Village still growing nearly 30 years later Well-established part of Columbia has variety of home styles

Neighborhood profile: Long Reach

March 15, 1998|By Melinda Rice | Melinda Rice,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

A paint-splattered ladder is the focal point of the Chickanis home in the Village of Long Reach. Plastic sheeting and half-used cans of paint complete the temporary decor.

"The place needed a lot of work," said Tammy Chickanis, a registered nurse at Maryland General Hospital in Baltimore.

"We're getting around to it bit by bit," said her husband, Ed Chickanis, a self-employed telecommunications specialist.

Their house -- a two-story Colonial with five bedrooms and three bathrooms -- was built in the 1970s, when the Village of Long Reach was still largely on the drawing board and in the minds of developers.

"We got a great deal on the property," he said. They bought it in 1993 and moved in with their sons -- Thomas John, now 12, Christopher, 10, and Nicky, 8.

Tucked away on the fringes of busy Route 175 in Columbia, Long Reach is a quiet enclave that has drawn people like the Chickanis family for almost 30 years.

"It's just a nice, solid, middle-class area -- nothing fancy, nothing radical, just a lot of hard-working people raising their families," said John Calvetti, who has lived in Long Reach for 12 years.

He moved into the neighborhood from Baltimore so his sons -- David, now 19 and Adam, now 22 -- could grow up in an atmosphere similar to what John Calvetti and his wife, Muriel, had when they were growing up in Baltimore. "You knew your neighbors and you knew it was safe," said Muriel. "We wanted that for our kids, too."

There are no spindly trees with that "just-planted" look in this neighborhood.

It is a community of single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and apartments that welcomed its first residents in 1971.

Marie Selby first moved to the area with her husband in 1973. A divorce prompted them to sell their house, but Selby stayed on -- first in a townhouse because she liked the area, and now at Long Reach House condominiums, where she has lived for 14 years, because it is affordable.

"I can walk Brandon," she said, gesturing to a white French poodle, "and not be worried I'm going to get mugged. I know my neighbors."

Apartment buildings and condominiums such as Selby's cluster around a core of townhouses and single-family homes that draws a diverse mix of people -- retirees and families with young children, people who can afford a new home, and people on public assistance.

"Because it's a mature neighborhood, you get a whole variety of people," said Dot Morrell, an assistant broker with Century 21 H. T. Brown.

A variety of styles, reflecting changing tastes and changing times, exist in Long Reach. There's everything from the flat roofs and raw wood exteriors popular in the 1970s to ranchers and Colonials.

The neighborhood's last phase of single-family homes is building now.

"The fact that we're still building houses now tells you we're doing something right," said Kathryn Mann, assistant administrator for the Village of Long Reach.

Residents say a main attraction of the neighborhood is its proximity to shopping and major roads.

On Tamar Drive, which bisects the neighborhood, the Long Reach Village Center boasts a grocery store and a number of ancillary stores popular in suburban neighborhoods -- a dry cleaner, shoe repair shop, Chinese restaurant, and a bank.

Less than five minutes to the east on 175 is Columbia Crossing, a huge retail complex bursting with national chain retail stores and restaurants.

Interstate 95, which offers a 25-minute trip to downtown Baltimore, is about a 10-minute drive to the east and U.S. 29 is about five minutes to the west.

"You're close to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore if you want to go see a show or something, but it's still nice and quiet and safe," said Kenneth Graves, who bought a townhouse in Long Reach 11 years ago when he moved from New York City after his retirement.

His wife, Jessie, had a friend who lived in Long Reach and praised its safety, affordability and proximity to Baltimore and Washington.

Housing prices in the neighborhood range from $40,000 for some condominiums to about $89,000 to $135,000 for single-family homes.

"People tend to like the price and the convenience," said Morrell of Century 21.

Veronica and Bill Jacoby are thinking of buying a home -- their first -- in Long Reach.

"When we decided to buy, we asked around and people kept saying, 'Check out Long Reach,' " Veronica Jacoby said.

Like the Chickanis family, they want a home they can afford in a neighborhood that is close to Baltimore and good for raising a family. "So far," Bill said, "we like what we see."

Long Reach

Population: 15,000

Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 25 minutes

Public schools: Jeffers Hill Elementary, Phelps Luck Elementary, Waterloo Elementary, Mayfield Woods Middle, Wilde Lake Middle, Long Reach High, Oakland Mills High, Howard High

ZIP code: 21045

Average price of a single-family home: $116,058*

* Based on 23 sales in 1997 by the Metropolitan Regional Information System.

Pub Date: 3/15/98

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