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Old 01-14-2009, 07:09 AM
 
237 posts, read 1,059,216 times
Reputation: 161

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I'm new to this board and have been gathering all sorts of information these past few days. We're planning to move down to the Orlando area from upstate NY. My family consist of 2 boys ages 5 & 8, my husband and myself. We're looking for a nice family area, just like many of the posts on this board.

Time and again, it seems the recommendation for families looking for good schools and safe neighborhoods suggest Lake Mary, Winter Springs and Oviedo. I'm looking at all those places but am also interested in a home in Sweetwater in Longwood.

Anyone know how this area is? Would it rank up there with Lake Mary/Heathrow area? I hear a lot of gripes about the area around Altamonte Mall. I understand that there's crime/traffic everywhere, but is the Sweetwater area out of the way? Too out of the way? Is that neighborhood friendly and tolerant? Sometimes neighborhoods like to be exclusive which can also mean they do not welcome minorities and people who are different. I would like to find a place that my family can feel comfortable.

I'm also wondering if anyone knows whether it would be better to be on the West side(West of I4) of lake Mary or the area around Timacuan. It seems Timacuan is closer to the center of town, but somewhere I read that the closer you get to Sanford, the less "desirable" and I get the impression that the crime in Sanford spills over to Lake Mary. Is this true? Sorry to sound ignorant. I have no clue... I'm asking these questions after reading these boards and am just trying to get a clearer picture before purchasing a home.

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:58 AM
 
4,167 posts, read 9,335,507 times
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Wow I wish I had your problem. Between the neighborhoods you have chosen it's like asking should I buy a beamer, a benz or a lexus? All these neighborhoods are great but there is some truth to what you've heard. For example, the west of I-4 side of Lake Mary is more isolated, because it backs to natural preserves, and therefore crime is less there than the East of I-4 Lake Mary which backs to Sanford and just more population in general. Although when they refer to the areas that see a spill over of crime effect I think it's further east than Timacuan. If that's your concern go with the safe bet and stick to Heathrow. Sweetwater is tucked away from the hustle and bustle most people are referring to in Altamonte. It's in an area commonly referred to as Wekiwa. Sweetwater, like Heathrow, backs to a nature preserve which is why you may have heard that's its "out of the way", but it is actually very convenient to most amenities and major roadways in the area. Both school districts are very good academically and athletics but they are rival high schools. Timacuan and Heathrow is the Lake Mary H.S. district and Sweatwater is the Lake Brantley H.S. district. Both are A schools. As far as diversity, there are not the most diverse neighborhoods but I have not heard problems with either one being discriminatory in any nature. I don't think acceptance will be a problem at either school district. Your child will not feel like the only minority at either school, both, although primarily upper middle class, also have many working class students from all backgrounds. Again, many wish to have your problem and I wouldn't worry too much, because with those options you'll probaly be happy with whatever decision you make.
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:37 PM
 
237 posts, read 1,059,216 times
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Thanks Crane's Rooster. I've looked at a lot of your posts. You seem to know the area very, very well. There are so many choices. I guess at some point we just have to pick one and hope it suits us. Thanks again.

Oh, I don't suppose you would know if staying away(buying a house further from the preserve) from the natural preserve would decrease my chances of running into snakes, would ya?? Or does it not make much difference? I don't mind snakes in the zoo or even in the "wild" but I'm not so keen on the ones that end up in your garage, attic, washing machine, etc ...you know, those unexpected places.
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Asheville, NC
12,626 posts, read 32,051,088 times
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Lake Mary High! No, seroiuosly all the areas mentioned are great. I like the location of Timacuan.
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:48 PM
 
4,167 posts, read 9,335,507 times
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Reptiles are generally everywhere in FL. If you see any body of water, whether it be a lake, river, pond or puddle, assume there's a gator in it. If you think a snake might be there...it just might. But living in a more rural area does increase your chances. That being said, expected the unexpected when it comes to animals in FL.
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:25 AM
 
237 posts, read 1,059,216 times
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beckycat, What are some of the things you like about the Timacuan area?

I'm leaning towards there, thinking my boys might be able to get around more on foot/bike as they get older. It's more developed and closer to "town" and really close to the Lake Mary Sports Complex. The only thing that deters me is the poximity to Sanford and also a smaller lot. Now I haven't visited the area yet. This is all just from reading and looking at a map. My husband likes a house off Markham Woods Rd on a 2 acre wooded lot. I love the privacy, but I'll probably run into snakes more often there. Plus I'll probably have to drive my kids everywhere until they get their driver's license, since I don't see many places they'll be able to walk to. Is this a correct assessment?
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:11 AM
 
Location: Orlando
8,176 posts, read 18,531,941 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cigarboo View Post
beckycat, What are some of the things you like about the Timacuan area?

I'm leaning towards there, thinking my boys might be able to get around more on foot/bike as they get older. It's more developed and closer to "town" and really close to the Lake Mary Sports Complex. The only thing that deters me is the poximity to Sanford and also a smaller lot. Now I haven't visited the area yet. This is all just from reading and looking at a map. My husband likes a house off Markham Woods Rd on a 2 acre wooded lot. I love the privacy, but I'll probably run into snakes more often there. Plus I'll probably have to drive my kids everywhere until they get their driver's license, since I don't see many places they'll be able to walk to. Is this a correct assessment?

I wouldn't worry too much about Sanford as a whole. It really does have some great areas. It's not all what you see when driving thru 17-92.
I'm a big fan are the Markham Woods area, it's close to excellent shopping and schools and still seems to be away from the city.
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Old 01-15-2009, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Orlando FL
1,065 posts, read 4,145,393 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crane's Rooster View Post
Wow I wish I had your problem. Between the neighborhoods you have chosen it's like asking should I buy a beamer, a benz or a lexus? All these neighborhoods are great but there is some truth to what you've heard. For example, the west of I-4 side of Lake Mary is more isolated, because it backs to natural preserves, and therefore crime is less there than the East of I-4 Lake Mary which backs to Sanford and just more population in general. Although when they refer to the areas that see a spill over of crime effect I think it's further east than Timacuan. If that's your concern go with the safe bet and stick to Heathrow. Sweetwater is tucked away from the hustle and bustle most people are referring to in Altamonte. It's in an area commonly referred to as Wekiwa. Sweetwater, like Heathrow, backs to a nature preserve which is why you may have heard that's its "out of the way", but it is actually very convenient to most amenities and major roadways in the area. Both school districts are very good academically and athletics but they are rival high schools. Timacuan and Heathrow is the Lake Mary H.S. district and Sweatwater is the Lake Brantley H.S. district. Both are A schools. As far as diversity, there are not the most diverse neighborhoods but I have not heard problems with either one being discriminatory in any nature. I don't think acceptance will be a problem at either school district. Your child will not feel like the only minority at either school, both, although primarily upper middle class, also have many working class students from all backgrounds. Again, many wish to have your problem and I wouldn't worry too much, because with those options you'll probaly be happy with whatever decision you make.

Great info as always from Crane's Rooster, couldn't have said it better myself. Just had to modify one comment in bold above. According to Seminole County public schools website, Heathrow and Timicuan are actually zoned for Seminole High. I know there is a big "school choice" program in Seminole County where you may be able to live in those neighborhoods but go to Lake Mary High, but I cannot comment on eligibility, check out Welcome to Seminole County Public Schools .
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Old 01-18-2009, 06:35 AM
 
11 posts, read 72,592 times
Reputation: 17
I work in all the areas you mentioned, i'm a landscaper, and IMO Sweetwater and areas along Markham Woods road are significantly more desireable than Timacuan or Heathrow. Heathrow is classes as a prestigious community but is just a number of small sub-divisions in one big gated community. I really wouldn't live there, and HOA/community fees are astronomical, so i'm led to believe.
I'd definitely stay West of I-4 but all are pretty nice areas really. It sounds like you have a good amount of funds available, so you will get a very nice house in a good area, just keep researching and i'd definitely suggest a trip down to see for yourself before committing.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Asheville, NC
12,626 posts, read 32,051,088 times
Reputation: 5420
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali's Grandma View Post
I wouldn't worry too much about Sanford as a whole. It really does have some great areas. It's not all what you see when driving thru 17-92.
I'm a big fan are the Markham Woods area, it's close to excellent shopping and schools and still seems to be away from the city.
Agreed! The reason I like the Timacuan area is because of it's close proximity to everything. Markham Woods is nice too. As far as snakes, I live in a woodsy area and only have seen a couple black snakes twice. They are harmless and don't bother you. Just ignore them.
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