Len Lenoci said he worked hard to convince himself that he’d made the right decision back in 1987 when the father of three put an offer on a “too small house” for his growing family.
But an unexpected turn onto Kemp Mill Road in Montgomery County, he said, gave him second thoughts.
There, among the most “beautiful and fully developed trees” he’d ever seen was the house he’d been unsuccessfully searching for. And at nearly 3,000 square feet, the place was spacious enough for his wife and three children, who at the time ranged in ages from 2 to 13.
“We were only under contract with the smaller house for a day, but after seeing the bigger one we just couldn’t do it. I called our agent and we got out of that contract,” said Lenoci, who for the past 31 years has called his five-bedroom, four-bathroom Colonial in the Kemp Mill section of Montgomery County home.
“The added bonus is that our street is a snow emergency route so we get plowed out first,” he said with a chuckle.
Kid-friendly: Nestled in Silver Spring between three public parks, with quick access to public transportation and a number of shopping options, Kemp Mill is the kind of community that sells itself, said Barbara Ciment, an agent with Long & Foster who’s sold real estate in the community for more than 30 years and is also a resident.
“This community is very unusual in that the houses don’t turn over often. We have a lot of long-time residents who just love it here and don’t want to leave,” Ciment said.
In the early 1980s, Arlene Groner was raising two young children, ages 4 and 1, and looking to move out of her house at the time in downtown Silver Spring. The place didn’t have a dedicated family room, which meant that Groner’s toddlers spent most of their time out of sight in her basement, which was arranged as a playroom.
“It was a nightmare and I couldn’t wait to move to a house where the kids could be on the same floor while I cooked in the kitchen,” Groner said. But with interest rates solidly in the double digits, the prospect of her moving seemed too far off.
Then in 1983, she said, interest rates lowered to around 12 percent, “which sounded like a bargain.”
Groner said she immediately found a five-bedroom, four-bathroom, split-level Colonial in Kemp Mill in 1984 and has “loved” living there ever since.
“The neighborhood is very kid friendly,” Groner said. “My kids were able to easily walk to their friends’ houses because Kemp Mill doesn’t have a lot of major cross streets. That gave them a lot of freedom.”
Chris Farrell said he spends as much time as he can soaking up the sunlight that spills through the bay window and two skylights in the kitchen of his 2,200-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom split-level in Kemp Mill.
“The physicality of the property is what ultimately attracted me,” Farrell said.
“We were looking for a large property and we found that here. When I moved to Kemp Mill in the late 1980s my daughter was 1. Now we have a number of [neighborhood] kids who’ve grown up and have bought properties from their parents. It just adds to the familiarity of the neighborhood.”
Living there: Located in Silver Spring and just east of Wheaton, Kemp Mill is roughly bordered by Arcola Avenue, Hermleigh Road, the Northwest Trail and the Northwood Chesapeake Bay Trail.
In the past 12 months, 46 properties have sold in Kemp Mill, ranging from a 1,658-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom split-level for $340,000 to a 2,588-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom Colonial for $765,000, said Ciment, the real estate agent with Long & Foster.
There are nine homes for sale in Kemp Mill, ranging from a 1, 764-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom split-level for $449,950 to a 3,009-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom Colonial for $675,000.
Schools: Kemp Mill Elementary, Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle and Northwood High.
Transit: The No. 9 bus route services Kemp Mill. The neighborhood is about two miles to the Wheaton Station on Metro’s Red Line and about 2.4 miles to the Glenmont Station on Metro’s Red Line.
Crime: In the past six months, there have been four incidents of theft and eight burglaries reported in the service area that covers Kemp Mill, according to Montgomery County police.