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Old 01-04-2009, 07:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:20 AM
 
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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.
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:56 AM
 
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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!
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:48 AM
 
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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.
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Old 01-05-2009, 04:06 AM
 
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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.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!
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Old 01-05-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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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.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!
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Old 01-05-2009, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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Old 01-06-2009, 01:19 AM
 
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[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!
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:05 AM
 
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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?
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Old 01-06-2009, 05:44 PM
 
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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.
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Old 01-06-2009, 06:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=homewithtwinsmama;12924563]
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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).
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Old 01-06-2009, 07:02 PM
 
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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...
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Old 01-06-2009, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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)
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Old 01-06-2009, 10:34 PM
 
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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.
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:59 AM
 
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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.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=homewithtwinsmama;12933457]
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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?
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Old 01-07-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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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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Old 01-07-2009, 01:57 PM
 
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[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.
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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!
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Old 01-07-2009, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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[QUOTE=homewithtwinsmama;12935172]
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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....
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Old 01-07-2009, 06:44 PM
 
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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....
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:10 PM
 
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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)
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Old 01-07-2009, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:42 PM
 
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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.

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Old 01-08-2009, 02:55 AM
 
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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.
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Old 01-08-2009, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:15 PM
 
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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.

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