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Thurmont updates growth plan.
Public hearings in early 2009

Jeremy Hauck

(11/27) The plan will describe how the town of 6,000 expects to grow during the next 20 years. It will replace the 1998 Thurmont Master Plan.

During a 30-60 minute segment of Monday night's town meeting, commissioners "went through all the objectives of the plan, and now they're going to start getting into the body of it," said John A. Kinnaird, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Two major changes to the plan are a new water resources planning element and the adding of more than 250 acres to Thurmont's growth boundary, according to Kinnaird.

The plan anticipates major growth on the south end of Thurmont, where two national developers petitioned for annexation in 2006, Kinnaird said.

Atlanta-based Beazer Homes wants the town to annex the 131-acre tract known as the Lawyer Farm, between Moser and Jimtown roads; Fort Mitchell, Ky.-based Drees Homes wants the town to annex 108 acres of land lying between Weis Market and the Maple Run golf course.

Thurmont planning officials have included both tracts in the town's growth boundary in the new master plan, said Kinnaird. But the once-frequent discussions about the two annexations went all but silent after Thurmont turned down an annexation petition for a farm to the town's north and was successfully sued for not maintaining its sewer infrastructure.

It's been at least six months since he's heard from either developer, Kinnaird said, although their representatives do show up at Planning and Zoning Commission meetings to observe.

"It's in their best interest to keep track of what's going on," Kinnaird said.

The new plan also expands the growth boundary to include a tract on the town's eastern side, he said.

Frederick County planner Denis Superczynski said Tuesday that the 44-acre tract is the one spot of difference between the proposed municipal master plan and the county's Thurmont Region Plan, which was approved in July.

The Edanrae property is located across East Main Street from Thurmont Primary School. According to Superczynski it includes a single family home and is almost entirely forested. In fact, he said, the property is locally renowned for the tens of thousands of migratory birds that land there seasonally.

"It's huge, relatively speaking," he said.

Frederick County planners are in the process of down-zoning a small tract of land zoned for roadside services north of Thurmont, along U.S. Route 15, next to a farm that was denied for annexation, according to Kinnaird. Kinnaird said that Thurmont commissioners on Monday agreed to write a letter to county officials opposing the zoning change.

The new, 114-page plan includes a layer that addresses issues such as stormwater management, wellhead protection areas and stream buffer zones, according to Kinnaird.

Officials will consider changing current zoning designations after the plan is finished.

They will revisit the master plan in 2015.

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