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Columbia-Villages, Neighborhoods, Houses - Page 2

post #21 of 81
[QUOTE=Holiztic;12934264]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)
There is some history you may be missing though. A number of years ago Baltimore City demolished their high rise projects. They built subsidized housing in place of it that would not house all the former residents of the high rise towers. So many of them were sent to Columbia apartments that were rezoned for a larger and more densely populated subsidized housing. So the city problems got transplanted to Columbia because the original idea of Columbia was that it would be a mix of income levels and that there would not be whole blocks of lower income people all jammed in one place. When they changed some of these apts. zoning the character of whole neighborhoods began to change. I have a friend who just moved away from here whose home was right next to one of these rezoned apartment complexes and she (a homeschooler) no longer could take walks with her kids and feel safe. There was a lot of afternoon teen petty crime going on and they had some negative encounters with rowdy and aggressive groups of unsupervised teens. She helped me weed out where to look in Columbia when we were searching.
post #22 of 81
Thread Starter 
okay, so for those with particular knowledge of Columbia's neighborhoods (safety specifically), please tell me which house you would buy (don't worry about the actual house or price, just location) or would you pass them all up?

thanks!
post #23 of 81
Thread Starter 
[QUOTE=homewithtwinsmama;12935172]
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)
There is some history you may be missing though. A number of years ago Baltimore City demolished their high rise projects. They built subsidized housing in place of it that would not house all the former residents of the high rise towers. So many of them were sent to Columbia apartments that were rezoned for a larger and more densely populated subsidized housing. So the city problems got transplanted to Columbia because the original idea of Columbia was that it would be a mix of income levels and that there would not be whole blocks of lower income people all jammed in one place. When they changed some of these apts. zoning the character of whole neighborhoods began to change. I have a friend who just moved away from here whose home was right next to one of these rezoned apartment complexes and she (a homeschooler) no longer could take walks with her kids and feel safe. There was a lot of afternoon teen petty crime going on and they had some negative encounters with rowdy and aggressive groups of unsupervised teens. She helped me weed out where to look in Columbia when we were searching.

so what's a family to do that wants a pleasant, safe town? Ellicott City is it? Western Howard: $750k for house/land? Certainly not Baltimore or AA? Grrrr....
post #24 of 81
[QUOTE=Holiztic;12936954]
Quote:
Originally Posted by homewithtwinsmama View Post


so what's a family to do that wants a pleasant, safe town? Ellicott City is it? Western Howard: $750k for house/land? Certainly not Baltimore or AA? Grrrr....
I don't think you need to pass up Columbia altogether. My friends live over near Clemens Crossing and their neighborhood is nice, and so is the school. SFH near where you are now are nice. Over off Tamar south of 175 is nice... And I'm sure there are others, but it does help having some inside help to figure it all out. Wait, I'm going to PM you a suggestion....
post #25 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Rana View Post
Over off Tamar south of 175 is nice...
This is where I am

Here is one. Its near me, but I haven't been in that area much...
http://www.redfin.com/MD/COLUMBIA/62.../home/17052195

This house is also in my neighborhood, a few blocks down. I haven't talked with anyone that lives specifically in this area, but we haven't heard anything negative about crime from our neighbors. http://www.redfin.com/MD/COLUMBIA/61...5/home/9966598

Here is another: http://www.redfin.com/MD/COLUMBIA/62.../home/10172553

We looked for about 6 months in Columbia, so I kind of know the neighborhoods, but this is the only one I have lived in, so I don't feel so sure about recommending others. I do like Lorrie's neighborhood too, and we looked there, we just didn't find what we wanted. Chuck has lived here on and off so you are welcome to ask him as well (I think he is koofiesguychuck on MDC)
post #26 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.
So I am still trying to figure out if you mixed a couple houses up. The second (no from you for being in Phelps Luck) I think is in Thunder Hill (Oakland Mills) and the third (yes from you) seems to be in Phelps Luck in Long Reach. I am not sure of this as I cannot find any kind of map showing neighborhoods, even the CA online map just shows the general area for villages, not specifics for neighborhoods. I am going by the elementary school listed for each home. So anyway, did you mean no to Candy Root and yes to Old Buggy or vice versa?

So we look at houses tomorrow! We might from the rancher near Running Brook em, between Mama Rana's info and the fact that it is a bit small and all one level, and the fact that the current owner paid only 15k below asking price (and asking price is too high), we think we'll just skip it. So its Old Buggy, Candy Root and Dark Fire tomorrow. Will report back.
post #27 of 81
[QUOTE=Holiztic;12936954]
Quote:
Originally Posted by homewithtwinsmama View Post


so what's a family to do that wants a pleasant, safe town? Ellicott City is it? Western Howard: $750k for house/land? Certainly not Baltimore or AA? Grrrr....
Carroll County.
post #28 of 81
There is no such thing as a crime free area. If you look at one of the online crime maps, you will see that all of Howard County has a relatively low rate of crime compared to other areas of similar population. It's not fair to compare rural places to suburban or urban ones.

I am amazed and kind of amused to see Phelps Luck labeled a high crime area. My son attended preschool in the PL community center for 2 years and we have friends in the neighborhood. It always struck me as a stable area populated by people who put a lot of effort into their lawns, property values, and parent teacher associations. Yes, of course it is pleasant and safe! My goodness, Columbia is crammed with upwardly mobile professionals and high income earners. It's one of the wealthiest areas in the state!

Loud teenagers and the presence of larger numbers of African Americans who allegedly relocated from the city are 2 popular subjects of talk and anxiety in Columbia. They are right up there with the plans to redevelop the mall as far as burning issues. As a city resident, I'm used to putting up with a lot of crap, but I tend to think that if those are the things you are most worried about then life in your area must be pretty darn great.
post #29 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nina93013 View Post
There is no such thing as a crime free area. If you look at one of the online crime maps, you will see that all of Howard County has a relatively low rate of crime compared to other areas of similar population. It's not fair to compare rural places to suburban or urban ones.

I am amazed and kind of amused to see Phelps Luck labeled a high crime area. My son attended preschool in the PL community center for 2 years and we have friends in the neighborhood. It always struck me as a stable area populated by people who put a lot of effort into their lawns, property values, and parent teacher associations. Yes, of course it is pleasant and safe! My goodness, Columbia is crammed with upwardly mobile professionals and high income earners. It's one of the wealthiest areas in the state!

Loud teenagers and the presence of larger numbers of African Americans who allegedly relocated from the city are 2 popular subjects of talk and anxiety in Columbia. They are right up there with the plans to redevelop the mall as far as burning issues. As a city resident, I'm used to putting up with a lot of crap, but I tend to think that if those are the things you are most worried about then life in your area must be pretty darn great.

dh and i were talking about this last night, the whole "relativity" thing. we discussed columbia in relation to the toughest areas of baltimore and then to some fictionalized "mayberry" and thought how different one's description of a town could be! thanks for the perspective.
post #30 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by nina93013 View Post
There is no such thing as a crime free area. If you look at one of the online crime maps, you will see that all of Howard County has a relatively low rate of crime compared to other areas of similar population. It's not fair to compare rural places to suburban or urban ones.
Actually, a lot of parts of Columbia have crime rates that rival Baltimore City. At least they did 5 years ago (things could have changed). I really suggest anyone considering living there, check the crime reports for the different zip codes. I also recommend talking a walk on a weekday and weekend night in the neighborhood you'd like to move into.

When we rented an apartment off of Eden's Brook we ran into a lot of crime. It was such a shame, bc it was a beautiful place to live. It used to be so safe, too (you could leave your car unlocked), but over 2 years it quickly changed.

Many neighborhoods had masses of ppl relocated from Baltimore City. The problem was Columbia was not equipped to deal with that (ex- not enough police, resources for low-income residents, and crazy things like not having street lights due to the Columbia Association wanting things to appear to be "quaint").

Our neighborhood went from being a place you could leave your car door unlocked to being scary to walk around alone during the day. We had gangs of kids running around (during school days) unsupervised. They'd actually run up and threaten people for no reason.

A neighbor got mugged by a group of teens right outside our apartment one afternoon. The dude was screaming for help, and his head was covered with blood (they hit him over the head). Even though our apartment was located next to our rental office (which had begun to suck) no one came out to help him, but me and a young female neighbor. The next week, we had some shirtless guy running around at night looking into people's windows.

So, after that, we started looking for a new apartment. We found a lot of other neighborhoods in Columbia were running into similar issues as ours. Our friends who lived in Steven's Forrest had police coming to their complex regularly every week. This wasn't just for petty crimes but drug deals and murders. It seemed like the only decent place to live was S. Tamar, but the apartments were more expensive, and if you just crossed Snowden the neighborhood became scary (IOW, it could move up).

We ended up buying a large house in a nice neighborhood in Carroll County. While the commute is a little longer it is way cheaper to live here, and we have very low crime rates.

Don't get me wrong. I grew up in Woodlawn (Security) so I know too well that crime happens everywhere, and I'm not afraid to deal with it. However, if I'm paying a huge chunk of rent or a mortgage, I don't care to be surrounded by it.

Columbia has a lot of culture, beautiful parks and great restaurants (which I miss). And I'm sure there are probably "safe pockets" there. Other parts of Howard County can be very nice to live in (I'd recommend Ellicott City). But I urge anyone who's thinking of moving to Columbia to research it carefully as you may find yourself living in a large crime pocket while paying double the rent you would in a safer county.
post #31 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiztic View Post
dh and i were talking about this last night, the whole "relativity" thing. we discussed columbia in relation to the toughest areas of baltimore and then to some fictionalized "mayberry" and thought how different one's description of a town could be! thanks for the perspective.
See I grew up in Mayberry (Wenonah, NJ) and so it really does exist even though I have not found a Mayberry (I could afford) in Maryland. Columbia works for me, but I was very very careful before choosing what areas I would live in and consulted a lot of folks who lived here during that time.

By the way the last house you sent me near us, I drove by and it may be on the MLS, but it does not have a for sale sign on it so they may be letting their listing run out or something.
post #32 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red_Lil_Mamma View Post
Actually, a lot of parts of Columbia have crime rates that rival Baltimore City. At least they did 5 years ago (things could have changed). I really suggest anyone considering living there, check the crime reports for the different zip codes. I also recommend talking a walk on a weekday and weekend night in the neighborhood you'd like to move into.

This is really good advice!




Many neighborhoods had masses of ppl relocated from Baltimore City. The problem was Columbia was not equipped to deal with that (ex- not enough police, resources for low-income residents, and crazy things like not having street lights due to the Columbia Association wanting things to appear to be "quaint").

One of my biggest complaints about Columbia is the lack of dedicated police force. This city is too big and still growing to be relying on just county police. I grew up in a 1 mile square town that had its own police force as did the other town I lived in here, Cheverly MD which is about 1/10 the size but had its own police as well. And the street light thing would not bother me since each house has a lamplight outside IF the associations would enforce the homes that just unscrew and never allow their light to go on at night. That is what makes my street dark.

Our neighborhood went from being a place you could leave your car door unlocked to being scary to walk around alone during the day. We had gangs of kids running around (during school days) unsupervised. They'd actually run up and threaten people for no reason.

This is what happened to the friend of mine who recently moved away.

So, after that, we started looking for a new apartment. We found a lot of other neighborhoods in Columbia were running into similar issues as ours. Our friends who lived in Steven's Forrest had police coming to their complex regularly every week.

My mother is not too far off Steven's Forest and this is definitely true of that area near the apts. Gladly she seems to be far enough off it that the crime rate on her street is minimal.

It seemed like the only decent place to live was S. Tamar, but the apartments were more expensive, and if you just crossed Snowden the neighborhood became scary (IOW, it could move up).

I live off Snowden and our particular major cross street neighborhood is not experiencing those problems but we are very far from apartment complexes off Cradlerock/Steven's Forest.



Columbia has a lot of culture, beautiful parks and great restaurants (which I miss). And I'm sure there are probably "safe pockets" there. Other parts of Howard County can be very nice to live in (I'd recommend Ellicott City). But I urge anyone who's thinking of moving to Columbia to research it carefully as you may find yourself living in a large crime pocket while paying double the rent you would in a safer county.
Sound advice all!
post #33 of 81
Thread Starter 
So today we looked at Candy Root Ct and didn't care for the layout of the house. The 2 "kids" bedrooms had their own wing essentially and that would not work for little ones. It was also just too close to 108 for us.

We saw Old Buggy but are concerned about the neighborhood, hearing mixed things and found it a bit unattractive.

Finally, saw Dark Fire, definitely overpriced for having had only a few upgrades in the 20 years since it was built, and the lot is small, but we really liked the house and seems like a nice neighborhood. I stopped a couple of moms walking by with a bunch of kids on bikes. They were very friendly and had great things to say about the neighborhood. So how much should I worry about the other parts of that area (northern, i guess) if that little pocket is nice/safe?

I still want to see a list of yeses and nos for areas? Feel free to pm. I know you keep saying Tamar south of 175, but those condos look a bit rough to us (majors). I also have been trying to avoid being over near the big box stores and power lines (anything along Snowden) but might have to let that go if the neighborhoods are better.

Feeling so lost right now!

So how about east of snowden toward 108 in long reach? lot of newer stuff there, any one know about that?
post #34 of 81
Thread Starter 
okay, so how about off of cradlerock like this: http://www.redfin.com/MD/COLUMBIA/68...5/home/9961839 i'd love to be near east library and lake elkhorn and the uu congregation (if we can ever get back to going!) and farmers market... but is it nice/safe? anyone know?
post #35 of 81
Thread Starter 
and this area? http://www.redfin.com/MD/COLUMBIA/95.../home/9958047# not off stevens forest, but still oakland mills.
post #36 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiztic View Post
and this area? http://www.redfin.com/MD/COLUMBIA/95.../home/9958047# not off stevens forest, but still oakland mills.
29 noise-not
post #37 of 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holiztic View Post
okay, so how about off of cradlerock like this: http://www.redfin.com/MD/COLUMBIA/68...5/home/9961839 i'd love to be near east library and lake elkhorn and the uu congregation (if we can ever get back to going!) and farmers market... but is it nice/safe? anyone know?
Liquor store near there on cradlerock has bars on windows and doors. What's up with the place near me?
post #38 of 81
I don't live in Columbia now, but I grew up in E.C./Columbia. I agree with the people who mentioned really researching the neighborhoods. Things have really changed.

The only thing I will say is if you plan on being in your next house for a long time and use the public schools, I would stay away from the Long Reach high school district. I would never send my kids to that school.

My brother and SIL live in Thunder Hill on a nice, quiet street. Unless things have changed, I always thought Hickory Ridge/Atholton area was decent.
post #39 of 81
We considered a house off Cradlerock. I checked out the neighborhood very closely. It seemed fairly safe. People told me that the townhouses near the library were sketchy, so I'd stay away from anything very close to them, but I would buy something back in a neighborhood. The bars on the liquor store windows I think are because those types of stores are more likely to be robbed or broken into. I probably wouldn't be interested in something right off Cradlerock though (like one or two house in or backs up to it.

I like the lot for the house on Wandering Way. I'd check it out before discounting it because of noise... I've been back there and it seems nice, although we weren't crazy about the floor plans of the houses.

Also, I would NOT buy anything without a basement, finished or unfinished. I find it makes the houses seem closed in if you don't have that extra level (great for playrooms, laundry rooms or home offices).

The house on Welcome Home may be less expensive than some comps, because when we bought our house the nearby houses got hit with depreciation because our house price was so low (foreclosure). the closest comp (time wise) sold for 413k, so you may be able to get the house for 400k or under.

I'm not sure about the condos nearby, but they all feed into Ari's school, and the kids are her school seem nice and I find you can often tell a lot about a family by the kid's behavior (but not always).
post #40 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by homewithtwinsmama View Post
29 noise-not
I'll take road noise over crime any day! but also, dh and i lived right on 29 in apartment before our current condo, which is also pretty close to 29 and 108. our distance cut off for major roads is about 300 yards, for interstate and for beltway type highways its more. I'll drive over today and listen (then I'll have dh stop during rush hour sometime). funky house though huh? maybe a little too funky even for us (we'd redo the kitchen and everywhere take the vertical wood (walls) out.

we have a liquor store across the street--no bars in windows but it has been robbed recently i think. the heavenly ham has been hit 3 times in a year! but i still consider this a super safe neighborhood, so maybe i shouldn't be so concerned about some of these columbia-crime comments? or does dorsey hall just pale in comparison?

welcome home is near power lines, so no go for us.

still thinking about dark fire, but no back yard worries us!

lorrie-- still no pics up on the house in your hood, really want to see them before taking up our and realtors time. will drive by today en route to TJs, would visit but crazy busy staging our condo!

thanks for everyone's help, still confused as ever, but getting better!
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