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Columbia-Villages, Neighborhoods, Houses

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I have been posting about Catonsville trying to find a good house, street, neighborhood but DH and I just can't seem to find what we want in Catonsville.

So we are going to look in Columbia. We have lived in Dorsey Hall for 4 years, so we know some of Columbia (esp north and west) but would love anyone's input on the following streets/neighborhoods in terms of the community (people!) the parks and walking paths nearby, the houses in general (nice or not), crime, and anything else. Also happy to hear your recommendations on where to look.

We prefer not to be too far south (too far to Baltimore Waldorf, Roots, etc) so Kings Contrivance is out.

Here are our current top picks (yet to go inside, though):

http://www.redfin.com/MD/COLUMBIA/11...4/home/9932405

http://www.redfin.com/MD/COLUMBIA/52.../home/10163267

http://www.redfin.com/MD/COLUMBIA/57...5/home/9964584

http://www.redfin.com/MD/COLUMBIA/51...4/home/9913248

Thanks for any input!

Elizabeth
post #2 of 81
from the listings i like the third one. i love the wooded lot and the deck is very nice. the kitchen looks updated and has some counterspace.

we had friends that lived in long reach and they liked it.
post #3 of 81
We're in Long Reach, south of 175 and I really like our community. Our neighbors are friendly and Ari is making nearby friends! We looked all over Columbia, and there are lots of places we would've been happy to move had we found the right house. Once I found one I really liked, I drove by it a lot, to get an idea of what the community was like. At this house, our neighbors across the street even came over to talk to us and tell us everything they knew about the house!
post #4 of 81
North and West of the hospital is not considered the best crime wise. Stay away from the streets off Steven's Forest. My neighborhood is extremely safe. I have watched the weekly crimelogs for three years now and we haven't had anything. We have pool, lake and playground all in walking distance. MOMs organic market (better prices than Roots anyway and MUCH nicer staff) is minutes from my home. As far as getting to Baltimore its very near to 100 and 95 (via 175) The area off Tamar Dr. is nice. I have several friends who live that area. Did you try Ellicott City? There are some lovely places in the older parts.
post #5 of 81
First, yes
Second, no Phelps Luck area I believe has some crime issues
Third, yes
Fourth, no for me because that close to 29 and 175 would be too much noise.

One thought on the wooded one, do you ever want to do gardening, cause that one isn't going to give you many options.

Dark Fire seems very overpriced to me though. I have bigger house and property and didn't pay that much over 2 years ago.
post #6 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by homewithtwinsmama View Post
First, yes
Second, no Phelps Luck area I believe has some crime issues
Third, yes
Fourth, no for me because that close to 29 and 175 would be too much noise.

One thought on the wooded one, do you ever want to do gardening, cause that one isn't going to give you many options.

Dark Fire seems very overpriced to me though. I have bigger house and property and didn't pay that much over 2 years ago.
Yeah, those are our top 2 also. I have several issues with the Phelps Luck one, so that's easy to let go. We'll still look at the one in Running Brook as the proximity to 29/175 don't seem like an issue to us (there's an elementary school and 2 streets b/w the house and 175. We're really close to 29 now and its pretty quiet here. The main problem with that house is the size/lack of family room.

I think Dark Fire is our favorite, and I think if it is overpriced its only a smidge. The tax records show it assessed at 455 (which is only somewhat helpful for determining market value, but at least helpful). Looks to be a teeny tiny bit larger (sq footage, not BRs) than your house. Its the neighborhood, age of home, etc that pushes the price up. So does the cathedral ceiling, whole house humidifier and fan (yay!), the garage, the finished basement w/ office space, the 3.5 baths, etc.

We still need to tour it and see what a realtor thinks of the price, then an inspection of course. We'll also seriously consider the one on Old Buggy (including how much $$ it'll "need" to bring it to what we want (wood everywhere, paint in and out, windows possibly).

thanks for input, highly appreciated! happy to hear more!
post #7 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiztic View Post
I think Dark Fire is our favorite, and I think if it is overpriced its only a smidge. The tax records show it assessed at 455 (which is only somewhat helpful for determining market value, but at least helpful). Looks to be a teeny tiny bit larger (sq footage, not BRs) than your house. Its the neighborhood, age of home, etc that pushes the price up. So does the cathedral ceiling, whole house humidifier and fan (yay!), the garage, the finished basement w/ office space, the 3.5 baths, etc.
Try not to depend too much on the assessment - we just got our new assessment on Saturday and our assessment dropped $50k. The Dark Fire house does sound really nice, and updated. I also think it is overpriced, unless the updates are really high-quality or something.
post #8 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by homewithtwinsmama View Post
North and West of the hospital is not considered the best crime wise. Stay away from the streets off Steven's Forest. My neighborhood is extremely safe. I have watched the weekly crimelogs for three years now and we haven't had anything. We have pool, lake and playground all in walking distance. MOMs organic market (better prices than Roots anyway and MUCH nicer staff) is minutes from my home. As far as getting to Baltimore its very near to 100 and 95 (via 175) The area off Tamar Dr. is nice. I have several friends who live that area. Did you try Ellicott City? There are some lovely places in the older parts.
I love Roots, and we find the staff incredible. We are on a first name basis with most of them, and they are so nice and helpful. Probably the best customer service I've ever seen in a grocery store. I'm curious how our experiences are so different. David's on the other hand....:

EC is a bit too pricey for the nicer houses. And all the "old folks" ranchers need too much updating!
post #9 of 81
Thread Starter 
Lorrie--

so looking at the map, it seems that Old Buggy is pretty close to if not in Phelps Luck, but you seemed to give it a thumbs up, what's the difference? Is the 1/4 mile that much different?
post #10 of 81
[QUOTE=Holiztic;12922238]I love Roots, and we find the staff incredible. We are on a first name basis with most of them, and they are so nice and helpful. Probably the best customer service I've ever seen in a grocery store. I'm curious how our experiences are so different. David's on the other hand....:

Meh...not my experience at all...Love MOMS...always carry groceries to car!
post #11 of 81
One thing to think about when looking that my neighbors brought up. The windows that go nearly to the floor are expensive to replace. I'm told you have to order safety glass for the bottom half to be up to code, and it isn't cheap.

I just picked up a freecycle item from a house a block and a half away the other day (from the Buggy court house) and the neighborhood seemed ok. Have you driven by any of them yet?
post #12 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by koofie View Post
Try not to depend too much on the assessment - we just got our new assessment on Saturday and our assessment dropped $50k. The Dark Fire house does sound really nice, and updated. I also think it is overpriced, unless the updates are really high-quality or something.
Our assessment dropped 68K. Good thing we don't plan to move or need to use the equity for anything!! Now if the taxes would just drop accordingly, but they will likely just raise the tax rate to cover the loss in revenue.
post #13 of 81
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=homewithtwinsmama;12924563]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiztic View Post
I love Roots, and we find the staff incredible. We are on a first name basis with most of them, and they are so nice and helpful. Probably the best customer service I've ever seen in a grocery store. I'm curious how our experiences are so different. David's on the other hand....:

Meh...not my experience at all...Love MOMS...always carry groceries to car!
I'll give them a shot. How are they with fermented foods? I can get pickles, tons of veggies, relishes, salsa, kombucha, etc at Roots. I know you don't like it, but what about traditional sourdough, do you know if MOMS has anything (fresh and local even?) Roots has Cazuela bakery out of Frederick. Its mostly sourdough and yummy (they do add some yeast for softness, etc).
post #14 of 81
The one that backs up to the elementary school? The only thing with that is that from my experience [I used to teach at that school] the teens used the school grounds nights and weekends for their "activities" [for example, I once found a condom just outside my classroom door, the one that went out to the playground, and there were often beer bottles and ciggie packages out on and around the fields]. I don't know if you'd have trouble with them being in/near your backyard...
post #15 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Rana View Post
The one that backs up to the elementary school? The only thing with that is that from my experience [I used to teach at that school] the teens used the school grounds nights and weekends for their "activities" [for example, I once found a condom just outside my classroom door, the one that went out to the playground, and there were often beer bottles and ciggie packages out on and around the fields]. I don't know if you'd have trouble with them being in/near your backyard...
Thanks for your input, exactly the kind of thing I want to hear (I love the internet!) I actually drove by yesterday (second time) and thought, "Wow, it is so close to that school, wonder what level school it is" When I saw it was Elementary I thought "whew, what kind of trouble are they going to give us, not like middle or high schoolers loitering". Hadn't occurred to me that the older ones would hang out at elementary schools after hours (even though I used to do it!! Of course I just sat on the swings gossipping, but still)
post #16 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiztic View Post
Thanks for your input, exactly the kind of thing I want to hear (I love the internet!) I actually drove by yesterday (second time) and thought, "Wow, it is so close to that school, wonder what level school it is" When I saw it was Elementary I thought "whew, what kind of trouble are they going to give us, not like middle or high schoolers loitering". Hadn't occurred to me that the older ones would hang out at elementary schools after hours (even though I used to do it!! Of course I just sat on the swings gossipping, but still)
That school has redistricted some since I worked there, but it still serves the apartments and townhouses that are just off Columbia Road there, which can be a little rough.
post #17 of 81
[QUOTE=Holiztic;12929493]
Quote:
Originally Posted by homewithtwinsmama View Post

I'll give them a shot. How are they with fermented foods? I can get pickles, tons of veggies, relishes, salsa, kombucha, etc at Roots. I know you don't like it, but what about traditional sourdough, do you know if MOMS has anything (fresh and local even?) Roots has Cazuela bakery out of Frederick. Its mostly sourdough and yummy (they do add some yeast for softness, etc).
MOMs has carried a booth with fresh daily deliveries of local Spring Mill Bakery since before Roots was a glimmer in its owners eyes. Yes they carry fermented foods. Roots has actually mimicked a lot of what Scott (MOMs owner) has done first. For instance buying wind power for their stores. Scott did that first. Recently the MOMs near us is also carrying Bonaparte Bakery breads as well, but I have it on good authority that BB may be in big trouble and might not stay open. (neighbors boys used to work at BB until their paychecks kept bouncing)
But Roots still don't carry your groceries unless you ask for help and once when I did the clerk got rude with me because I didn't say thank you fast enough (a baby was screaming and I was trying to get four kids into the car out of the parking lot). I have had three other really bad experiences with staff there and so I only go there when I absolutely can't get what I need from MOMs, which doesn't happen often since they are happy to do special orders. And my preterm labor with Kalleigh and Leighanna started in the Roots parking lot so it has seriously bad mojo for me as well.
post #18 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Rana View Post
That school has redistricted some since I worked there, but it still serves the apartments and townhouses that are just off Columbia Road there, which can be a little rough.
I am struggling with this kind of thinking right now. Here's what I mean:

We love Columbia for its attempt at egalitarianism and mixed living, we love the idea and mostly we love the practice. We also have lived in apartments/condo for years now so we have a hard time with the "oh no, its near apartments--you know what kind of people live there" (I am not insinuating that this is what you were saying, BTW, not at all, but we hear it a lot)

On the other hand, I kind of do think that way sometimes. We were a young professional couple, then a very young family in apartments/condo (and we were at the apartments by central library, now in condo in dorsey hall). A different thing from teens living in apartments with single moms that have to work 2 jobs.

So I feel like an elitist with the latter thinking but a bit naive with the former and I don't know where to settle.

Both of our top houses are near apartments/condos/townhouses, but hey, its Columbia so that's just about everywhere.

These are just my thoughts, no real decisions or even strong opinions here, just musings. Anyone else wanna chime in?
post #19 of 81
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=homewithtwinsmama;12933457]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiztic View Post

MOMs has carried a booth with fresh daily deliveries of local Spring Mill Bakery since before Roots was a glimmer in its owners eyes. Yes they carry fermented foods. Roots has actually mimicked a lot of what Scott (MOMs owner) has done first. For instance buying wind power for their stores. Scott did that first. Recently the MOMs near us is also carrying Bonaparte Bakery breads as well, but I have it on good authority that BB may be in big trouble and might not stay open. (neighbors boys used to work at BB until their paychecks kept bouncing)
But Roots still don't carry your groceries unless you ask for help and once when I did the clerk got rude with me because I didn't say thank you fast enough (a baby was screaming and I was trying to get four kids into the car out of the parking lot). I have had three other really bad experiences with staff there and so I only go there when I absolutely can't get what I need from MOMs, which doesn't happen often since they are happy to do special orders. And my preterm labor with Kalleigh and Leighanna started in the Roots parking lot so it has seriously bad mojo for me as well.
It never occurred to me that someone would carry my groceries to my car (then again I only have 1 kid!) but that is way awesome! At Bark they always offer to carry the big bags of litter or dry cat food, so that's great. I always say no of course, again, 1 kid. I'll definitely try MOMs after your glowing recommendation! Now that we are buying a house (and we'll probably have our condo for a while too, yikes!) I'll be shopping at TJs again, so MOMs will be convenient.

On that note, anyone wanna buy a 2BR/2Ba condo in dorsey that's been seriously renovated?
post #20 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiztic View Post
I am struggling with this kind of thinking right now. Here's what I mean:

We love Columbia for its attempt at egalitarianism and mixed living, we love the idea and mostly we love the practice. We also have lived in apartments/condo for years now so we have a hard time with the "oh no, its near apartments--you know what kind of people live there" (I am not insinuating that this is what you were saying, BTW, not at all, but we hear it a lot)

On the other hand, I kind of do think that way sometimes. We were a young professional couple, then a very young family in apartments/condo (and we were at the apartments by central library, now in condo in dorsey hall). A different thing from teens living in apartments with single moms that have to work 2 jobs.

So I feel like an elitist with the latter thinking but a bit naive with the former and I don't know where to settle.

Both of our top houses are near apartments/condos/townhouses, but hey, its Columbia so that's just about everywhere.

These are just my thoughts, no real decisions or even strong opinions here, just musings. Anyone else wanna chime in?
Honestly, I was trying NOT to say exactly that, but unfortunately in the case of the R.B. apartments/townhouses.... *sigh* Without making generalizations that people could be offended by I'll just say there have been several occasions where guns have been shot in that complex, I seem to recall that at one point the police put cameras in there, a clerk at the 7-11 right there was shot by someone who lived in that complex.... A woman who used to volunteer at the school used to live in teh condos over there until she just felt too unsafe. So I don't just mean loud neighbors or lots of young unsettled people, I'm referring to the crime.
On the other hand, I've known some very sweet, responsible lovely people who live there cuz that's what they can afford, ya know? So I definitely can't say that ALL people who live there are XYZ or anything. And despite my worries, I know a lot of the people who teach at that school, and I know that despite their lower test scores compared to other schools in the county, I'd most likely be willing to send my child there if I DID live there [I do have one reservation which I won't voice here, and you plan to use Waldorf school anyway], and the single family homes in the neighborhood are lovely, and I like all the old trees, and it's within walking distance of the lake there, and not too far from the Mall, and the Dorsey Giant, etc. So it's push and pull, ya know?

Blah, I'm babbling.

Can't wait to hear what you ultimately decide.
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