Club Minutes: The Home Interest Society, 1931

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with most of the evils of city slum districts. Their presence is a blight upon the entire neighborhood in which they are situated and cause it to be shunned by discriminating people when seeking country homes.

I have, it is true, pictured a developement of the worst type, a purely speculative scheme, launched by irresponsible promoters who have no interest whatever in the community at alrge, their only aim being the resale of cheap acreage at city lot prices. Their verbal assurance that streets, sidewalks, sewers, water, gas and other improvements will be provided are worthless and the new lot owners eventually learn that only by the expenditure of prohibitive sums can their purchases be made available for home sites. Foreclosure sales and sales for unpaid taxes follow. Prices drop rapidly and tend to set up a low standard of values for all other property in the vicinity. No one is benefitted, everyone suffers more or less.

Is it possible to prevent an unwholesome developement of this kind? Being an unincorporated community we cannot impose building restrictions by ordinance. In fact, such restrictions are seldom effective because of the difficulty of enforcing them. In some closely knit communities the property owners enter into mutual covenants wheereby they contract each with the others not to sell their property to persons of an undesirable race or who are otherwise objectionable. Many such covenants have been entered into in the Bloomingdale section of Washington against colored invasion and while the courts have sustained the validity of such contracts, they frequently prove troublesome, difficult and expensive to enforce and are often the cause of neighborhood dissention. It is always easier to state a

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problem than to devise its solution and I must frankly admit that in the present case I can offer no specific preventative or sure cure remedy. However, I am going to assume that no property owner in this community would knowingly sell to a speculative promoter of the type I have described. The price offered may be most attractive but the prudent owner will look behind the price to the record and reputation of the prospective purchaser; certainly he should do this if easy terms of payment are demanded. Why can we not have a Community Council Committee on Real Estate comprised of three men experienced in financial transactions and in real estate conveyancing in particular, to whom property owners may go for advice when considering an offer from someone concerning whom they have no information. It would be the function of this committee to investigate the reputation of prospective buyers and in cases where they are found to be professional promoters to urge the property owner to proceed with the utmost caution. Such a committee would certainly have the cooperation of our bankers and tax assessors in safeguarding the best interests of the property owners and the community at large.

As a constructive step it might be helpful if owners desiring to sell their property would list it with this Community Council Committee thus enabling the committee to come in contact with prospective buyers and determine their standing at the very outset of negotiations for purchase. It is conceivable that in this way a desirable local buyer might be substituted for an undesirable foreign one.

Just as the future of a nation depends largely on the patriotism of its citizens so does the future of a local community depend upon the loyalty and mutual friendship

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of its residents. Those of us who love Sandy Spring Neighborhood will not knowingly do anything that will react disastrously upon our neighbors merely in order to gain some financial advantage.

We are more highly organized than most incorporated places. We meet together in many different groups. We come together for mutual improvement. We gather to study questions of Home Interest. We mingle as neighbors and members of clubs interested in farming, horticulture, gardening, literature, art, and conservation of wild life. I am told that we now have clubs that specialize in the more enlightened forms of card playing such as contract bridge. Certainly there appears to be no reason why community spirit should wane from lack of social intercourse, nor should our wives and daughters pine and waste away because of lonely afternoons and evenings.

Loneliness -----the bane of existence in many rural communities, is here unknown, except by deliberate choice. To him who loves solitude we extend the unrestricted privileges of our woodland trails and tangled forests.

And so to answer my own question, "What will Sandy Spring Neighborhood be like in 1950?"_____

Will it have been swallowed up by Washington or Baltimore? No, not by 1950, nor a hundred years hence. Even when those two great cities are joined together in one vast metropolis, Sandy Spring Neighborhood will retain its historic identity, its traditions and its ideals just as we find in New York City individualistic communities such as Murray Hill and Gramercy Park. With the passing years our farm lands will be transformed into landscaped settings for beautiful country homes. Our historic manor houses will be preserved and affectionately restored, ever

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growing in beauty and interest as time applies its softer tints and tones. Our lawns and gardens will be smaller but better kept and even more attractive than now.

The unsightly spots will be cleaned up and gradually the few remaining unpainted shacks and cabins will be replaced by cottages and bungalows possessing individuality and charm. These betterments will come naturally, in my opinion, provided we of this generation and our successors strive earnestly to maintain for Sandy Spring Neighborhood the good name and reputation with which those who have gone before us have endowed it. From time to time unworthy persons may come among us, but if we adhere to a community life of fitting standards, they will be merely transients. The worthy who come still remain, for to them this will be home.

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