Lily Parfitt was raised in a single-family house on several acres in Howard County, Md., and said she grew accustomed to wide-open spaces and large lot sizes.

So several years ago when Parfitt and her husband were considering neighborhoods to move to, she visited a community several miles from her childhood home but soured on it soon after arriving at an open house.

“My reaction wasn’t positive. We didn’t understand why people wanted to live so close to each other,” Parfitt said.

She decided, however, to push past her initial feelings and took a tour of the Maple Lawn neighborhood and discovered a “social community” that more than made up for its lack of spacious yards on multi-acre lots.

Parfitt said she wandered around the neighborhood and saw kids out playing in alleyways and took note of the community’s diverse housing stock and decided that it mattered more to be surrounded by friendly neighbors than by fields of grass.

“It didn’t matter not having a big yard so much as having people around us to enjoy. I lost the space but gained a real sense of community. If a neighbor is going to be out of town we have each other’s backs,” said Parfitt, who’s lived for two years in a 3,300-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse.


Walkable community: A planned community in Howard County built in 2005, Maple Lawn is situated on 604 acres and includes nearly 1,000 townhouses, condominiums and single-family houses, said Pam Wilcox, an agent with Long & Foster Real Estate. The development was one of the first major planned communities in Howard County.

The community, which is near Routes 29 and 32, sits at about the halfway point between Baltimore and the District. Residents have easy walking access to a number of retail options, including restaurants, a grocery store and a pharmacy, Wilcox said.

“Potential buyers are really hooked by the fact that everything you could imagine is right outside your front door in a little community setting,” Wilcox said.

Emily Higgins purchased the fifth house in the community in 2003 and said that the promise of not having to get in her car to shop for groceries or pick up dry cleaning offered a major enticement that ultimately lured her to Maple Lawn.

“We moved here based on the promise of what would come. When we bought our house, the surrounding area was still farmland,” said Higgins, who lives in a 3,200-square-foot, four-bedroom, five-bathroom brick-front Colonial.

Amy Sadacca, who works as a real estate agent, said she was visiting a model home in the community for a client back in 2006 but the home didn’t have the first-floor master suite the buyer requested.

Sadacca grabbed a brochure and headed back to her office in Columbia. She recounted the story to her then-colleagues who wanted to know what houses in Maple Lawn were selling for. She said she opened the pamphlet and saw home prices so low she thought, “Oh, I can live here.”

Sadacca, who was used to being on the business end of deals, found herself in the client’s seat.

“I love to walk and I like that I can walk to the grocery store or the swimming pool or the gym,” said Sadacca, who lives in a 2,600-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse.

Community activities: There are festivals and a popular farmers market that operates on Saturdays, and many residents prefer Maple Lawn’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display to the more popular ones in Columbia and the District, she said.

“Everybody’s so friendly here, and it’s just a cohesive neighborhood.”


Maple Lawn is a planned community in Howard County that was built in 2005. It is on 604 acres and includes nearly 1,000 townhouses, condominiums and single-family houses. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Living there: The neighborhood is bordered by Columbia Pike (Route 29) to the east, Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory to the north, Maple Lawn Farm to the west and Scaggsville Road (Route 216) to the south.

In the past 12 months, 24 properties have sold in Maple Lawn, ranging from a 2,860-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse for $585,000 to a six-bedroom, seven-bathroom Craftsman-style house for $1,394,435, said Wilcox, the real estate agent with Long & Foster Real Estate.

There are seven homes for sale in Maple Lawn, ranging from a 3,300-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom townhouse for $650,000 to a 3,515-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom Craftsman-style house for $899,990.

Schools: Fulton Elementary, Lime Kiln Middle and Reservoir High.

Transit: Maple Lawn is a short drive to nearby Park and Ride, and the community is served by a commuter bus that travels to the District.

Crime: There have been two assaults and reports of theft in Maple Lawn in the past six months, according to Howard County police.