Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.

 

Poll shows opposition to Myers annexation

James Rada, Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch

(2/1) Thurmont Mayor Martin Burns’s citizens’ poll on the Myers farm annexation request has been called a “push poll,” “scare tactics” and “not fully addressing the concerns” of those against the annexation. Yet, despite the naysaying, residents responded in record numbers opposing the Myers farm annexation.

Burns read the results of the poll at the end of the Jan. 30 town meeting. The mayor sent out 5,500 ballots by mail and it could also be downloaded from the Internet. Burns received 1,487 ballots by the end of the voting period.

“That’s more votes than a town election,” Burns said. “That’s more than the planning and zoning survey.”

The results were 984 against the annexation, 446 for the annexation and 57 voters who were indifferent. By percentage, that’s 66 percent against, 30 percent for and 4 percent indifferent.

Thomas Cromwell with the Catoctin Area Planning and Preservation Association, said of the results, “It’s good, of course. It supports what the planning and zoning survey indicated that 85 percent of residents want to maintain the small-town character of Thurmont.”

CAPPA had sent out its own letter, after the mayor’s survey went out, emphasizing all the negatives of the Myers farm project and some members were openly critical of the mayor’s poll while it was circulating.

“I am very happy CAPPA’s one-sided flyer had absolutely no effect,” Burns said. He explained that by the time CAPPA sent out its flyer, he had already received over 800 responses to the poll question and the percentages between support and non-support had remained the same throughout the month-long response collection.
Developer Tom Hudson said before the meeting that he would follow through with the project and see how the commissioners eventually vote on it.

“I’d certainly been happier if it was 66 percent for and 30 percent against,” Hudson said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us to figure out what needs to be done to change people’s minds.”

Though not expected to vote when the final Myers farm annexation vote is taken, Burns has said he would support the residents’ position. He did point out that he had not used scare tactics in the poll. While the town will “aggressively” pursue grants or alternate funding, Burns said, “It is factual if we don’t get any funding for the sewer system, your rates could go up.”

Some critics complained that the annexation would be a “lollipop” annexation, connected to the town by only the highway. Burns said that it is possible the town could annex Catoctin High along with the Myers farm should the request be approved. “If we annex the school … the contiguity issue is moot,” Burns said.

Resident Don Tyler told the commissioners, “There’s merit on both sides from what I hear.” He also pointed out that he has heard a lot of disrespect going back and forth between the two sides. In the end, he said that if the commissioners “purge yourselves of your personal position and vote accordingly what’s best for the citizens,” he would support the decision.

The final decision on the Myers farm annexation request is not expected later this month.

Results of the mayor’s poll on the Myers farm annexation

                       Total             In-town      Out-of-town   Businesses
Approve        446 (30%)    437(30%)   9 (21%)          2 (18%)
Disapprove    984 (66%)    951(66%)   33 (79%)         8 (73%)
Indifferent     57 ( 4%)      57( 4%)     0 ( 0%)           1 ( 9%)
                   1487           1445          42                  11

Source: Thurmont Mayor Martin Burns

Read other news articles on Thurmont