How can we all help to make The Orchards more beautiful? We ask every Orchards resident to take this opportunity to look around your property and see what you can do to make this special neighborhood even more beautiful. Our residents take great pride in maintaining and improving the neighborhood. In a few instances, though, there is more work to be done. If you have trash, construction materials, or yard clutter on your property, please remove it. If your lawn or greenery have been poorly maintained, improve them. If your paint is deteriorating, consider a fresh coat. In general, look at your home and yard with the eyes of your neighbors - if you see anything about the exterior appearance of your property that might seem troubling or unsightly to your neighbors, please do what you can to remedy the situation.
How can the Architectural Committee help? If you have a specific concern about the appearance of something in the neighborhood, please bring it to a Committee member’s attention. The Architectural Committee members will contact residents about situations that require attention. If we all work together, we can keep this to a minimum. Self-policing of compliance with our Covenants and neighborhood standards works best for everyone. Where enforcement of the Covenants is required, however, the task falls to the Architectural Committee, as explained in more detail below.
Why is there an Architectural Committee? Residents of The Orchards and their properties are governed by Covenants. These Covenants are set forth in a Deed and Agreement dated October 22, 1936, pursuant to a subdivision and sale of The Orchards by Douglas H. Gordon. On March 7, 1961, an assignment of this Deed and Agreement was made to The Orchards Association, Inc. The assignment charged the Association’s Board of Directors with upholding and enforcing the Covenants. The Board delegates enforcement responsibility to its Architectural Committee. The Covenants generally are designed to maintain certain community standards for architecture and appearance and to promote the beauty and desirability of The Orchards neighborhood.
Where can we find the Covenants? Every Orchards homeowner should receive a copy of the Covenants from their real estate agent when the home is purchased. Whether a copy was received or not, the Covenants are recorded in the Land Records of Baltimore City and are binding on Orchards residents. If you need a copy, please contact a Committee member, or log into the private access area of this site.
Who is on the Architectural Committee? The Committee Chair is Bryan Koerber, 5700 Kenmore Rd. 410.435.2899, paint1868 [at] comcast [dot] net.
What requires Architectural Committee approval? It is impossible to fairly summarize the Covenants in a few sentences. As a rule of thumb, however, the Covenants grant the Association broad discretion over any modifications or additions to the exterior of the property. Common modifications or additions requiring approval include paint colors, fences, roof work, additions, sheds, playhouses, swing sets, satellite dishes or other structures. The Covenants also provide numerous setback and ‘free space’ restrictions that govern how close to property lines structures may be. Seek approval for any project that might impact the exterior appearance of your property BEFORE signing any contracts or performing any work.
What is the approval process? Submit an application, or telephone, email, or write the Committee Chair concerning your proposal. Plans requiring approval must be submitted in writing, with a sufficient description or sample of colors, materials and specifications to allow meaningful evaluation. A site inspection by a Committee member may be necessary. The length of time for approval varies, so please provide as much advance notice of a proposal as possible. A written record of projects, approved or rejected, is maintained by the Committee.
What other responsibilities does the Architectural Committee have? The Committee is charged with ensuring that all properties are maintained in good order and in a manner consistent with the character, traditions, and good reputation of the neighborhood. By way of example, this includes responsibility for addressing paint deterioration, poorly maintained lawns, shrubbery, trees, failing sheds, fences, trash, unsightly yard clutter, or any other condition that, in the judgment of the Committee, adversely impacts the aesthetic values of The Orchards or otherwise runs afoul of the Covenants.
What restrictions do we have on signs? The covenants prohibit all signs of any kind of properties with The Orchards. This absolute restriction has been amended by Resolution to allow certain 'For Sale' signs and small security system signs. In addition, the sign restriction has been amended by law in one respect: the Maryland Homeowners Association Act, MD Code Ann., Real Property, Section 11B-111.2(c), provides that homeowners, regardless of recorded covenants, may post on their property (but not in "common areas") "a candidate sign or a sign that advertises the support of defeat of any proposition" during the period "30 days before the primary election, general election, or vote on the proposition, and 7 days after the primary election, general election or vote on the proposition." Beyond these narrow exceptions, signs are not permitted, including signs for home improvement, painting, roofing, or repair companies.
The goal of the Architectural Committee is to facilitate and encourage the efforts of Orchards homeowners to improve their homes and the entire neighborhood in a manner faithful to the Covenants, so that The Orchards’ distinctive character may be preserved and enhanced. Together, let’s ensure that this tradition of “good neighbors” continues. Thank you for your cooperation.