'Delightful place' packed with fun and happy folks

Neighborhood profile : Joppatowne

Joppatowne offers the good life on or off the water

February 20, 2000|By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest | Nancy Jones-Bonbrest,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

While just about everyone knows where Joppatowne is, not many people know the comfortable living that exists beyond its entrance from U.S. 40, just past the Baltimore County border in Harford County.

Not only is the neighborhood bordered by water with easy boat access to the Chesapeake Bay, but it also boasts more than 60 acres of parkland that include a boat-launching ramp, jogging and bike path, fishing piers, tot lots and lake. Man-made waterways or canals are located throughout the community.

Its just a delightful place to live. Especially in the summertime, the parks are really well kept, and everybody walks and jogs and bikes through them. It just makes it a great place to live, said Charles Allman, who moved to a waterfront apartment in Joppatowne as a temporary residence while he searched for his next house.

Now, 20 years later, he and his wife, Evelyn, are still there.

We liked it so much we decided to stay, said Allman, who belongs to the Joppatowne Golden Age Club. Its just a friendly, nice community. Fran Salbeck, a resident for 15 years, agrees.

Its a very stable, restful place, and I really enjoy it, said Salbeck. Everybody takes pride in their property and takes care of their yards. You see everyone out during the spring and summer, planting their gardens and flower boxes. The pride in ownership leads to people being more responsible and considerate of their neighbors.

The area, once called Gunpowder Town and later Joppa, was the original port of entry for Baltimore in Colonial days, receiving manufactured goods from all over the world. It was even the county seat up until 1768. However, the areas population began to decline as the harbor filled with sediment, making it difficult to navigate.

Now the area boasts more than 4,000 houses, a population of 11,000, four schools, churches, a marina, a library and a shopping center. Add to that an active Lions Club, a garden club, a golden age club and a recreation council and it makes for a lively community.

Theres a lot of activity in Joppatowne, said Salbeck. Joppatowne High School is right down the street -- you can hear the band playing for the different games. Its just kind of neat.

The majority of the houses in Joppatowne were built in the early 1960s. Developed by Balti- more builder J. Leon Panitz, the homes originally sold in the $9,000 to $15,000 range.

According to the Historical Society of Harford County, Panitz envisioned an innovative, total-community that was to serve every need of its residents with an emphasis on waterfront lifestyle. He thought the setting, 12 miles from Baltimore and bordered by the water, would make the perfect location for families heading out to the country.

The Rumsey Island section of Joppatowne features one of the only planned waterfront communities with the houses, roads and bulkheads all built within the last 35 years.

Its the first planned development of waterfront homes. So you dont have [old summer cottages] next to luxury homes. It was actually about 20 years ahead of its time, said Dee Jefferson, manager for Coldwell Banker Grempler Realtys Joppatowne office. At first, the waterfronts didnt sell because parents were afraid their kids would fall off the bulkheads.

Single-family homes in Joppatowne consist of three- and four-bedroom ranchers, Colonials and split levels selling for $110,000 to $165,000. Townhouses sell in the range of $80,000.

There are also condominiums, duplexes and apartments. Just about every style home can be found on or off the water.

You really have a very wide variety of housing to chose from in Joppatowne, said Jefferson. You have townhouses, individual homes, apartments, luxury apartments, and you have condominiums. And these are probably some of the best waterfront condos on the East Coast. They are really much bigger than the condos in Havre de Grace. They come with two bedrooms and two bathrooms and are a lot less expensive.

The waterfront condominiums, said Jefferson, sell in the price range of $120,000. Individual homes on the water in Joppatowne start in the high $200,000s.

As far as the community goes, it would be difficult to find a better one, said Jefferson who lived in Joppatowne 28 years.

Its one of the best-kept secrets around. Its a half-hour to everything -- to Towson, to downtown, to Havre de Grace. Its just real local, said Jefferson. Once you live in Joppatowne, you want to stay in Joppatowne. I know many people who lived in the individual homes and are now moving to the condominiums. Its just one of those communities you just dont want to leave.

In addition to the four neighborhood parks, there is a community pool in the center of town.

Debra Benedetta is one of those residents that grew up in Joppatowne and decided to stay. She and her husband, Michael, are raising two children in the community.

There are a lot of us that grew up here and decided to stay. I like it because the neighbors are friendly, and its convenient to shopping, to the doctors, to the churches; its all right there in town.

Joppatowne

ZIP CODE 21085

Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 35 minutes

Public schools: Joppatowne Elementary, Magnolia Elementary, Riverside Elementary, Magnolia Middle, Joppatowne High

Shopping: Joppatowne Plaza, White Marsh Mall

Homes on the market: 21*

Average listing price: $118,797*

Average sales price: $116,955*

Average days on market: 129*

Sales price as a percentage of listing price: 98.5%*

*Based on 16 sales in the last 12 months as recorded by the Metropolitan Regional Information System (www.homesdatabase.com)

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