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Comprehensive rezoning project to begin

Sarah Harrington

(2/2016) Thurmont will begin a Comprehensive Rezoning process this year. The town usually does a Comprehensive Rezoning process when it creates its Master Plan. While traditionally towns update their master plans every five to six years, the state of Maryland recently relaxed the formal requirement to revamp master plans to once every ten years. However Mayor Kinnaird and town Chief Administrative Officer, Jim Humerick, agreed that ten years seemed to long when it comes to comprehensive rezoning. As a compromise, the two proposed a mid-cycle comprehensive rezoning program.

The Comprehensive Rezoning process allows property owners to bring their rezoning requests to the Planning and Zoning Board for review. Up until now property owners waited until the master plan came up for review and were able to present their requests during that time. Since it has been six years since Thurmont updated its master plan, instead of waiting four more years Kinnaird proposed giving the Planning and Zoning Board the go ahead to proceed with hearing requests.

At the January 12th town council meeting, commissioners were presented information packets that included two maps of Thurmont. The first was a map of the current zoning in Thurmont. The second map, a future land use map, designated land that could be rezoned in the future. Humerick explained that when a property owner presents a request to the board the request will need to fit into the future land use map.

Kinnaird told the Town Council that there are two or three property owners that are interested in bringing in requests to Planning and Zoning at this time. Some of the requests that Kinnaird is aware of will be very simple to address, while others will need to be discussed, which the town will do via public hearings.

The town council approved the proposals unanimously. However, active work on zoning request changes will be on hold until the Planning and Zoning Board completes it work on a planning ordinance.

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