What Are the Covenants?
The Long Reach Village Covenants are one of the many pieces of paper you (or your landlord) received at the time of settlement on your property. We hope you have read and understood them. Copies of the Covenants and Guidelines are available at Stonehouse, in the Long Reach Village Center. Each of the other villages in Columbia has similar covenants, or contracts. They assure the residents of certain minimum standards for land use, architectural design and property maintenance throughout their village. They also provide for your membership in the Columbia Association, Inc. (CA), and the Long Reach Community Association, Inc. (LRCA), and establish the mechanism for the operation of these associations. These Covenants run with the land as part of your deed of ownership and cannot, as a practical matter, be changed. They are a contract between the Village Association, as represented by its elected Board of Directors (the Village Board) and the residents, and between each resident and every other resident of the Village. Thus, when dealing with the Covenants and the architectural control process you are dealing with your friends and neighbors in the Village of Long Reach. It is our intent and duty to help you in every way to obtain the fullest enjoyment of your property and common CA-owned property, consistent with your obligations to other residents.
What are the Long Reach Architectural Guidelines?
The architectural guidelines are based on the covenants of Long Reach, and help residents understand what types of exterior alterations and In-Home Businesses are most likely to be approved..
Why do I need approval to alter the exterior of my house and property?
The Village of Long Reach is a covenant protected community. These covenants require, among other things, that all permanent changes to a lot be approved by the Village Architecture Committee.
How do I get approval for a change I want to make to the exterior of my house?
You should submit an exterior alteration application to the village covenant advisor. Your application will be reviewed by the Resident Architecture Committee (RAC), a committee of volunteers who reside in Long Reach, and makes recommendations to the Architecture Committee (AC). The AC will decide whether to approve, approve with provisions, or disapprove an application. If the AC member agrees with the RAC’s decision, the AC member will sign the application, granting final approval. If the application has been approved, the resident may proceed with the project, assuming the resident has approvals from all applicable agencies.
Where do I submit my application?
Applications may be turned in at the village office at Stonehouse, or may be mailed to the Covenant Advisor at our office at 8775 Cloudleap Court, Columbia, MD 21045.
How long will it take for me to get approval of my application once it is submitted to the covenant advisor?
An application must be turned in by the deadline date for the meeting that the resident would like to have their review. Once your application is received, it is reviewed by the Covenant Advisor for completeness. If it is noted that required information is missing, the application will be returned to you by letter stating what is missing. When the application is deemed complete, it will be stamped “received” given a log number and placed on the agenda. Once an application is logged in, approval of an exterior alteration or In-Home Business application can take up to 60 days.
What happens if my application is disapproved?
If you, the applicant, want to appeal an unfavorable decision by the AC, your request must be submitted in writing within 10 days after you receive written notification of that action. The AC as a whole will then arrange to hear the appeal. Their decision is then legal and binding and can only be changed in court.
What if I don’t wait for approval?
Proceeding with an alteration or in-home business prior to obtaining written approval is prohibited by the covenants and is done at your own risk. Unless your alteration falls within the criteria under the guidelines for certain alterations not requiring an application, your property would be in violation of the covenants. Another resident or the RAC could make Long Reach aware of this violation. You could then face the cost of removing or modifying the alteration/in-home business to comply with the AC’s decision. A covenant violation could ultimately impair your ability to sell the property. In considering applications, the RAC will not be influenced for or against the application if work is commenced prior to approval. However, residents are strongly urged not to undertake construction or operation in advance. Prospective purchasers should check with the current owner or the village office to see if all alterations on a property have Long Reach approval.
What if I have a complaint?
Complaints, which remain anonymous, should be brought to the attention of the Covenant Advisor who will investigate to verify if a violation exists. The property owner will be notified and asked to correct the violation either by removal, by submission of an acceptable application, or by repair in the case of a maintenance problem. Most problems are resolved at this stage; however, if no action is taken to correct the violation, a formal notice is sent stating that legal remedies may be initiated. A letter stating that the property is in compliance will not be issued if a violation exists and this may affect property resale. Realtors may be notified of known covenant violations.
What is a Letter of Compliance?
A Letter of Compliance is issued only upon request (such as resale) and certifies that all alterations were approved by the Long Reach Community Association and comply with the covenants. It also certifies that at the time of inspection there were no maintenance violations. It is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure that the alteration is constructed within the property lines.
Do I have to have a Letter of Compliance from the village before I can sell my property?
It is recommended if you are selling property in Columbia to request a Letter of Compliance but it is not required. This letter provides written documentation from the Village of Long Reach that your property is free of covenant violations, and therefore compliant with the Long Reach covenants. If violations exist, a letter will be sent stating what needs to be done to bring the property into compliance. If violations cannot be corrected for any reason, however, simply disclose this information to a buyer, and the property may be sold in a non compliant condition. Please note however, all non-compliant, uncorrected violations will thereafter become the responsibility of the buyer when they purchase the property.