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Old 03-28-2012, 10:13 PM
 
6 posts, read 13,534 times
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We are moving to Philly in June from Durham, NC from which we just moved to from DC in Jan.

We would LOVE the city and urban environment but doubt we could find all we are looking for in the city sadly.

We have two pre school age kids, I will be working in KofP at a consulting firm so will likely be going into center city half the time. My wife is looking to go back to school for either an MPH or a nursing degree or both- her background is clinical research, she may do school part time and look for full or part time work.

We would be looking to rent for a few months and hopefully buy in the fall.

Suggestions of what areas to look into would be greatly appreciated!

What we are looking for in a PA side neighborhood (single family home):
1- Urban feel: unique houses (no cookie cutter), not asubdivision, walkable, access to trails etc
2- Lots big enough (and not over shaded) to garden in (half acre would be great). We are big into organic gardening, space for some fruit trees would also be great, but garden is most impt.
3- Range would be 400-600k, closer to 400k would be really nice and require less sacrifice
4- Access to v. good public schools or close to public magnet or charter schools (do these exist in Philly area?).
5- We strongly prefer a house with at least a one car garage (we have 2 cars)
6- Prefer a progressive and diverse community
8- Less interested in access to malls, more interested in access to stuff like a rec center, farmers market, co-ops, unique businesses and public spaces etc
7- If regulations allow we would love to raise backyard hens for eggs (this is big in Durham)
8- Will be driving to work so easy access to public transportation is not a critical factor
9- the closer to Philly the better, in terms of commute, would generally like to stay within 30 mins of KofP and 45 mins from city center, the closer the better

Last edited by ZakDC; 03-28-2012 at 10:56 PM..
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Old 03-29-2012, 09:55 AM
 
1,723 posts, read 5,224,431 times
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Try Drexel Hill.

I doubt you can raise chickens there, though.

You will not find much progressive/diverse feel in Philly burbs. This is not Chapel Hill/Carrboro or Takoma Park. Philly burbs are bedroom communities for middle to upper class Philadelphians with a wife and kids.

I know I can raise chickens in my NJ suburb (Gloucester Township). It's safe, schools are decent, and the commute to Center City can't be beat (20 mins). Progressive/diverse? Not quite. Very white, about evenly split between Irish and Italian. Overwhelmingly Catholic (but not highly religious). You will find the same in many suburbs of this city.
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:51 AM
 
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Thanks Tarp for your reply- even if it wasnt what I was hoping to hear :-) Yeah Takoma Park or Carrboro, you hit the nail on the head w/ regards to what we are looking for. I guess if we can't have it all, we'd at least like a decent sized yard to garden in and a walkable area, not subdivision/cookie cutter type homes. We are OK and actually prefer a house with smaller sq footage especially if we can get the other features I just mentioned.

If this does not exist in the subrubs, how about in the city somewhere? Even up and coming neighborhoods (as long as their is some sort of access to decent schools, if not the regular public schools system than via magnet or charter schools).
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Old 03-29-2012, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Scranton, PA
48 posts, read 55,028 times
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Hershey?
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Old 03-29-2012, 11:37 AM
 
Location: North by Northwest
7,442 posts, read 10,136,673 times
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Try the Ardmore section of Lower Merion Township. While not strictly urban, it is a dense, inner-ring suburb. Very walkable, and an amazing array of shops and restaurants (including one hell of a farmer's market). A few nice parks as well. Lots of gorgeous older custom construction, so no need to worry about cookie cutters there. Also, Lower Merion boasts some of the best public schools in the state.

Ardmore is very conveniently situated to both Center City and King of Prussia (both are 20-30 minutes by car, depending on traffic), and while it's not, strictly speaking a "progressive" community, there are a very healthy amount of left-of-center people (ie, you'd hardly feel ostracized or alone). There is a decent among of diversity as well (very healthy African-American/Asian populations).

The only thing you probably won't be able to do is raise chickens.

Check out The Ardmore Initiative I have the feeling it's just what you're looking for.
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:18 PM
 
Location: East Mt Airy, Philadelphia
1,081 posts, read 1,104,834 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZakDC View Post
Thanks Tarp for your reply- even if it wasnt what I was hoping to hear :-) Yeah Takoma Park or Carrboro, you hit the nail on the head w/ regards to what we are looking for. I guess if we can't have it all, we'd at least like a decent sized yard to garden in and a walkable area, not subdivision/cookie cutter type homes. We are OK and actually prefer a house with smaller sq footage especially if we can get the other features I just mentioned.

If this does not exist in the subrubs, how about in the city somewhere? Even up and coming neighborhoods (as long as their is some sort of access to decent schools, if not the regular public schools system than via magnet or charter schools).
My wife and I moved from Chapel Hill to Philly (East Mt Airy) and couldn't be happier (no school-age children, though, so I can't speak to quality of the local elementary schools or if there are magnet schools). Here, West Mt Airy and to a lesser degree Chestnut Hill are diverse, progressive (co-ops and a near-Carrboro-like feel). Look & feel is sort of like a suburb within the city (visitors often, sometimes repeatedly ask "are we really in Philly?") Housing stock is gorgeous, incredibly varied, and reasonably priced - $400+K will get you a good-size house and, if you're lucky, a "reasonable" size yard). It's about 1/2 hr to KOP by car and you have two regional rail lines that will get you to Center City in about 25 minutes - this is a good alternative to driving to CC.

As for urban chickens: COOP (Chicken Owners Outside Philadelphia) http://philly.codecraftersinc.com/hu...lychickens.pdf UPDATE: Philadelphians For Egg Farming! « Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
8,702 posts, read 12,249,033 times
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I agree. The Northwest section of the city might give you what you are looking for. Try areas like Roxborough, West Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill. If you want to live outside of the city try places in Montgomery and Bucks County. The Newtown/Ivyland area in Bucks County has a lot of space and a good amount of areas where you can raise chickens and continue your normal life style. The only problem is Newtown and Ivyland can get pretty pricey. If you shop around though you can probably easily find a place for 400k-600k especially in today's real estate market. There are a lot of farms and huge plots of land and homes with several acres in Newtown. Newtown even has a nice borough with shopping and grocery stores as well. Newtown Burough has a very urban feel while the rest of the area feels very suburban. Depending where you live in Newtown you will either be in the Pennsbury School District or the Council Rock School district. Both are top notch school districts and some of the best in the Metro and in the U.S. Newtown is served by SEPTA too via the West Trenton regional rail line at the Woodbourne Station that borders Newtown and Langhorne (Middletown).

Hope this helped
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Old 03-29-2012, 01:45 PM
 
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I would also recommend Chestnut Hill and West Mt. Airy. You won't get the lot size and chicken coop you want, though. And you'll probably need to use private schools for the kids.
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:33 PM
 
Location: The City
22,372 posts, read 32,876,538 times
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I might look along the Main line towns Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, and Wayne

Chestnut Hill is another good recommnedation; though you would have to pay city wage tax, something to be considered
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
4,657 posts, read 7,751,067 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tarp View Post
Try Drexel Hill.

I doubt you can raise chickens there, though.

You will not find much progressive/diverse feel in Philly burbs. This is not Chapel Hill/Carrboro or Takoma Park. Philly burbs are bedroom communities for middle to upper class Philadelphians with a wife and kids.

I know I can raise chickens in my NJ suburb (Gloucester Township). It's safe, schools are decent, and the commute to Center City can't be beat (20 mins). Progressive/diverse? Not quite. Very white, about evenly split between Irish and Italian. Overwhelmingly Catholic (but not highly religious). You will find the same in many suburbs of this city.
I think you may be undercutting the options of some areas that tend to be more diverse/progressive. Sure, you'll find many suburbs that fall under the category you describe, but many suburban areas are becoming more diverse and progressive.

I think Ardmore, Wynnewood and Narberth are great options on the Main Line. Whitemarsh Township (Flourtown/Erdenheim/Lafeyette Hill communities included) would be a good fit, as well.

Northwest Philadelphia is probably your best option in the city. The University City area of Philadelphia also definitely fits what you describe (in the school catchement area), but the commute would be more challenging.

Good luck!

Last edited by Duderino; 03-29-2012 at 03:03 PM..
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