by James Rada, Jr.
For more information on the Town of Thurmont, visit www.thurmont.com or call 301-271-7313.
Residents Overwhelmingly Vote Down Annexation
During January’s special election, Thurmont residents voted 834-157 to not annex 16.7 acres of agricultural land into the town for high-density development. Although part of the property is already in town, and the lot in question was in the town’s master plan for residential development, residents gathered enough votes for the special election on January 17.
Frederick-based developer Cross and Company planned on a 24.5-acre mixed-use “intergenerational community” on the property. It would have included 172 homes, a day care center, and an assisted-living center.
With the vote results, the current plan cannot move forward, although something can be done with the portion that is already in the town boundaries.
Pavilion Rental Fees Increased
The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners voted to increase the rental fees for the pavilions in the town parks this year. The small pavilions will now cost $40.00 to rent and the large pavilions at Community Park will cost $60. The pavilion at Eyler Road Park is not included in this.
The Thurmont Mayor and Board of Commissioners recently approved some capital purchases for various town departments.
The electric department is purchasing a pick-up truck from Fitzgerald’s in Frederick for $42,909.
The wastewater treatment plant will be installing an emergency generator system in the plant for $370,500. This will cover the cost of the machinery and the initial $5,000 fuel charge. Most of the funds ($322,000) come from the American Rescue Plan. The remainder will come from the town’s budget surplus.
The streets department is purchasing a dump truck from Crouse Ford for $103,923. Most of the cost ($100,000) was a budgeted capital expense. The remainder will come from the town’s unrestricted fund balance.
Nearly Five Acres Added to the Town
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners approved a resolution to annex 4.881 acres of property owned by Apples United Church of Christ and town-owned property into the Town of Thurmont.
The commissioner liaison appointments for 2023 will remain the same as 2022: President Pro Tem – Wayne Hooper; Planning and Zoning – John Kinnaird; Thurmont Addictions – Wayne Hooper; Parks and Recreation – Wes Hamrick; Thurmont Ministerium – Wes Hamrick; Police – Bill Blakeslee; Board of Appeals – Bill Buehrer; Senior Center – Bill Blakeslee; Economic Development – Bill Buehrer; Special Activities – Wayne Hooper.
Zoning Changes Made
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners made some adjustments to the town’s zoning ordinance and how land can be developed.
The mayor and commissioners repealed the Traditional Neighborhood Floating Zone. This was a development option that had never been used in Thurmont. It had been applied for once, but not approved.
The mayor and commissioners also approved a Planned Unit Development zoning option for the town.
For more information on the Town of Emmitsburg, visit www.emmitsburgmd.gov or call 301-600-6300.
Frailey Farm Developer Backs Out
The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners announced during the January town meeting that the developer who was seeking to build new housing on the property was not pursuing the project. The reason given was that the economy was slowing and financing for the project was becoming more expensive.
The proposed plan would been to have the town annex the 118-acre farm and then the developer would build 300 homes on it. Although the farm was in the town master plan for future residential development, some residents were not happy with the idea.
System Upgrade Approved
The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved $56,937 for the ChemScan system at the wastewater treatment plant. A similar upgrade had been made at the water treatment plant and has been very successful.
Change Order Approved
The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved a change order for Bearing Construction to have trees removed on the dam at the Silo Hill Basin. This was something that Frederick County Soil Conservation required per MDE guidelines. The cost for the change is $47,185. The board also approved an agreement with Barton and Loguidice for the Silo Hill Basin tree removal engineering services. This was part of the change order request that was not in the initial scope of work.
The cost of the work is covered by the grant that is funding the project.
American Rescue Plan Monies
Emmitsburg received $3.2 million in American Rescue Plan funds. The first payment was in 2021, and the second payment of $1.6 million came last August. The money can be spent to support public health expenditures and address negative economic impacts; replace lost public sector revenue; provide premium pay for essential workers; and invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
The first payment was used for the water clarifier and pump station projects. Town staff recommended that the second payment be used for water infrastructure projects such as the 16-inch main water line, with which the commissioners agreed.
Amending Development Fees
The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners amended the town ordinance to approve changes to the subdivision, plan review and annexation, and forest conservation procedures. The goal is that the developers will pay the legal costs the town incurs for work related to proposed developments. This will keep the taxpayers from having to pay for work on proposals that ultimately go nowhere.