Patricia Court: A Little Island of a City
The 18-house cul-de-sac off old Metzerott Road became a little city surrounded by swatches of unincorporated property when it was incorporated in 1972.
If you drive down 193 toward Route 1, make a quick left, then a sharp right between Jiffy Lube and Rita's, down that steep little neck of old Metzerott Road that runs over two short, narrow, creek-hovering bridges straight through to University Boulevard, you'll pass it on your left.
Patricia Court — an 18-house cul-de-sac off old Metzerott Road — is part of the community local residents dubbed the country in the middle of the city. But it aptly became a little city in the country when it was incorporated into the City of College Park in 1972.
Residents of Patricia Court first petitioned for annexation into College Park in 1967. But homeowners on nearby old Metzerott Road and Travis Lane were strongly opposed to annexation — those swatches of property in the old Metzerott Road community are still unincorporated today.
Milly Rose and her husband moved to Patricia Court in November 1961. They were still living out of boxes by Thanksgiving when they carved the first turkey they served in their brand new home. Forty-nine years later, Rose is one of only three original homeowners still living on Patricia Court.
Of the 18 houses on Patricia Court, 13 of the owners actually live in the houses; the other five rent their homes to University of Maryland students. There is currently one house for sale.
"It's a quiet neighborhood," said Rose. "There are times when there are lots of cars. The students are either inside doing homework or on campus. There are just two houses with little children."
The old Metzerott Road community between Route 1 and University Boulevard is comprised of Patricia Court, Travis Lane and all the houses along old Metzerott Road, whose owners twice voted down petitions to have the entire old Metzerott community annexed.
Patricia Court resident Doris Sommers and her husband were the first to move into their home on Patricia Court in September 1961. Living in an unincorporated community back then meant basic services like trash removal were handled by independent contractors, who billed residents directly.
"The trash costs were getting so high," Sommers recalled. "We figured we might as well join the city and take advantage of some of the perks of being in the city."
According to former College Park Mayor Anna Owens, city taxes were cheaper than what residents in some unincorporated areas paid for trash removal back then, and city services were superior to what residents in that community were getting from the county.
But homeowners on Travis Lane — the second, smaller cul-de-sac development built off of old Metzerott in 1968 — were satisfied with the county's services.
"The city wanted to incorporate a good part of the area," recalled Sam Doyle, who moved into one of the newly-built houses on Travis Lane in 1968. "The city tried to force us into it and the majority of the people voted not to be incorporated. Some of us here seem to feel that this would be just another layer of government. If we really need something we have the county agencies to go to, and we can go to our council person. He's very accommodating. We're pretty content here. It's a small community and we don't require a lot."
Councilman Marcus Afzali said people who live on old Metzerott and Travis Lane were lucky this past winter that Patricia Court is in the city. "We plowed Metzerott to get to Patricia Court," said Afzali. "It's a matter of whether you want to pay taxes for the increased city services."
"I don't think people have anything against the city," Doyle added. "I just think financially we're better off. We pay less taxes. We're satisfied with the [county] services we get."