As many local military families can attest, trying to find the perfect place to live can be daunting when you're moving into a new community.
Last week, a woman from Georgia wrote to Odenton-Severn Patch asking for advice on local neighborhoods. She was moving with her soon-to-be-husband to the area after he received a Permanent Change of Station order to Fort Meade. She was looking for a two-bedroom place for about $1,200 a month. (A tall order in this area, but not impossible.)
I decided to try and crowdsource her request to get feedback from the community, using our Facebook page as the platform.
The request prompted 50 comments from people living in various neighborhoods in west Anne Arundel County.
Many people suggested that the couple look at Piney Orchard, touting its safe neighborhoods, good schools and amenities, and many readers even pointed to specific townhouses or apartments for rent. But, they acknowledged higher prices and fees than some other nearby communities.
"Piney Orchard can definitely be pricey but you get what you pay for: nice neighbors, lots to do, great schools and above all else, it's super safe," Grace Merchinskli wrote.
There was some support for Chapelgate as a better value with duplexes or townhouses available for rent.
"We personally live in the Chapelgate community," Belinda Grabick wrote. "We have found that, for the most part, people are friendly. The elementary school is wonderful and is easy to walk to. We did not want base housing. We found a house to rent that easily accepted our dogs."
Michele Miller Colin touted the neighborhood of Maple Ridge.
We are an older community but the houses are well built and are between [$350,000 and $400,000]," she wrote. "A whole house for the price of a townhouse in Piney Orchard."
Other neighborhoods with fans included Four Seasons, Seven Oaks, the Provinces, and Lion's Gate, along with pockets of homes along Burns Crossing Road. There was a general consensus to avoid Pioneer City and Meade Village.
Of course, as many commenters pointed out, everyone's situation is different. A young couple with no children may have different needs and finances than a family of four. Proximity to the base may be more important to some than others. School quality may be more or less of a priority depending on if children are involved.
But in my view, the discussion underscored that there are many nice places to live around here—and, evidently, a host of homes available to rent. It's a discussion we'll be having with many families coming to the area as Fort Meade continues to add new jobs.
Do you have housing recommendations for military families relocating to the area?