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County kills industrial parkway for now

James Rada, Jr.
Thurmont Dispatch

(2/7) All Thurmont hoped to do was to have the alignment of the proposed industrial parkway moved on the county map. And the Frederick County Planning and Zoning Commission did move it …right off the map … at least for now.

After slightly more than two minutes of discussion during the Dec. 19 commission meeting, the commission eliminated the parkway north of Thurmont that had been planned for decades.

“Bye, bye road,” Commission Chairman Joe Brown III said after the unanimous vote.
The group laughed and then County Commissioner Kai Hagen said, “It’s not there. There is no road.”

Once the Thurmont town commissioners learned that the parkway had been removed, they asked Hagen to come talk with them during a recent town meeting about why it was done.

“There’s a little trouble boiling here on the horizon, in my opinion,” Thurmont Commissioner Bob Lookingbill said.

Hagen said the parkway was removed because it was unlikely to be built in the near future, and the county was moving toward “reality-based planning,” those projects likely to be funded within the life of the plan.

“All over the county we’ve planned growth and supported growth without adequately dealing with transportation,” Hagen said.

He explained that if there is movement toward having a parkway, it could always be added back into the plan. However, Chief Administrative Officer Bill Blakeslee said that it is the designation on the planning map that helps create movement toward getting a parkway.

“No one’s going to contribute to a road that doesn’t exist on any map,” Blakeslee said.

Thurmont Planning and Zoning Commissioner John Kinnaird asked whether the town needed to extend its growth boundary to encompass the parkway, which it had originally done. The town planning commission had pulled the boundary back at the request of the county commission; then the town was apparently penalized for working with the county by having the parkway removed.

During the Dec. 19 meeting, Brown started the discussion to remove the parkway by saying, “I don’t agree with a town that’s putting a road on a map that’s not in their growth limits. You know that’s county ground.”

Hagen encouraged the town to make its case for leaving the parkway on the map to the county planning commission. He also offered to take a DVD of the town meeting with the commissioners’ and citizens’ concerns to both the planning commission and county commissioners.

Following the meeting, the town planning and zoning commission sent a letter to the county planning commission asking that the parkway be added back onto the map. The town commissioners passed a resolution on Jan. 29 asking the county planning commission to do the same.

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