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Flower Hill has parks, pools and plenty to do nearby

The Gaithersburg, Md., community was one of the first Montgomery County communities to deliberately mix residences, office space and retail

Geese take flight in Flower Hill Park. The Flower Hill community in Gaithersburg, Md., is a mix of detached homes, apartments and townhouses that was built in the 1980s when the area largely consisted of farmland. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)
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A previous version of this article misquoted Glen Boshart, a Flower Hill resident. This version has been corrected.

When longtime residents describe the Flower Hill community in Gaithersburg, Md., they characterize it as tranquil. The community — a mix of detached homes, apartments and townhouses — was built in the 1980s when the area largely consisted of farmland. And although the neighborhood is bordered by two busy thoroughfares, Route 124 and Snouffer School Road, the development remains an oasis of undisturbed exurban charm.

Flower Hill has plenty of green space with two parks, Nike Missile Park — on top of a former missile base — and Flower Hill Park. The community is built around a neighborhood commons.

Flower Hill resident Sonya Barnette said that the parks are well-kept and ideal for sports. She said there are several tot lots and basketball courts throughout the neighborhood.

“Kids play soccer, basketball and cricket,” Barnette said. “One really nice thing is the circle that encompasses the common area is exactly a mile. People love to walk that. … People come from other developments [such as Montgomery Village and the adjacent Strawberry Knoll] just to walk through the neighborhood.”

The Flower Hill Swimming Pool complex has three pools: a wading pool, lap pool and 50-meter pool featuring 25 metered lap lanes, a children’s area and diving well. The community also sponsors a children’s swim team.

“If you’re a golfer, Flower Hill is wonderfully situated. There are four great golf courses all within a 15-minute drive,” said Glen Boshart, a Flower Hill resident since 2002.

Boshart said he loves the diversity of the community with its mix of young families, empty-nesters and retirees.

“There is a wide range … of people, one of the most diverse in the country,” he said. “One day I was riding my bike and witnessed a beautiful Hindu wedding reception at the community center next to the pool.”

When the developers, Howard “Dave” Griffin Jr. and John Pettit, broke ground in 1980, it was one of the first Montgomery County communities to deliberately mix residences, office space and retail, according to Dick Pettit, president of Pettit Companies (originally Pettit and Griffin Inc.).

“We designed it as a step-up for the first-time home buyer,” said Pettit, noting that the 2,025 residences are a mix of split level, split foyers, two-stories, apartments and townhouses with small yards. The master plan included a neighborhood elementary school, Flower Hill.

Residents pay annual homeowners fees to the Flower Hill Central Corporation and to one of 17 sub-association boards. The total fees vary, but, as an example, Flower Hill North II pays around $525 a year with $383 going to the FHCC. Courts of Flower Hill pays around $400 per year with $383 going to the FHCC. The community boards determine architectural control, enforce covenants and home maintenance, and advocate on local zoning and traffic issues. The HOA fees include pool membership.

The Flower Hill Shopping Center boasts a Giant Food, SunTrust Bank, Advance Auto Parts and for those who want a quick meal, Wingstop, Subway and Domino’s Pizza. Mi Peru specializes in pollo a la brassa and other Latin American cuisine while a popular Mexican-Salvadoran restaurant, Ay Jalisco, is on Snouffer School Road near Earhart Court.

Neighboring landmarks to the north include the Montgomery County Airpark and Hill’s Gymnastics where Silver Spring Olympian Dominique Dawes trained. But the community can lay claim to its own athletic celebrities, NFL pro football players Stefon and Trevon Diggs, who spent their teen years in Flower Hill while attending high school at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Olney.

Gentleman Jim’s, located in the Flower Hill shopping plaza, renown locally for a pizza with sweet tomato sauce, has become the local watering hole and get-together spot. The pub has moved several times since its origins in Twinbrook and was recently located at a larger location on nearby Earhart Court.

“G.J.’s is usually pretty crowded,” Barnette said. “They have bands outside and in the fall, put space heaters out. It tends to be an older crowd, 40 and up. The bar is usually crowded. The waitresses say they are doing much better business with the smaller layout.”

Behind Gentleman Jim’s, Pettit Companies is constructing a new 16,000-square-foot retail and restaurant center, North Pointe at Flower Hill.

“We don’t want to let any cats out of the bag while working with clients, but we’ve had a lot of great interest from national companies,” Jeanne Pettit, marketing director, said.

Living there: Flower Hill is bordered by Snouffer School Road to the north, Emory Grove Road to the south, Woodfield Road to the east and Strawberry Knoll Road to the west.

In the past year, the lowest sold price for a detached home was a three-bedroom, three-bathroom split-level for $434,000, according to Craig Rosenfeld at RE/MAX. The highest priced house sold was a seven-bedroom, five-bathroom split-level for $700,000. Condominiums sold for between $150,000 and $200,000. Townhouses sold for between $305,000 and $433,000.

Schools: Flower Hill Elementary, Shady Grove Middle and Magruder Senior High

Transit: The Red Line stops at the Shady Grove Metro (5.6 miles away). The MARC Commuter train stops at the main Gaithersburg Train Station on Summit Avenue (3.5 miles away) and two nearby commuter stops at Metropolitan Grove Road (5.4 miles away) and in the community of Washington Grove (four miles away). The community is served by two Ride On bus lines. Nearby bike trails include Muddy Branch Greenway in North Potomac and Black Hill Hiker/Biker Trail in Germantown. There are also biker/hiker trails in Green Farm Conservation Park. Both community parks are bicycle friendly. The main thoroughfares include Woodfield Road/Route 124 and Muncaster Mill Road/Snouffer School Road.

If you’d like your neighborhood featured in Where We Live, email kathy.orton@washpost.com.

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