In my family, house-hunting is something of a tradition. From elementary school on, Saturdays meant piling into the car and driving out to some new subdivision in Olney to traipse through model houses. As a real estate agent, my mother had access to resale listings as well, meaning we didn't have to mess with open houses. This summer, after a decade of living contentedly in our house in Calverton, the tradition began again, now with my brother in tow.
This house is one of six being built at the end of Kermit Road in Montgomery Hills, behind the Seminary Place shopping center. Features include granite countertops, hardwood floors, and a lovely porch, not to mention a water tower barely twenty feet from the backyard fence. You'd think that might be a deal-breaker, but thanks to some very clever photography, the water tower is completely invisible in the online listing. Unscrupulous? Absolutely!
It's a truly attractive house, solidly built and well laid-out, not to mention in a fairly decent location. Schools, shopping and the Forest Glen metro are all more or less within walking distance. But the siting of these six houses, in the shadow of a hulking water tower and hard up against the back of a strip mall, is less than ideal. This project illustrates many of the challenges of infill development, namely what to do with inflexible site conditions. You can't move the water tower. The shopping center is likely decades away from being redeveloped. And the property is zoned for single-family homes. You have to make the three work together. I can't say that happened here, though I'm not sure if it's even possible.
Here's hoping that the family who buys this house has a sense of humor, and furthermore that the water tower is well-sealed.