James Rada, Jr.
(1/12) The planning and
zoning survey conducted in late 2005 has been
used by some to support annexation of property
into the town and more often, by others
It is meant for neither, according to some members of the Thurmont Planning
and Zoning Commission.
Randy Cubbedge, a planning and zoning commission member, told the Thurmont
Commissioners, "That survey was never intended as a guidepost for annexation."
He said the purpose of the survey, conducted in November 2005, was to guide
the commission as it worked to develop an updated master plan for the town.
However, he said even commission members have differed on their interpretation
of the data in the plan.
Planning and Zoning Member John Kinnaird agreed with Cubbedge. "You can read
every result into the survey," Kinnaird said.
The survey went out to each household in Thurmont (2,372) and 658 were
returned. The results were compiled in February. With the expectation of
annexation requests last fall, the results were used both to support and oppose
The Catoctin Area Planning and Preservation Association included the results
in its position paper against the annexations, including a section devoted to
the survey and writing, "All of these results lead to the conclusion that the
three proposed annexations are inconsistent with the wishes of the town
residents and their vision of what their town should look like in the future."
Mayor Martin Burns responded when a CAPPA spokesperson tried to present the
paper. "Any organization that has a position prior to them even presenting
their case, in my opinion is wrong," Burns said.
Because of confusing use of the survey and its relatively low response rate,
Burns has started a campaign to get all registered voters in town to make their
wishes known about the annexations.
Commissioner Ron Terpko said he hadn't been hearing from residents about the
annexations he believes because those against the annexations don't have
answers for how to keep the town thriving without growth.
"If you have no growth and no new people, you get no new business," Terpko
Burns has held a meeting to gather resident opinions, has sent out a request
in water bills to vote on the poll, and has also made the poll available in the
Kinnaird pointed out that many people don't care one way or the other about
the annexations and such people should be considered "yes" votes because they
don't oppose the annexations. Burns agreed.
As each person votes, his or her name will be checked off a voter roll. This
keeps people from double voting and also filters out non-residents' opinions.
In this way, the commissioners hope to get a feel for whether a majority of
town citizens want to proceed or not with the annexations.