Sugarloaf Mountain area at risk…again!

The tranquility of the Sugarloaf Mountain area is again at risk. Last summer, Elm Tree Properties tried unsuccessfully to obtain approval for one of the largest shooting range complexes in the United States on Thurston Road at the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain. They are now seeking approval for an event venue. The wording of their current Application and their past activities demonstrate their intent is to provide an event venue that far exceeds anything in the Sugarloaf Mountain area or in fact any area within a Resource Conservation zone in the county.

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Events could include survival training, motorcycle racing and other events or activities that are not suitable or appropriate for the area. Liquor could be served, with a potential for intoxicated drivers leaving the premises. Events could start in the morning and the noise and traffic would often continue into the night.

With so many cars arriving at the same time, it is likely that cars will be backing up on Thurston Road to make the turn into the property. People coming around the bends in the road from both directions will not expect a stopped car and thus, events with so many cars arriving at the same time is a recipe for accidents to occur at every event.

The adjacent development to this property is named “Echo Valley” for a reason. Any sound from an event at this location will be amplified by the bouncing of the sound off Sugarloaf Mountain. Allowing this to occur will surely harm the tranquility of the neighborhood and likely negatively affect the businesses of neighboring horse farms.

Many neighbors do not oppose Elm Tree Properties hosting reasonable size weddings or other similar events, but are concerned if there are no limitations as to the size and type of events that are allowed. We are simply asking for events to be limited to 300 people which is the capacity of their barn where they plan to hold events. We ask that if there is amplified sound outside that it be moved indoors before 9 p.m. Events should be limited to weddings or similar events.

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If you can, please help us keep the Sugarloaf Mountain a peaceful neighborhood.

Overwhelming numbers caused the first hearing on the shooting range to be postponed and eventually caused Elm Tree Properties to withdraw their application. Come to the hearing or write a short letter to the Board of Zoning Appeals. You do not have to speak unless you want to offer your comments.

The hearing is Thursday, April 23rd at 7:00 p.m. on the 1st floor of Winchester Hall, 12 East Church Street, Frederick.

If you can’t attend the hearing, please send an email to Craig Terry: CTerry@FrederickCountyMD.gov at the Board of Zoning Appeals. Letters do not have to be long. Just share your thoughts as to why you are opposed to the Application as currently written.

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