There are so many things to consider when you’re searching for your dream home… and they’re all unique to you, your lifestyle, and your future plans! Are you a pet-owner? Do you have children, or are you planning children in the near future? Are you looking for a quaint neighborhood, or acreage? Easy access to stores and restaurants, or a quiet street a little out of town? Do you want a low maintenance condo, where everything on the outside is taken care of for you, or are you up for a little (or a lot) of yard work? Is an HOA a big “no” for you, or are you okay with a few restrictions?
As you go through and consider your needs, you start to get a clear picture of the type of neighborhood you may be happiest in, and you may be surprised to learn just how different each area can be. To help you in your search, I’ll be filling you in on many of the details of some of the well-known (and lesser-known) neighborhoods on the north end of Whidbey! Starting with my own! Lyle Ridge Circle…
Lyle Ridge is a planned gated community located a few miles outside the city limits of Oak Harbor, off of Scenic Heights, on beautiful Whidbey Island. It is centrally located between Oak Harbor and Coupeville, and a very short distance to Penn Cove – known for its famous, and super delicious, mussels and for watching beautiful orca whales.
It’s a wonderful little community (yes, I may be a little biased, but it really is!), with neighbors at all stages of life – Young families, families with older kids, empty-nesters, retired couples, and more. The neighborhood truly is a circle, with one gated entry, which greatly reduces the amount of traffic and solicitation. It’s a neighborhood where many parents feel comfortable letting their children play outside together, or ride bikes or scooters in the streets. The community comes together for fun events like a 4th of July Parade and fireworks show, community yard and garage sales, neighborhood barbecues, awesome Halloween nights and lots of other fun events! We have a long-time resident, right at the front of the neighborhood, who goes all-out with his holiday decorations, and lights up the neighborhood with his friendliness. Halloween is his favorite, and he even decorates the front gate, and moves giant spiders around the circle to keep all of our residents on our toes. Every morning, my kiddos get such a kick out of searching to see where they moved to overnight. Sometimes they’re in someone’s yard, climbing up a house, climbing out of a tree, or playing around the gate.
During quarantine, the neighborhood did a teddy bear hunt. Each house who wanted to participate put teddy bears in their windows, so children could go around and see if they could spy them all from the road. We also started a new tradition, by accident, when the 4th of July fireworks got canceled last year. I decided to collect money and put on a show for the neighbors to see, at whatever distance they felt safe from. Many watched from their driveways, decks, or upstairs windows. I really just wanted to fill in the missing fun, last year, but received a ton of requests to make it an annual thing!
There is a Home-Owners Association for this community. Membership in Lyle Ridge Homeowners Association is automatic upon close of escrow at time of purchase, and terminates upon close of escrow at time of sale. The HOA maintains common area landscaping, private streets, the front gates, and retention pond. Repairs to common areas, architectural review of landscaping and modifications to residences, enforcement of CC&Rs and rules, and collection of the annual assessments are handled by the HOA Board. Three homeowners are elected to serve 1-year terms on the HOA Board of Directors as volunteer representatives of the entire membership. Homeowner meetings and elections are held annually in September and are open to the general membership. At current, dues are $400 per year.
While HOAs can be a bit scary or a complete turn off to some clients, I happen to prefer them in a neighborhood setting. I like that we are held accountable to keep our homes looking nice. We are required to park our RVs, boats and trailers behind fences, keep our trash cans out of sight, keep our yards and culverts looking nice and free of weeds, and need to have approval for any color changes, structure additions, etc. In my 3 years as president, we’ve never turned a request down… So it’s not meant to be restrictive and mean. It’s really more to keep people from erecting eye sores, painting homes crazy colors, or other things people really don’t want to live next to anyway. In all reality, it keeps our home values up – the better the neighborhood looks, the more desirable it is to live here. It’s more about pride in ownership than it is to be restrictive, and I like that!
Out here, you can have dogs, cats, and other indoor household pets. We can’t, however, have any livestock (including chickens or other birds). So… If fresh eggs are your thing, you’ll still have to purchase them from locals who can have chickens. if it’s a deal breaker, there are many other neighborhoods who allow them. For me, personally, I’m okay with it… More animals means more work and, with my crazy schedule, I’m all about less work.
We’re currently in the zoning for Hillcrest Elementary school, in the Oak Harbor School District. Each level up from there only has one school option. So, if you do have kids, and they’re 5th grade or higher, where you live in Oak Harbor won’t “matter.” The bus stops right in front of our gate, so all of our bus riding children wait together. A few of our residents have had success enrolling their children in Coupeville School District. There isn’t transportation for them, but the commute is about as close as it is to Oak Harbor schools.
I know this will likely be one of the longer neighborhood blog posts I do, but I wanted to start with my own to give you an idea of many aspects to consider when selecting a neighborhood. I also want to use this as my introductory neighborhood post to give you an open invitation to ask me questions! Ask me specifics about this neighborhood, or any other neighborhood you may be considering. Give me your requests for my next neighborhood info blogs. Talk to me about what sounds attractive to you, or what may be a deal breaker. Tell me about YOUR neighborhood! I may know the basics of what they offer, but I want the insider info like what I just gave you! Help me learn more, so I can share more. I want these to be fun, informative, and beneficial to people searching for their perfect Whidbey home.