August 3, 2017 at 10:17 AM
Tariq and Amy Shawer said they would prefer to buy a house from its original owners. Amy wanted a shorter commute. Both were intent on finding good public schools for their sons, ages 11 and 9.
When they bought their house in the Montgomery Square section of Potomac, Md., they got all three — plus, their sons can walk to school.
The family moved in this past March.
The Shawers had been living in Silver Spring for 14 years when they began looking with the help of a real estate agent. They knew the neighborhood because it is near the Cabin John Shopping Center on Seven Locks Road. They already had been regularly shopping there and found it was very "kid-oriented," said Tariq Shawer, 46, a software manager.
They saw some houses that had just been renovated before going on the market, but those didn't appeal to the Shawers. "We wanted a house that we could buy from the original owners with everything well-maintained," he said. "This house had every detail taken care of" — no leaks, no mold — based on a home inspection.
Others prefer to buy a house and renovate before moving in. That is precisely what David and Katrina Fisher did. They bought their house in January but didn't move until March. "We did a million projects," said David Fisher, 36. It would, he reasoned, be easier to complete the work before they moved into the house.
Yard sales, ice cream socials: Situated between Seven Locks Road and Falls Road, Montgomery Square straddles either side of Montrose Road. The neighborhood has 436 single-family houses, mostly built in the mid-to-late 1960s, as well as some built in the 1980s. When the neighborhood was first developed, Montrose Road wasn't yet built.
Cul-de-sacs dot the neighborhood, which has several houses of worship nearby.
Montgomery Square, like its neighbor, Regency Estates, is a family-oriented place where people know and help one another. The Montgomery Square Citizens' Association plans activities including an annual block party, a yard sale, a spring ice cream social and a holiday event.
"The block party is really a street party," said Bob Gross, the president of the association, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years. "The whole neighborhood is involved." Some 200 neighbors gathered for last fall's event.
In addition, the association advocates on behalf of the neighborhood. For example, when trees began to die, the association worked with Montgomery County on a tree-planting program. The county agreed to plant close to 200 flowering trees in the neighborhood, Gross said. He and his wife, Nancy Friedman, are lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department. They have twin daughters.
Two membership swim clubs — Regency Estates Swim Club and Montgomery Square Copenhaver Swim Club — serve the neighborhood.
"It's like living in the country," Gross said. "It has an urban feel and a country feel all at the same time." The area has access to Interstate 270 and the Capital Beltway, as well as nearby shopping and entertainment at the Cabin John Shopping Center, Park Potomac, Westfield Montgomery Mall, and Pike & Rose. "We try to foster a sense of community and a sense of belonging," Gross said.
Changes are proposed for the Cabin John Shopping Center. The proposal calls for adding 10,000 square feet to the 232,938-square-foot center, said Patrick Butler, acting regional supervisor of Area II at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
Two proposed buildings near the intersection of Seven Locks Road and Tuckerman Lane are awaiting approval. The proposal is expected to bring more traffic to the area, Butler said.
According to a memo from Lenhart Traffic Consulting, posted on the Montgomery County Planning website, the increase in square footage from the two buildings would "generate an increase of fewer than 50 peak hour person trips," which includes people in vehicles as well as pedestrian traffic. A public hearing is expected in the fall.
A new farmers market opened in June at the Cabin John Shopping Center. It is scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursdays through early fall.
Living there: Montgomery Square is roughly bounded by Aqueduct Road to the north, Seven Locks Road to the east, Devilwood Court and Devilwood Drive to the south, and Falls Road to the west.
According to Steve Schuck, an agent with Long and Foster Real Estate, seven houses sold in the past 12 months, based on Bright MLS data. They range from a 2,200-square-foot four-bedroom Colonial built in 1966 for $620,000 to a 2,216-square-foot four-bedroom, three-bath split-level built in 1985 for $724,000. There are two houses on the market — a four-bedroom, four-bath Colonial built in 1986 listed for $758,000 and a three-bedroom, three-bath rambler built in 1964 listed for $667,500.
Schools: Beverly Farms Elementary, Ritchie Park Elementary, Herbert Hoover Middle, Julius West Middle, Winston Churchill High, Richard Montgomery High.
Transit: The neighborhood, which for many residents is car-oriented, can be reached by the Grosvenor-Strathmore or White Flint Metro stops on the Red Line or the Montgomery County Ride On buses. The T2 Metro bus runs along Falls Road.
Crime: In the past year, according to the LexisNexis Community Crime Map, no crime was reported in the neighborhood.