James Rada, Jr.
(10/16) The Thurmont Commissioners
have started to delve into the master plan
recommended to them by the Thurmont Planning
“As you know, we began the process seemingly
decades ago,” County Planner Denis
Superczynski told the commissioners at a
He presented an overview of the plan to the
commissioners, explaining some of the changes
and thought processes behind the recommended
The town’s master plan, although updated
every 6-10 years, is a 20-year plan. One
element of the plan that seems to interest
most people is where the town plans to grow
and how much growth is it planning for.
“It is a consensus idea – in 2008 or
whenever this is approved – of where the town
should grow in the future,” Superczynski
He said the plan recommends maintaining
growth at 35 dwelling units a year, which is
roughly the annual average of growth the town
has seen since 1970.
Superczynski said the planning commission
created a four C’s strategy for managing
residential growth. The C’s are:
- Constraint of the rate of growth in
- Control on rezoning to residential
classifications on property.
- Careful management of the timing of
- Consistency with the municipal growth
In general terms, he explained that a lot
of the land in the plan is being set aside for
medium density residential growth. The
municipal growth boundary is recommended for
expansion to the south and southeast of town.
In order of priority for development, the
plan recommends property inside of town, land
south and southeast and contiguous to the
town, along Rocky Ridge Road and west of U.S.
Superczynski also pointed out that the town
has water and sewer capacity for 20+ years of
growth at the recommended rate of 35 dwelling
units a year. The problem is that the sewer
infrastructure is not capable of supporting
growth in its current condition.
A new zoning classification being
recommended in the plan is “mixed use.” This
new zoning was developed as a way to integrate
commercial businesses into current buildings
and to add a residential component to
Planning and Zoning Chairman John Kinnaird
pointed at that if the town does expand the
town’s growth boundary, it doesn’t mean that
the property will ever be annexed. The
boundary is a recommendation the commissioners
can plan for, but it’s the property owner’s
decision whether or not to have the property
“This is one step in a very, very long
journey,” Kinnaird said.