by James Rada, Jr.
March 2019 Meeting
Review of Sign Ordinance Changes Continues
The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners continued its review of the proposed changes to the town’s sign ordinance. During the March town meeting, the commissioners heard about the proposed changes to what types of signs could be located in which areas of town. They also paid particular attention to lighted signage.
They reviewed off-premise signage, which Town Planner Zach Gulden told them is a “totally new and business friendly section” to the sign ordinance.
Gulden told the commissioners that the new ordinance brings the town up-to-date with new signage technology, into compliance with legal rulings that could lead to future court challenges, and adheres to the best practices recommended by the Maryland Municipal League and American Planners Association.
However, he reassured business owners, “We will not take any signs away if this is passed, unless it was currently not permitted and not legal.”
Town staff also said they planned on taking pictures of all of the signage in town that is non-conforming to the whatever sign ordinance is eventually passed. This will create a visual list to show what signs are grandfathered in under the new ordinance and avoid any new town staff in the future to cause a business owner problems because they have signage not allowed under the sign ordinance.
Commissioners Support Nature Trail Garden
The Emmitsburg Commissioners supported a project proposed by Sandra Adams and Wayne Slaughter to create a half-mile-long walking path surrounding the Community Park baseball field into a nature trail garden.
The project will use volunteers to remove debris and prepare the garden beds. The maintenance costs are expected to be minimal, and they hope to raise the amount through donations.
The commissioners voiced their support of the project, and Adams and Slaughter will start to move forward with it.
Emmitsburg Food Bank Looking to Move
The roof of the Emmitsburg Food Bank building is in need of $40,000 of repairs to stop leaks and mold mitigation.
“I don’t know whether it’s even worth it,” Food Bank Director Phyllis Kelly told the Emmitsburg Commissioners.
Kelly asked the town commissioners if they could help the food bank find a new location. The commissioners directed her to contact the town planner, who could help the food bank with its search.
Commissioners Put Off Passing a Cross Connection Control Program
Emmitsburg must pass a cross connection control program or face fines from the State of Maryland. However, they put off the decision for a month to better understand the ordinance that the state is requiring them to pass. The program is designed to protect the potable water supply from contamination by connecting backflow preventers to water lines. Once passed, businesses will have time to make the changes while residents will only need to make the addition to their home water lines when major changes are made to the home or it is sold.
March 2019 Meeting
Proposal to Extend the Trolley Trail
The .7-mile-long Thurmont Trolley Trail may not be long, but it is well used by residents. The H&F Trolley Association would like to see the trail grow and attract even more users.
Members of the association presented their plan to Thurmont Town Commissioners. The plan calls for extending the trail north to Eyler Road Park and south past the water treatment plant. The hope would be that it might eventually connect up with other hiking and biking trails.
The projected cost to extend the trail to be two miles long would be $190,102.
Donovan Named Thurmont Police Officer of the Year
Thurmont Police Officer First Class Brian Donovan was named the Thurmont Lions Club Police Officer of the Year. Donovan has served in the department for three years and performed many traffic stops. He has also administered Narcan three times to overdose victims, most likely saving their lives. He also serves as the lieutenant of the Guardian Hose Company.
Donovan received a gift certificate to the Shamrock Restaurant and will have a $400 donation made to the charity of his choice.
Commissioners Begin Compiling POS Wish List
The Thurmont Commissioners have begun compiling their wish list of projects that could be funded through Program Open Space grants. The division of funds will emphasize property acquisition. Among some of the suggested projects are to increase the size of Community Park and to create a pocket park in Catoctin Heights. The commissioners also expressed no interest in pursuing a skateboard park, which was on the town’s POS wish list last year, but dropped.
Subdivision Regulations to be Reviewed
The Thurmont Mayor and Commissioners will be reviewing proposed regulations to the Thurmont subdivision regulations at the regular town meeting on April 9. A public hearing will be scheduled for a later date.