Covenants and Architectural Guidelines FAQs
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+ Q. What are the Covenants?
Covenants are legal agreements that you made when you purchased your house either from the developer or through a realtor. In general, the covenants restrict the use of your property for residential use with occupant age restrictions, your obligations to the community, your financial obligations to the HOA, your voting privileges, and your expectations from the community and HOA.
+ Q. Why do we have Covenants?
We have covenants to protect the design integrity of the community and preserve the value of your property.
+ Q. Who enforces the covenants?
After the developer transitioned the community to the HOA, the board is responsible for enforcing the Covenants. The Covenants committee was established by the Covenants and its roles and responsibilities are defined in the Terms of Reference. The Covenants Committee makes most of the decisions but the board relies on management to enforce HOA fee payments and the provisions of the Covenants with legal help when necessary.
+ Q. Where do I get the Covenants?
The covenants, officially known as the “Declaration of Covenants Conditions and Restrictions” with Amendments were legally required to be passed to you when you purchased your house. This document and amendments are available electronically on the Governance web page.
+ Q. Can the Covenants be modified?
The governing documents including the Covenants are currently being reviewed with recommended revisions to make them cleaner and more relevant after the community was transitioned to the HOA from the developer. No major changes to residents are anticipated as part of this review process. The community will get an opportunity to review the changes and vote on their acceptance. A 75% positive vote is required for approval.
+ Q. Do I need a copy of the Covenants to sell my house?
Yes, but it must be a legal copy that can be obtained from your real estate agent for a fee.
+ Q. Can I make modifications to my house?
In general, you can make any interior changes to your house without HOA approval. Any exterior change must be submitted to the Covenants Committee for approval before making the requested change.
+ Q. What document defines the changes that I can make to my house?
The Architectural Guidelines provide an overall framework to allow the community to develop and progress in an orderly, cohesive and attractive manner, implementing planning concepts and philosophy which are required by regulatory agencies and desirable to Residents. The Architectural Guidelines include minimum standards for the design, size, location, style, structure, materials, color, and mode of architecture, mode of landscaping and relevant criteria for the construction or addition of improvements of any nature. They also establish a process for judicious review of proposed new developments and changes within the community. The Architectural Guidelines contain typical improvements that could be undertaken by Homeowners. These may range from a major addition/alteration such as a deck or patio to a relatively minor project such as a storm door. The Architectural Guidlines are being revised in 2018 and will be posted when available.
+ Q. How do I get approval for modifications to my house?
Appendix B of the Architectural Guidelines document tells you what documentation and signatures are needed to get approval for an exterior modification. The exterior modification form can be downloaded from the Management Community Documents web page.
+ Q. How long does the approval process take?
All applications must be received a minimum of one week prior to the Covenants Committee meeting on the first Tuesday of each month for approval vote at that meeting.
+ Q. Can I add solar panels to my house?
Yes, over 10% of the homes in Symphony Village have added solar systems. You must complete the Solar Panel Installation Application form and submit it to the Covenants Committee for approval. A building permit from the Town of Centreville is required.
+ Q. Can I add a screened porch to my house?
Screened porches and sunrooms are now allowed by the Architectural Guidelines (appendix G). Application for approval is the same as for other external modifications.. A building permit from the Town of Centreville is required.
+ Q. Can I regrade my yard for better drainage?
The Symphony Village design is based upon a grading and drainage plan developed by a licensed engineer and approved by the Town of Centreville as part of storm water management. The board has therefore declared that residents can not regrade any portion of their lawn without submitting a thorough water flow analysis by a licensed engineer to the Covenants Committee. This includes any redirection of water run-off including installing a French drain.