Thurmont Commissioner Criticizes Citizens Group Collecting Signatures Against Annexation

Envision Thurmont hopes to put the Simmers Annexation before the voters in a referendum.

Thurmont Town Commissioner Bill Buehrer  (Photo from town website)

Thurmont, Md (KM) An effort by Thurmont citizens to collect signatures to put  an annexation on a referendum has come under criticism from a town official. Commissioner Bill Ruehrer says it’s the right of organizations like Envision Thurmont to express their opposition to the Simmers annexation. But during Tuesday’s Town Commissioners’ meeting, Buehrer said the Town has been working on this proposed incorporation for several years, and no one showed up at Planning and Zoning meetings when it was discussed.

“We’re spending your dollars. So if you have a problem with it, why aren’t you here,”: he asked. “Why are you waiting until the last minute to say ‘I’m in opposition.'”

The Town Commissioners on September 20th approved the annexation of the Simmers property which is 16.7 acres in size.   It’s  currently agricultural land located on the town’s borders, but it has been  zoned for high-density residential.  Plans are to construct about 172 housing units on site.

Buehrer, who voted in favor of the incorporation, takes issue with Envision Thurmont that the residential construction on the site would overcrowd schools. “So we’re going to have an increase, according to the School Board, of 56 students across four schools,” he said. “We’re already only at 68% capacity.. So according to the School Board, this development will have absolutely zero affect on the School System.”

He also disagrees that this development goes against Thurmont’s small town appeal. “Small town appeal,” he asked. “That’s a perception.”

Envision Thurmont has until November 4th to collect at least 25% of the registered voters in the town to place this annexation on a referendum for voters to decide.

By Kevin McManus