Insiders' Guide To

Maple Lawn

Your Neighborhood

November 18, 2007|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun reporter

These days, Maple Lawn is more than the turkey farm in southern Howard County owned by the Iager family for more than a century. The mixed-use planned community of homes, offices, businesses and stores is about 20 percent finished and is expected to be completed over the next decade or so.

The community of about 700 acres lies in Fulton, a rural area about midway between Baltimore and Washington.

The design, with residences close to the street and sidewalks everywhere, is geared toward fostering over-the-fence neighborliness and pedestrian traffic.

Houses typically sit on lots smaller than those in the Fulton countryside, with space going to community facilities in a trade-off.

"We share those things," said Marilyn Greene, who has a home-based interior design business and moved with her family from a similar community, Kentlands, in Montgomery County. Having a big house but small yard to tend and common space cared for by the community appealed to them.

Fewer than 300 houses are occupied. When the community is completed over 12 years or more, Maple Lawn is expected to have more than 1,300 condos, townhouses and single-family homes, and a population of several thousand.

A medical center is under construction, and 1.8 million square feet of commercial space is being built.

The two-building community center includes a reception hall, conference rooms and a formal garden. It also has a library, yoga room and workout facilities.

With the longtimers settled in for less than three years, people are still finding common interests. Among them so far are a Red Hat Society, a garden club and Bunco group.

Housing stock --The mix calls for single-family homes, townhouses and condos in varying sizes, styles and prices.

"It's very unique to our area. It looks like a little downtown, a mini-city," said Realtor Patty Smallwood of RE/MAX Advantage Realty in Maple Lawn.

A few residences have been rented, and those done through real estate agents are leased within 30 days on average. A homeowners association collects dues.

Kids and schools --This summer, the community held free outdoor movie screenings. "We just like the sense of community. We were at the pool every day this summer," said Stafanie Glenn, a nurse practitioner, parent of two and resident since July 2006.

The two community-center buildings, at the core of the common area, have been a site for a weekly tot playgroup. A large outdoor playground with colorful equipment is gated. Uphill from it is a soccer/ball field.

The three Howard County public schools that youngsters in Maple Lawn attend are Fulton Elementary, Lime Kiln Middle and Reservoir High. The elementary and middle schools tested at the 84th percentile and above in math and reading this year. The high school was at the middle or below in assessment tests of all high schools in the county, but above state averages.

Crime --Residents of Maple Lawn report very little crime, and they say they believe the community design, which has people walking and few cars parked on residential streets, contributes to that.

Shopping --The mix of office and retail at the Route 216 entrance to Maple Lawn offers little shopping. Big-box and major retailers can be found in nearby Columbia, Laurel and in Montgomery County.

Dining in --Plans are in the works for a supermarket in Maple Lawn. For now, residents head toward Columbia to the north and Burtonsville to the south for food and other convenience shopping.

Dining out --Three restaurants are open in the business section. An ice cream shop and coffee shop also are in the mix.

Nightlife --None inside the community. But residents can take advantage of movies, dinner theater and clubs within a short drive to either Baltimore or Washington.

Recreation --Maple Lawn residents have use of a huge swimming pool, kiddie pool and tennis and basketball courts. Nearby outdoor recreation includes a miniature golf and driving range, boating and fishing in the T. Howard Duckett Watershed, and the Patuxent Research Refuge, which has a visitors center, trails and observation areas.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

MAPLE LAWN BY THE NUMBERS

ZIP code

--20759 (for Fulton area)

Homes on the market

--23

Average sale price

--$543,333*

Average days on the market

--98 * Information based on sales during the past 12 months through September, compiled by Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

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