Thurmont Referendum

Thurmont residents voted 834-157 on Tuesday to defeat a controversial annexation. Here, resident Vicki Montgomery gets an “I Voted” sticker from Election Judge Randy Kolb at the Guardian Hose Co. Activities Building.

Thurmont residents voted 834-157 on Tuesday against annexing 16.7 acres of agricultural land for high-density development, punctuating a monthslong debate over how the town should fulfill housing needs.

The development proposal at the core of the annexation was a 24.5-acre mixed-use “intergenerational community” from Frederick-based developer Cross and Co. It included 172 housing units — mostly townhouses — as well as a day care center and an assisted-living facility.

(68) comments

gardenwhimsey

Good for the people of Thurmont. Frederick City has been ruined by the constant expansion and building in Frederick. Some in earlier comments said "where will people life" and my response is let them buy where elsewhere. I've been here my whole 69 years and I liked Frederick much better 30 years ago. Look at poor Urbana and what those housing developments have done to once was a nice little burg. Who moved in there...people from Montgomery County, the same people who have ruined Frederick and who have been stopped from ruining Thurmont.

C.D.Reid

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]!!!

all-that-glitters

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Dwasserba

I feel so bad that natives have regrets. We relocated here in 1979 from Gaithersburg, having moved there in 1972 when it was podunk, from Silver Spring, and we thought we were done. Not so sure now. What’s happening here is what the next generations want. “Ruined” is in the eye of the beholder, but I get it 😢

eastmoonrabbit

[thumbup]

shiftless88

So basically, garden, you just don't like people. I am assuming you had no children who needed to buy a place to live?

Greg F

I know of a nice little burg in Wisconsin that has hardly changed in 40 years. No good jobs, but if you want a house in an educated community with access to every place within an hour (much like you get with Thurmont), it's there for the taking. It's not even as cold there as it used to be thanks to good ol' CO2 warming us all. We all want that same little town feel, but luxury of being in the middle of things...well...many do. They just want great jobs to be there to. Bzzzt. Not happening.

Plumbum

A few weeks ago in Urbana a guy broke into a ladies townhome. She came home to find him AND HIS DOG in her house.

mrnatural1

Great comment Garden! [thumbup][thumbup]

petersamuel

The result of this vote will be that Thurmont gets suburban development around the City instead of within the City's jurisdiction. As with Frederick which comprises development within City limits and development to the southwest (Ballenger Creek) and development to the east (Linganore etc) that are outside the City's jurisdiction. Or Baltimore where the City is a small fraction of the built-up area. Or Washington DC. People who think that rejection of annexation will stop development are kidding themselves.

C.D.Reid

It's not development that people were opposed to, it was the high density zoning, and in the proposed location for it, that we were against. Nobody is kidding themself in this matter.

shiftless88

So where do you think it should go? Where will these people live?

C.D.Reid

Shift, there are very, very few job opportunities in Thurmont. My guess is the vast majority of they who would buy into a development like this would be going "down the road" to work, whether in Frederick or farther. High density belongs closer to Rt. 15 so as to limit the disruption of traffic in the town.

As far as "where will these people live" goes, 1) there are five other developments in various stages in town and 2) Thurmont is not the only option for living in this county.

shiftless88

CD; the relative paucity of houses sitting with no one in them indicates that growth is not stagnant. And Thurmont is, checks the map, right on 15. This was a classic NIMBY tantrum of people holding hands over their ears and eyes and pretending the world is different than it really is.

Dwasserba

Shiftless, this is empathetic and really made me stop and think. In 1964 my family finally moved to the small town in the PA “wilds” where my dad was the only dental surgeon in the county and one of two dentists. He had lived in a b&b style hotel three houses from his office building for almost 3 years before a house even became available to rent. We moved to that house. My folks had considered everything offered. We drove for hours to see the former old folks’ home the nuns suggested because they owned it. It was on a semi derelict plot basically nowhere and a perfect setting for a horror movie. I was nine. I refused to go in. They described how I could have any room I wanted. Still nope. Lots of towns don’t consider where people should live even when they value their contribution. Guess what. They stay small.

Greg F

How about we tear down some old rowhouses downtown Frederick that could serve as places where infrastructure and walkability are already, but the housing is substandard, and many beyond hope of ever being considered good homes. Tear down old places, old buildings and to hell with the preservationists wanting to save every last stick of things that nobody really cares about. In 100 years, that will be the historical buildings we have left that actually work.

Plumbum

Peter - this was never about development. It was about the quantity of proposed structures

newspostreader

You're absolutely correct. He will develop the ground that is in the county and you're still going to have all of the concerns people complained about, but without the tax revenue for Thurmont. It's the old saying of cut of your nose to spite your face.

Dwasserba

Yes. This has happened before exactly as you say, but who pays attention to the history of other places, not many. This delays change. Probably the only way to stop it is to buy the land and do nothing. My sister bought many acres near her farm. A quarry was considering it. So it’s not a quarry because…she’s still alive. Basically.

C.D.Reid

I had little doubt the results would be what they were, everyone with whom I discussed the matter were opposed to it. With 84% of the votes cast being against it, the people have not only spoken, they shouted. Let this be both a lesson to developers and a shining example to other municipalities of what can be done.

Also, I wonder if Bill Buehrer will now say that we "only showed up [at the polls yesterday] just to bit_h?" To Commissioner Buehrer, I say we won't forget that comment you made when your reelection comes up.

newspostreader

They shouted? Really? With only 21% showing up that means 79% didn't care enough to vote against it. I personally do not think it was clear that you had to show up to vote FOR it. Communications made it seem as though it would actually take more than 50% of registered voters to vote against it, not just 50% of those who came out to vote. Again, my personal opinion.

C.D.Reid

Yes, "really." A percentage that high, no matter how many voted, I consider shouting. And I, personally, think it was abundantly clear that if one had an opinion on the matter, whether against OR for it, one had to show up and vote to express that opinion. And I fail to see your logic behind "79% didn't care enough to vote 'against' it." Seventy-nine percent didn't show up to vote, no matter how they felt about the matter. As far as "Communications made it seem as though it would actually take more than 50% of registered voters to vote against it," this was no different than any other election. It only took a majority of votes cast, no matter how many there were, to make a decision. No different than how a primary or general election would be.

olefool

CD says: 'this was no different than any other election. It only took a majority of votes cast, no matter how many there were, to make a decision. No different than how a primary or general election would be."

Would this be your position on presidential elections as well CD .... If your statement held true George HW Bush's win in 1988 would have been the last Republican President of the USA .

phydeaux994

Touché olefool, that’s how these people think. If we do it it’s o.k., if you do it’s not o.k. Another example of privileged people. They are special.

C.D.Reid

Oh, so we're "special" "privileged people" now, are we fido? OK, I'll ask you a hypothetical question I asked someone else in the comments who didn't have the balls to answer. Let's see if you do.

Say you live on the perimeter of a subdivision and a sod farm was on the property that bordered yours. And one day it was announced that someone had bought that farm and was going to operate it as a hog farm business enterprise, complete with a few hundred hogs and the waste/sewage holding pits that come with them, but first the zoning had to be changed to do it. Providing you're familiar with how over powering the stench from operations like that can be, if your neighbors started a petition drive to prevent a zoning change and, subsequently, this operation from starting up, would you sign the petition, or would you refuse to?

Note; with your history of being too chicken to answer my questions, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for one.

Cluck, cluck, cluck...

mrnatural1

Exactly C.D., well said! [thumbup]

Many elections have relatively low voter turnout. That's unfortunate but irrelevant. It is the people who voted that determine the outcome.

Plumbum

It’s neither here nor their newspostbreeder. Back and forth bickering, for what?

Bottom line is the people of Thurmont prevailed. And I think it’s great.

TheLorax1

Elections are decided by those that ‘show up’

Same with public comments on an issue.

When you hear someone say ‘it’s just a small group that’s really loud’ or ‘they are only a fraction of the electorate / population / property owners’ what they are really doing is trying to downplay or ignore the public’s opinions.

newspostreader

Correct, but this wasn't an election. And while many votes are determined by those that show up, sometimes it isn't. It's all in how the governing laws are written.

C.D.Reid

newspostreader, this was an election. We were electing whether or not to annex the property in question into the town limits. And, as I said, this vote was no different than how a primary or general election would be (other than the Electoral College wasn't involved.) The majority wins.

Election: an act or process of electing. *

Elect: carefully selected : chosen. *

* https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elect

mrnatural1

Spot-on Lorax! [thumbup]

Also, the comparisons to presidential elections which are determined by 'electors' is "apples and grapefruit". That is a special situation.

The vast majority of elections -- including those here in FredCo -- are determined by which candidate receives a majority of the votes.

Greg F

That same thing needs to happen in Frederick where they want to rape the old brick works property and stuff yet one more crappy cookie cutter development that lacks any consideration for the sheer volume of traffic it will clog every road and street near it. No way that should get green lighted. If that gets green-lighted, I post my house for sale immediately....though it would be posted soon enough as it is. Frederick and FredCo are on their way down and lack any gonads to do what's right or make improvements to infrastructure or force developers to do it BEFORE they even break ground on the houses. No more. The people have had enough.Thurmont people see developers for what they are. Land rapists.

C.D.Reid

Did you decide Cross wasn't hiding anything, or are you still working on that? ([lol])

Greg F

Cross will never disclose his true intents. He'll skirt the issues....half truths...forget conveniently all the impacts and to the "oh look...a Chuck-E-Cheese" thing when asked a serious question.

C.D.Reid

And yet, Groggy, you still can't even suggest what Cross could be "hiding," resorting instead to dancing around to avoid giving me an answer.

Ah, yes, deflection: the tool for the fool who has no answer.

shiftless88

Greg; would you prefer another brick factory?

Dwasserba

An employer? Score!

Greg F

We could use a tech firm....or a hotel like they want....but that many houses is just insanity and a clogged road no matter where you go.

mrnatural1

That's right Greg -- all development proposals should trigger an automatic referendum.

Plumbum

With yesterdays story about the plans being submitted to build an assinine number of houses at the old Fred. brick Works property, I’m wondering if city residents can take it to referendum like Thirmont did? Anyone know?

This is what needs to happen with every approved high density development approval moving forward.

Development is one thing and usually fine. High density isn’t.

C.D.Reid

Do you understand the differences between the proposed development of the Simmers tract in Thurmont and the development of the former Frederick Brick Works one in Frederick?

Plumbum

I’m not sure if you’re tryin to engage in a civil dialog, or if you’re yearning to bicker.

C.D.Reid

It was a simple question, no "bickering" involved. So, do you understand the differences between the two?

Plumbum

That’s not how your “simple questions” work, though.

Ok, have a great day, sun is is out!

C.D.Reid

If you need me to explain the differences, Pb, I'd be happy to.

shiftless88

Sure; CD: One is in Frederick and one is in Thurmont. How's that?

C.D.Reid

Sure shift , if you say so.

Smh.....

Plumbum

Shift 👍

shiftless88

Well, CD, you asked for differences. That is a pretty clear difference. One is also mixed use and one is residential. One is bigger than the other. One involves annexation. One was voted on. One is further along. And so on....

C.D.Reid

Shift, annexation was the primary difference, and the one that I was intending. Thurmont residents had an opportunity to deny the annexation, and thus development of 2/3 of the tract here. Is the property in Frederick currently zoned for the proposed development? And, if it is, what cause would the people in that town have to take it to referendum, as Pb suggested? That was my point.

mrnatural1

A rare win. Congratulations Thurmont!

We need referendums for every proposed development in Frederick County. Let those whose quality of life is being threatened decide.

C.D.Reid

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

TheLorax1

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

all-that-glitters

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

C.D.Reid

I bet you slept well last night, didn't ya? [beam]

Greg F

Must have kept you awake all night, seedy, to come up with that retort.

C.D.Reid

WHAT retort, Groggy? I happen to know who all-that-glitters is, that they were concerned about the vote, I'm sure they were relieved when it went the way it did, and I was just suggesting they slept well after hearing the results. Boy, you are one pitiful troll. A pitiful troll who won't tell us what the developer is "hiding." [lol][lol][lol] Crawl back under your rock.

olefool

Best idea yet mrnatural...

mrnatural1

Thanks olefool! [cool]

phydeaux994

And what have you done personally mrnatural1 or any of the complainers? So far it’s just two that have organized resistance to development in Frederick County, Steve McKay and the Lady in Thurmont. The rest are all talk no walk.

gabrielshorn2013

What would you like them to do, phy? C'mon, give them a few ideas. Shall they lay down in front of the bulldozers? By that time it is years too late. Buy the properties in question from the current owners? The only thing that can be done is to elect representatives who are in agreement with those that don't want development, negating the rights of the land owners (farmers?) to sell to the highest bidders, or develop their property as they see fit. Mrnatural, and the other "complainers" as you call them, have every right to voice their opinion here as you do. The citizens of Thurmont achieved the same result as RALE.

C.D.Reid

I agree wholeheartedly, gabe, but I think we all know by now there's no use talking either logic or sense to fido. They're both like Greek to him.

phydeaux994

Do what I did for 10 years in Howard County. Go to every hearing in Ellicott City when a developer came in to try to change the 40 year zoning plan to open up land that was out of the water and sewer serviced area where higher density development was allowed. Everything outside of that area was zoned 3 acre minimum. The citizenry of Howard County had a permanent organization armed with lawyers and city planners and traffic studies and impact on roads and schools and other infrastructure. And those citizens turned out by the hundreds to every County meeting concerning development which were also televised to keep everyone interested. And again, drive around Howard County today and you don’t see the willy nilly ugly development happening in Frederick County. If these folks were just voicing their opinion about development I wouldn’t say a word. But they are BLAMING the City and County Governments for this mess, and I agree it is a mess. BTW, I did give the Thurmont Lady credit for being the second person in Frederick County to actually do something about it, along with Steve McKay. Peace gab, we’ll have to have another go around about 4 and 6 and 15 year olds with guns and the NRA not stepping in to condemn it.

C.D.Reid

Once again, same old, same old. [yawn] Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...................

mrnatural1

Thanks for your support Gabriel. [thumbup]

Just to clarify, my primary goal is to save what's left of Frederick County -- not to 'negate the rights of the land owners (farmers?) to sell to the highest bidders, or develop their property as they see fit.'

That may, in some cases, be a side effect -- but that is not the objective.

After all, my wife and I are landowners. If our property was rezoned, we could be very wealthy.

The way I see it, we all must abide by zoning laws. There are no guarantees that a piece of land will be zoned residential. In fact, most of the county is not.

I am all for someone selling anything to the highest bidder. I think well regulated capitalism is the best system going. The key is, "well regulated". As landowners we may want to do whatever we want, and bristle at the idea of zoning, but it exists for the greater good -- so a CAFO hog farm is not built next to an existing residential area (etc., etc.).

Zoning can and should also prevent the total annihilation of an area like FredCo. That may prevent a few landowners from striking it rich. I take no joy in that, but the greatest good is to preserve what's left of the county and our quality of life.

BTW -- as I've said several times, I realize that any development that has been approved and has substantially begun should be allowed to continue.

What is RALE? I searched but found nothing.

gabrielshorn2013

RALE stands for Residents Against Landsdale Expansion, and was the organization Steve McKay headed before becoming a member of the County Council.

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

petersamuel

A win? Not for stopping development. The area in question will now not be annexed into the City and will remain outside the jurisdiction and planning and taxing power of the City -- and will stay under the more remote governance of the County. You think that will somehow stop development? When the County has recently adopted an anti-sprawl Livable Frederick Master Plan that designates Thurmont as one of about a dozen 'growth centers' in the county.

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