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Thurmont land sale may be part of
 June 19 meeting

Ed Waters Jr.
Frederick News Post

(6/8) The sale of 450 town-owned acres to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources may be discussed at the June 19 Town Council meeting.

Thurmont officials said Tuesday they are considering selling the land, which is in the town's watershed.

Mayor Martin Burns said the town would keep 80 acres, which includes the town's reservoir.

The land is surrounded by Cunningham Falls state parkland, the mayor said.

The town had been approached about selling the land previously, Burns said. The state wants to enlarge the park.

"The negotiations are not final yet. Once we get an offer in writing I'll be glad to share," the mayor said in an email Wednesday when asked about the potential price for the land.

Thurmont Commissioner John Kinnaird said the town has only agreed to discuss the option of selling the land. In an email on Wednesday, Kinnaird said the land sale may come up for public discussion on the June 19 town meeting agenda.

Wayne Six, an appraiser and owner of Six and Associates in Frederick, said there are many factors involved in valuing the land.

"I couldn't guess a price without walking it," Six said in a telephone interview Thursday.

"But there are factors to consider," he said. "One is how usable the land is. Is it wooded? That would mean it would be worth less than open land."

Topography is a major factor, Six said. Slopes and other specifics of the land would affect value.

"Are there development rights on the property, how is it zoned, that is very important," he said. "And is there road frontage and access?"

The appraiser said another aspect is "quantity discount." Just as you pay less per item when you buy things in bulk at the store, land is usually sold the same way, Six said. "If you buy one acre, it can be expensive. If you are buying 100 acres, you generally get each acre at a lower price. For 450 acres, that would mean a lot less per-acre price."

The park is named for a 78-foot cascading waterfall, according to the DNR website.

The park offers hiking, swimming, hunting, fishing, picnicking, boating, playgrounds, 13 camper cabins and 180 campsites in two areas available seasonally. The William Houck area has a 43-acre lake and trail to the Falls; Manor area includes Catoctin Furnace.

Some facilities are handicapped accessible.--

The park was closed during the G-8 summit for security because it adjoins Catoctin Mountain National Park, where Camp David is located.

The Department of Natural Resources furnished a map of the site to The Frederick News-Post but did not make any comments on the potential land deal.

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