LETTER: Should I Move to Country Club Park, Lutherville?

A city resident wants to know if the Lutherville neighborhood is a good place for a family with two young kids. Share your opinion in the comments section below.

I received a letter over the weekend, with the simple question:

Is Lutherville, specifically Country Club Park, a nice place live? 

The sender, who we'll call MarylandMama, said she was considering moving to the area from Patterson Park in the city. Read the letter in full, below. 

She was hoping that I could put her in touch with a few of my regular readers who live in the West Seminary Avenue and Greenspring Drive area. 

MarylandMama also mentioned that part of the area's appeal was access to the light rail, which I told her honestly in a reply was a point of contention throughout Lutherville-Timonium. 

I also mentioned in my response email that by comparison, Country Club Park is one of the more safe neighborhoods in the 21093 zip code, with added benefits of nearby parks, playgrounds and one amazing elementary school. 

I rounded out my email with mentions of the Lutherville Community Association, which I said specifically organizes community events, keeps neighbors informed, and helps protect against potentially harmful zoning. 

But I have only lived in Timonium for three years, where many of my readers have raised families here for decades.

So I turn to you. Should MarylandMama consider Country Club Park as a place to move her family? Help her make an informed decision by posting your opinion in the comments section below. 

Be sure to observe Patch's terms of use before writing. 

The following email was sent to me over the weekend: 

My apologies if you are bombarded by requests such as mine to follow, but do you know of anyone or a regular on the Lutherville-Timonium Patch who lives in the Country Club Park neighborhood--from W. Seminary up Greenspring Dr--who might want to speak to living there with two young kids? 

The proximity to the light rail station is very appealing as we currently have only one car, but after reading various Patch posts and comments to try and get a sense of the area, I now worry about crime--exactly one of the things we would like to move away from!  I also read the post about the Boy Scouts helping to transform a vacant lot, so it seems promising that it could be a tight knit community.  My husband and I are looking to relocate from SE Baltimore to the County and we are deciding between L-T and Catonsville.  We are not originally from MD (moved here once my husband finished his PhD for his job), so I value perspectives from natives and long time residents. 

If you ever want to chat with your local Patch editor, send an email to Nick DiMarco at nickd@patch.com. Also, don't forget to follow Lutherville-Timonium Patch on Facebook and Twitter and get the daily newsletter to stay on top of what's happening in your hometown. 

Michelle Bramucci February 19, 2013 at 12:41 AM
Hello MarylandMama, Without a doubt, Lutherville-Timonium has to be one of the best places to raise kids. I grew up in Lutherville and attended the public schools. My husband and I moved to a newly built luxury home in a family friendly neighborhood in White Marsh when we started our family. Then we moved (ran) back here (into 50's fixer upper) because this area is just hard to beat. Lutherville has a strong school system, low crime rate, active rec. council, good health care facilities, and an array of shopping and enternainment venues. The area sits on a grid that is easy to navigate and city limits are only 5 minutes down 83. Good luck!
Steve Kolbe February 19, 2013 at 01:16 PM
We moved from Parkville into the Hampton community in 2007. We work in Lutherville. Our kids go to private school in the city. Having acted on this important decision recently, and having been immersed life in central Baltimore County for a few years now, here is my honest assessment. Although there is some things we don't like, we would move here again. I also believe that all the communities around central Baltimore County are some of the best neighborhoods in the county to live in. - We love the convenience. It seems like we are only a few minutes drive away from anything we want to get to. - Our car has been broken into three times since we moved in. - The elementary schools in the area are great (ours is Hampton), but the reputation of the middle (Ridgely) and high schools (Loch Raven) drove us to put our kids into private school. - I see the light rail as a net-negative for the community. In particular, it has brought crime and has impacted property values. It's also more time consuming than driving, is dirty, and more expensive than gas. - Compared to the city (we were looking at moving into Roland Park), the overall cost of living is lower. - Our community, and many others in the area have strong, active community associations. It's good to know neighbors are looking out for one another. Well, I'm out of space on this post. Hope it helps!
Terry Brennan February 19, 2013 at 01:20 PM
Country Club Park is an ideal neighborhood to live. The home values are affordable for many budgets. The public schools are all Blue Ribbon Schools. You are a 5-10 minute drive to most everything you need. As a Realtor I have sold many homes in Country Club Park in the past 34 years, most of the home buyers still live there. They love their neighborhood. Terry Brennan Long and Foster Realtors
Jessica Truesdale February 19, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Marylandmama, I love the fact that you reached out to those who live in the community, what better way to get a real feel for a neighborhood. I live in Timonium, Yorkshire though. I moved there 3 years ago and I love it. I will say, my car has been broken into once, as have my neighbors. Everyone is so close, neighbors watch out for eachother. I am looking forward to raising my daughter here. We are close to everything, but Timonium still has that small town feel. I would recommend the area. As a realtor, I have a ton of clients looking at the area for the same reasons you are, and I can honestly endorse the area from personal experience. If you need assistance finding a home, please feel free to call me at 410-960-6130, I would love to help you or answer any questions you may have. Jessica Truesdale Timonium Resident Long and Foster Real Estate
Lutherville Gal February 19, 2013 at 01:58 PM
We live in Country Club Park and couldn't be happier. Our neighbors are absolutely wonderful (help shovel in winter and share garden veggies in summer type people). We feel very safe here; obviously nowhere is immune to crime but we've never had any problems here. I was raised in Baltimore County but spent much of my young adulthood in the city. We moved from city several years ago though still work there. Commute downtown is not bad and light rail is option. Depending on the vehicle one drives it could definitely save money on gas. I spend in one week what a monthly pass costs on gas. The location is very convenient. One of our favorite things on nice evenings is to take a walk. So many families do the same with kids, couples, and dogs along. Nice to be able to say hello and connect with people, the neighborhood is conducive to this with it's interior roads. We've met many families at the playground and stream on Morris Avenue and there are more parks within about a mile. Schools are very good and offer engaging opportunities to students (I disagree with commentary about two named above) as is rec council plus many other creative outlets for kids in area (karate, swimming, arts). We really enjoy the neighborhood and area. I say go for it.
Mary Yingling February 19, 2013 at 02:55 PM
I have lived in Country Club Park almost 38 years - that alone should say plenty!! Although I'm ready to downsize, I've had wonderful neighbors and I couldn't recommend a better neighborhood in which to live. GO FOR IT!!
M. Sullivan February 19, 2013 at 03:46 PM
So, of course, not one, but two realtors need to get their plug in. What vultures!
M. Sullivan February 19, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Wise move to get out of the scum hole that is Baltimore City. Lutherville and Timonium are still pretty nice areas to live. However, I would suggest staying as far away from the Light Rail Crime Train stations as possible. The train just acts as an easy conduit for the criminal element from the City to come visiting for various unsavory purposes.
Steve February 19, 2013 at 04:25 PM
There is nor correlation or causation between the Light rail and crime. There are plenty of studies on the subject I wouldn't worry about it. It actually is a plus because it makes it easy to go to the crowded events held in Baltimore City (ArtScape, Oriole Games, the Gran Prix, Ravens Games etc. etc.)
amark February 19, 2013 at 04:36 PM
From Patterson Park? Anywhere is safer than that.
amark February 19, 2013 at 04:37 PM
No of course not. There was just someone shot at the Ridgely stop in Timonium a couple weeks ago.
Steve Kolbe February 19, 2013 at 04:37 PM
Steve, I respectfully disagree and, as two easy examples, would point toward the shooting on January 25 at the Lutherville light rail station and escalating petty crime and theft at Hunt Valley Mall.
Steve February 19, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Anecdotal at best. The guy shot at the Light Rail station was targeted. They just happened to catch him there. The shooting could have happened anywhere. Patterson Park isn't bad. My wife and I go to Bistro RX at the corner of E. Baltimore and Linwood usually once a week or so. That area is actually pretty nice.
Ryan Plano February 19, 2013 at 06:39 PM
I suggest you conduct some research before you claim that the light rail has brought crime and impacted property values. In reality, neither is true - take it from someone whose family has lived here for over two decades, and quite close to the light rail line. I'm not sure why you say that taking the light rail is more expensive than gas - a monthly pass is far lower than filling up the average car. In addition, I don't know what "reputation" dissuaded you from sending your kids to Ridgely and Loch Raven (both of which are great schools), but I can tell MarylandMama that if she chooses to live in Country Club Park and send her children to public schools, she will be sending them to some of the best schools in the country. Lutherville Lab, Ridgely, and Towson are excellent. I regard the quality of schools in this area to be one of the best attributes of living here.
Steve Kolbe February 19, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Ryan, the $17 for the pass gets you about 150 miles in an average passenger vehicle, which is more than an average weekly commute. As for the crime, see my response to "Steve" below. Targeted or not, it's still a shooting with at least one miscreant lurking around the light rail. Theft is also an issue. A quick search of the news will yield more examples of crime which emanates from that light rail. As for the schools, which problem would you like me to point to... the overcrowding, the inhumane conditions a few years back because Smith didn't want to replace the windows at Ridgely? Anyways, maybe we'll just have to agree to disagree on all this...
M. Sullivan February 19, 2013 at 07:03 PM
No Steve, no correlation at all. i guess they just add police kiosks at Light rail stations for nothing. I guess the residents of Linthicum have been fighting to shut down their station because they have nothing better to do. I guess the dramatic increase in breakins, shoplifting, and assaults since Light Rail opened is just coincidence. Do you even live anywhere near Timonium LIght Rail stations, Steve? If so, why are you signed up on the Reading, PA Patch?
Steve February 19, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Purely anecdotal. Your racism is peeking out again Sully.
MarylandMama February 19, 2013 at 08:39 PM
MarylandMama here! To Michelle, both Steves, Ryan, Terry, Mary, amark, Lutherville Gal, Jessica, and anyone I missed—thank you for taking time to respond to my message written to Nick. As an outsider, I didn’t want to launch myself directly into the mix so thanks, Nick, for the introduction. M. Sullivan—I’ve read many of your comments on a variety of posts and appreciate that you are not a supporter of the light rail. It is important to be vigilant and it seems like there is a diversity of opinions just on this Patch alone as to what that vigilance looks like, be it carrying a concealed weapon or improving a vacant lot. A similar debate occurred in my hometown years ago when rapid transit extended and added a stop in town. The long time residents still curse that it has brought crime; younger families are so grateful for having a local stop so they can avoid paying high bridge tolls and driving traffic for an hour and a half each way. And per the vultures, I can both see right through and be grateful for a realtor’s agenda. ☺ For us, the light rail is a bonus. In terms of cost, when an employer offers monthly MTA passes at a discount, it is considerably cheaper than driving especially when a parking pass costs $100 per month on top of gas, insurance, car maintenance, etc. To grossly over simplify, there are trade-offs and costs no matter what you chose! Thank you for taking the time to respond to my questions!
M. Sullivan February 19, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Steve, exactly what part of my post was racist? I hate wasting my time responding to you, but I am curious.
M. Sullivan February 19, 2013 at 09:07 PM
MDMama, moving from Patterson Park to Lutherville will be like moving to Paradise, I'm sure. It all depends on your frame of reference. Many of us remember how life was around here before Light Rail was thrust upon us. Now our tax dollars go to support a system that brings crime to our neighborhoods. I you find it to be useful, good for you, and you're welcome for the cheap transport. Good Luck!
Concerned Mom February 19, 2013 at 10:34 PM
I moved from Highlandtown to Country Club Park and have been very happy for the past 10 years. My daughter went to Ridgely and Towson. My son attends Lutherville Lab and I also work there. Country Club Park is very family oriented- you often see people out walking their dogs or riding bikes. As far as the Community Association goes, many neighbors were not very happy about how they handled the College Manor issue. Some neighbors also consider the LCA to be bullies on some issues. The only down sides to living in Country Club Park is getting out onto Seminary Avenue can be very difficult at certain times of the day. However, we are very close to 695 and 83 north and south. As far as Lutherville Lab goes, the school is very old and doesn't have things like air conditioning (the classrooms have gotten up to 90+ degrees with the heat index) or a modern gym or cafeteria. The heating system is very outdated- some classrooms are too hot while others are too cold. The school is very overcrowded and has to use many trailers to fit the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. The playground could also use some new equipment. The classrooms are very small and could use some updates. The positive side is that it is a magnet school and specializes in the STEM program and has alot of technology. The teachers are very dedicated and the PTA is wonderful. The rec council is very good and we have several nice parks close by. I see the light rail as a positive thing for our neighborhood.
sailor February 20, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Please refrain from making uninformed posts. Next time do your research. Ridgely's test scores are consistently in the top 2 in the county. The windows have been replaced and there is air conditioning. Also it is under capacity. I hope your children are enjoying their privately funded education. Personally, I would rather put that money towards a college education.
Steve Kolbe February 20, 2013 at 07:06 PM
I have made an informed post. My kids would-be elementary school is over capacity by 200. http://www.bcps.org/schools/profile.aspx?OrgID=80 Beyond that, overcrowding is indeed a problem and it's getting worse. Our communities are resisting efforts on the part of the county to fix it. May's Chapel and the neighborhood's response is one recent example. You validated my concerns about Ridgely. At the time the windows were a problem, and the county was doing nothing about it despite calls from parents. I was (and am) not willing to join a school community where administrators would ever subject my kids to inhumane conditions. As for Loch Raven, I grew up in the area and just don't see my kids living out their teen years in that place. I never challenged test scores.
Steve February 21, 2013 at 09:14 PM
"Many of us remember how life was around here before Light Rail was thrust upon us. Now our tax dollars go to support a system that brings crime to our neighborhoods." That's just a suburban myth. An interesting study just came out about it. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/02/myth-commuting-criminal/4752/
M. Sullivan February 21, 2013 at 09:58 PM
I'm sure there are many who live near Light Rail stations that will disagree with this study.
Steve February 21, 2013 at 10:06 PM
That's just the "Fear the Brown Man" crowd.
Kongo February 22, 2013 at 12:35 AM
The blithering racist idiot Stanker Steve slithers again.
1ke February 22, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Welcome to the metropolis (for both good and for ill) that has supported you since your people moved out of the city. Or are you one of the Ridgelys?
amark February 26, 2013 at 02:22 AM
Steve are the police "racist" for saying this?http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/article/20130221/NEWS/130229569/metro-x2019-s-arrival-in-tysons-brings-new-set-of-challenges&template=fairfaxTimes
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