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Abandoned car storage under review

Sarah Harrington

(2/19) At the January 6th Thurmont town meeting, the issue of outdoor car storage was brought to the Board of Commissionersí attention. Thurmont resident Joseph Keller spoke at the meeting about the issue, which he has been dealing with for the last nine years. Keller explained to commissioners that the extra parking spaces at the townhouses where he resides have basically become a dumping ground for previous residents to leave their old vehicles.

When Keller moved to his townhouse in East Hammaker nine years ago, there were two vehicles in front of his new home - one vehicle sitting on just rims. Nine years later, not only do those two vehicles still remain, but they have been joined by three other abandoned vehicles, most of the abandoned cars have expired tags.

Keller expressed concerns that not only are the cars taking up space, but that they are also safety hazards. One of the cars that has been there for nine years is beginning to deteriorate and the rusty jagged edges can easily cut an inquisitive child.

Keller said he has been working to resolve the issue for five years now, but with no success. He enlisted the help of the Thurmont police to look into the developmentís original bylaws for car storage at the townhouses. Unfortunately, said Keller, the owners of one of the vehicles that has been there the longest no longer live in the townhouses, they have a relative living there and pay the mortgage, which means they can still leave the car on the property.

Thurmont Police Chief George Eyler told the commissioners that they had looked into the situation a few years back, but because the development is considered private property, the only thing they could do was to recommend that the car owners cover the vehicles. Eyler said the owners of the cars complied with this request.

Since the developmentís planned homeowners association was never formally established, the bylaws for the development have never been enforced, leaving residents, such as Keller, faced with the task of getting community problems, such as abandoned car removal, corrected on their own.

Keller told the commissioners that he hoped that the town can find a way to reestablished the original homeowners associationís bylaws, or identify some other option that will help the residents of the townhouses clean up the area.

After reviewing the developmentís original bylaws and regulations, that was brought in by Keller, the commissioners zeroed in on one section that mentioned that even if it was private property, after ten years a course of action could be taken to remove abandoned cars. The mayor and commissioners agreed to speak with the town attorney and see what can be done.

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