from the American Farmland Trust.

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