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P & Z defines northern growth boundary

Brendan Weeks

(3/15) The Thurmont Planning and Zoning Committee took on one of the few remaining tasks of the master plan – choosing the town’s northern growth boundary. Along with that they discussed the potential of an industrial parkway as being a part of the future of the town during a Mar. 1 meeting.

The new potential boundary to be included in the plan would begin north of the intersection of Apples Church and Roddy Roads. This became a viable option after concerns were brought up regarding the inclusion of the Graceham area, which had been proposed for light industrial zoning.

But such an important issue would not easily be resolved. Throughout the evening points and counterpoints were brought up as the diversity of the committee became evident.

Both Randy Waesche and Sabrina Massett saw nothing wrong with the towns’ current boundary. “I think the ’98 boundary is adequate,” said Waesche.

Other board members, including Chairperson John Kinnaird saw the future of Thurmont as including more light industrial space. “My thoughts on industrial expansion have been to provide more jobs for people in Thurmont,” said Kinnaird.

“Part of, I think, a problem in town is that there aren’t a lot of places to work,” said Town Commissioner Ron Terpko. “You want to be able to attract and to have what people need.”

Throughout the evening the board reminded themselves that designating these new boundaries in the plan doesn’t automatically assume the town will grow that way. “I think Thurmont has to think beyond what’s here,” said board member Sandra Hunter. “This doesn’t mean we’re going to walk out there tomorrow and grab it.”

Some members felt uneasy about the idea and saw the new boundary as an invitation to urbanization. “I believe that when you color a map and put it in a master plan, that begets development,” said Waesche.

“I don’t think that because we’re updating the master plan every so many years like we’re supposed to doesn’t mean we have to monkey around with areas that don’t need to be messed with,” said Waesche.

The discussed industrial parkway would start somewhere around the Graceham Road and Apples Church Road intersection, near NVR, and move northwest up to Route 15.

“It’s something I think we need and I think it would benefit a lot of businesses and residents in Thurmont,” said Kinnaird.

The road would not only alleviate traffic stresses, but Kinnaird believes would provide a safer driving environment. “It would possibly eliminate three dangerous intersections on 15 and combine it into one safer intersection,” he said. The parkway will be noted in the master plan, but will be drawn outside of the town’s boundaries.

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