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Pros and Cons of Living in Sudbury, Massachusetts

Pros and Cons of Living in Sudbury, Massachusetts

Sudbury is a gorgeous town with lovely homes and an excellent school system. It is best suited for people who like a little more rural feel but want their entertainment, shopping and services nearby. I’ve lived in town for 20 years and based on my experiences the people are very friendly. The community protects open space, has wonderful active/passive recreation opportunities and feels like a world away from Boston, yet is close to the Mass Pike and has multiple train stations nearby.

 

Pros:
1. Easy access to Mass Pike, Rt 128 and Rt 495.
2. Most people don’t want to take time out of their day to drive to the next town to grocery shop or to grab some lunch …
Restaurants in town: Foodies will love the many, varied fare and price points, some deliver, plenty of parking.
Shopping in town: Many small boutique, specialty stores in town but no big box stores. Those are nearby in Natick, Framingham and Marlborough. The shopping mecca of the Natick Collection/Shopper’s World is less than 15 minutes away.
Grocery Stores in town: Sudbury Farms and Shaws, Whole Foods and Stop & Shop in Wayland, Trader Joe’s nearby in Framingham.
3. Excellent police force, extremely low crime rate.
4. Lots of local concerts, sporting events, theaters & amenities
5. Excellent library facility includes on-line reservations & downloads of e-books
6. Commuter rail stations nearby: For South Station closest is Framingham.
For North Station closest is Acton. For Green Line closest is Riverside in Newton. Express bus to Logan airport in Framingham.
7. Although the school system is highly ranked (Boston Magazine ranks it high and the schools have earned recognition multiple times in U.S. News & World Report for college readiness), it doesn’t come across as the pressure-cooker that Lexington and Brookline are. Many parents I have talked with say it delivers “as advertised”.
10. Lots of great community organizations – both civic and social
11. A medium-density population with large lot sizes… ¾ to 1 acre minimum zoning, smaller lots grandfathered, up to 5 acre zoning in historic wayside inn district
12. Schools belong to the Metco program, exposing the kids to diversity.
13. Gleaming new/renovated schools built when State assistance was high.
14. Low town debt load and high bond rating.
15. Home to many fitness centers, yoga studios, hair and nail salons, and larger organized indoor/outdoor sporting facilities.
16. Summer farmer’s markets, CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) with different levels of commitment, community gardens and the Sudbury Grange with it’s educational programs.
17. A wide choices of houses of worship nearby in almost any religion you practice
18. Oldest continuously-running Town Meeting
19. Robust senior center with many programs, activities and opportunities for active seniors.

Cons:
1. No commuter rail station/public transportation to speak of in town.
2. Housing tends toward larger size homes and prices are high.
3. There definitely is a lack of walk-ability here.
4. High taxes
5. No town curbside trash pickup. You can pay for pick up or use the transfer/recycling station.
6. There is a lack of socioeconomic diversity.
7. There are restrictions on livestock ownership.

Our mosquito situation is no better or worse than any town outside of Boston. In the interest of conservation we don’t always spray for mosquitoes, but when conditions are extreme in all of eastern Massachusetts we have sprayed for them. That being said, you don’t want to buy a house with a swamp or a pond in your back yard.

Backyard Chickens … in Sudbury?

Backyard Chickens … in Sudbury?

You’ve moved to the suburbs to have some land, lots of house, and great quality of life. You’ve started a vegetable garden and have enjoyed the puttering and the fresh produce. Now you’re thinking of getting a few chickens so that you can feed them an excellent diet and have fresh eggs of your own. You’re not alone, it seems to be that this hobby is growing exponentially in popularity over the last year. In Sudbury, you’ll have to know a few things before you buy the chicks.

 

FAQ  for those thinking of raising backyard chickens in Sudbury:

  1. Is an Annual Animal Permit Required? yes, a special permit is required, issued by the Zoning Board of Appeals, cost is $100 first year, $50 annual renewal
  2. Is a Building Permit for the Coop Required? not if the coop is less than 120 s.f. footprint
  3. Is there an Annual Board of Health Inspection Required? yes
  4. Are Roosters Permitted? no
  5. Are there Lot Size Limitations? no
  6. What are the Coop Setbacks from Property Lines? There is a 5′ min distance from lot lines.
  7. Are there Manure Pile Storage Limitations? This would be dictated by the conditions of the special permit
  8. Is there a specific section of the Zoning Bylaws that I can read regarding this? see Sudbury Zoning Bylaw Section 2313/6200
  9. Is there an Agricultural Commission or Committee that I can join? yes email: agricultural@sudbury.ma.us
  10. Is there an Agricultural Group that I can contact to get help/info/advice? yes, Sudbury Grange No. 121 Pomona No. 16 , Meetings: 1st & 3rd Wednesday 8 pm, Grange Hall 326 Concord Rd (beside Town Hall), Contact: Brenda Chamberlain 508-429-5458
  11. How do I contact the Board of Health? 978 443-2209 x1379 email: health@sudbury.ma.us
  12. How do I contact the Zoning Board of Appeals? 978-639-3387 email: pcd@sudbury.ma.us
  13. How do I contact the Building Inspector? (978) 443-2209, x1361  email: building@sudbury.ma.us)
What is the Difference Between a Raised Ranch and a Split Level Style Home?

What is the Difference Between a Raised Ranch and a Split Level Style Home?

When showing homes to first-time home buyers we often end up in Splits and Raised-Ranches as they tend to be smaller in square footage and in the lower price points for their town/marketplace.

Whichever house style we enter first, the buyers often ask me “what’s the difference between this one and the other one”. So I figured that there are lots of folks who are asking the same question and why not share my answer with you all.

 

Raised Ranch House Style

Raised Raraised ranch style homench style houses were built in the Boston area from the mid-40’s to the 70’s and are occasionally still built today as individual custom homes.

They are typically built in this area on lots with high water tables, lots with stone ledge very close to the surface, or lots on a hillside.

Imagine building a single story ranch style home with a full basement and instead of sticking it in the ground up to the top of the foundation,  you set it on a flat spot carved into the ground anywhere from one to four feet deep.This gives you two stories of living space mostly above grade with full-height windows in the basement to give you air flow and sunlight.

Because of the foundation location, you enter the front door directly at the same grade as the driveway on the basement level and have to go upstairs to the main living level (see sketch).raised ranch schematic

You will enter on the level with a family room, utility/mechanical room, laundry/bath, possibly a bedroom, and if there is one, the garage. There will be a full set of stairs to the side of the front door that takes you up to the main living level where you will find the kitchen, dining room, living room, bedrooms and one or two full baths or a bath and a half.

In many towns they are found along rural roads or what were rural roads at the time in clusters of several homes that were built at the same time.

As these homes are anywhere from forty to seventy years old, their heating/cooling systems, wiring, plumbing, windows, doors, and other systems have probably been replaced or updated. If they haven’t been, they are easy to do and a great way for first time buyers to generate some sweat-equity.

When available, they sell well due to their economical carrying costs, generally low prices, and great use of space. So if you’re looking for all those things, a raised ranch might just be your perfect home.

Split-Level House Style

split-level style houseSplit-Level houses are a variation on the raised ranch style and are also called Splits, Split-Foyer and Bi-Level houses. Splits are built with the foundation sunken deeper than Raised Ranches, usually four to six feet into the ground, and the driveway is excavated level with the bottom of the foundation. Unlike a raised ranch which has full-height windows, the lower level tends to have short windows.

In Splits, you always have to go up a half-flight or more via exterior stairs or a sloping walkway from the driveway level and enter the door to a landing or a small foyer.The doorway is often recessed and sometimes the main level of the house is cantilevered out over the basement level, creating a natural indentation and very clear way-finding to the front door.

Once inside you immediately have to make a decision to go up a half-flight of stairs or down a half-flight of stairs, hence the name split-level (see sketch).split-level house scematic

As with a Raised Ranch, upstairs you will find the kitchen, formal dining and living rooms and the bedrooms/baths. In many of these homes the owners have opened up the original walls between the kitchen and dining/living rooms giving them a wonderful flow and nicely supporting the behaviors of today’s lifestyles.

Also like the Raised Ranch, downstairs you will often find a family room, utility room, possibly some miscellaneous finished space, and the garage (which is usually located under the bedrooms).

Splits were designed to be inexpensive homes giving two stories of living space while minimizing foundation and roof costs.

While most of them have full-height basement levels, there are many that have basement levels that were shortened to cut building costs. So if you’re tall you might want to find one with forced hot water heating systems that don’t require big duct work.

In Metrowest developers built them mostly in large developments (by New England Standards) that have evolved into wonderful family neighborhoods of thirty to forty similar homes. Depending on the original price point, they can have a variety of finishes and architectural details on their fronts, such as faux stone, brick, awnings, and bay/bow windows. They will hardly ever have front porches, and are often fitted with screened-porches or raised decks off the back of the dining rooms with stairs down to grade.

Splits don’t tend to handle additions well, so many folks buy them as starter homes and then sell/move when they find they have outgrown them.  Because of this and the fact that so many of these homes were built, they are almost always available for sale in all local marketplaces.

Summary

Whether it’s a Split or a Raised Ranch they be a very practical layout, they sell well due to their economical carrying costs, they have generally lower asking prices, and they make great use of all available space. So if that’s what you’re looking for, one of these just might be your perfect home.

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