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At Seven Oaks, Values Grow in Many Ways

By Tony Glaros
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 6, 2003; Page G01

The street names in the planned community of Seven Oaks in Odenton jump out at you as if you were working through a crossword puzzle that tested your knowledge of military terms: Conquest, Artillery, Regiment, Ammunition and Colonel, among others.

It is a constant reminder that 100 feet across Route 175 is Fort George G. Meade, where George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower attended tank school.


Next-door neighbors Dave Kandt, left, and Charles Moore have dramatically different commutes from their Seven Oaks homes in Odenton, Md. (Tony Glaros For The Washington Post)

SEVEN OAKS

BOUNDARIES: Fort Meade and Route 175 to the west; railroad tracks to the east; Route 174 (Reece Road) to the north; and Route 32 to the south.

SCHOOLS: Meade Heights, MacArthur Middle and Arundel High schools.

HOME SALES: 166 homes sold in Seven Oaks during the past 12 months, with an average sale price of $250,000, said Lanta Workman of Coldwell Banker's Odenton office.

WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE: Community Center, wetlands park and preserve and retail outlets on Route 175 and at Seven Oaks Shopping Center.

WITHIN 10-20 MINUTES BY CAR: Odenton Shopping Center, Arundel Mills Mall, Annapolis Mall, Laurel Mall and Columbia Mall.

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While these street names evoke images of war, others evoke a complementary sense of peace: Quiet Spring, Pine Cove and Blue Water.

Seven Oaks sits on 850 acres of former woods and farmland in western Anne Arundel County. Since the first home was sold in 1989, the development has offered condominiums, townhouses and single-family units in a wide range of prices, said Stephen Fleischman, vice president of Halle Cos., the community's Silver Spring-based developer. Builders include Ryan Homes, Richmond American Homes and Porten Homes Inc.

"Originally, [Seven Oaks] was approved for 4,200 units, but we'll probably end up with about 3,500 units," Fleischman said. Increased demand, he explained, has led to fewer multi-family units going up in favor of more townhouse and single-family units.

In addition, Halle owns about 130 acres of Odenton Town Center, a mixed-use development Fleischman said should begin taking shape within 18 months.

According to the book "Odenton, the Town a Railroad Built," by Catherine L. O'Malley, it is believed that generations before the first Europeans explored the area, Piscataway Indians lived there. Other tribes included the Patuxents, who came up the Patuxent River from Southern Maryland.

Odenton was named for Oden Bowie, a son of Prince George's County and a hero during the Mexican War. He served as governor from 1869 to 1872. Bowie was also president of the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Co. The town of Bowie is also named after him.

One of Bowie's dreams was to establish a direct train line from Baltimore to Washington. But the Civil War delayed plans. After the war, a track was laid from Baltimore to Pope's Creek in Charles County; a branch connected Bowie to the District.

Today, the railroad remains important, as thousands of Seven Oaks residents rely on it to get to and from jobs in Washington and Baltimore via MARC's Penn line.

"If you don't get to the station by 7 a.m., there's no parking," said Stephanie Gorman, speaking above the roar of another jet preparing to land at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, 10 minutes away in Linthicum.

Gorman said she does not mind the extra effort involved in getting to her federal job in Arlington, considering what she has to look forward to when she comes home.

"I love my townhouse," said Gorman, who paid $145,000 for the property in 1991. Today, it would likely bring more than $220,000. "It floored me, the amenities it has. There's crown molding, a skylight in my master bath, Jacuzzi tub, fireplace and walkout."

Charles Moore is another Seven Oaks resident who rides the rails. It takes him about 35 minutes to get to his job at the Treasury in Washington, where he is an investigator. "I transfer at New Carrollton, get off and get on the Metro," he said. "It's the only game in town." Moore, who moved to the neighborhood in 1993, said he enjoys his single-family house at the edge of a cul-de-sac. "It's away from the main traffic."


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