Wood Acres Architectural Covenant Guidelines
About the Wood Acres Covenants
Starting in 1939, when the first lots were platted and the first houses were built, developer Albert Walker recorded in the land records at the County Court House in Rockville, Maryland, perpetual, restrictive covenants binding on each lot conveyed within the Wood Acres subdivision. The same printed set of covenants was used for each group of lots in Wood Acres, except that for lots platted in and after June of 1950, the Fourth and Eleventh articles were replaced with new ones covering different subjects, as a result of certain FHA and VA regulations following the Supreme Court's 1948 ruling on the unenforceability of racial covenants. Certain minor technical changes were made in several other articles at the same time. The actual covenants are reproduced on the following pages.
The Wood Acres Covenants contain many absolute prohibitions concerning use of the land; most of these should be obvious and are also prohibited by the local zoning ordinances. The covenants which are of greatest relevance today are thus the ones requiring written approval of the Covenants Committee of the Wood Acres Citizens Association for the erection of any improvements, fences, or walls or for the making of any changes in the exterior design of your home, as set forth particularly in the First, Second, and Eighth articles of covenants.
WRITTEN APPROVAL FROM THE COVENANTS COMMITTEE, ACTING FOR THE WOOD ACRES CITIZENS ASSOCIATION, INC., IS THUS NECESSARY BEFORE MAKING ANY ADDITIONS OR EXTERNAL ALTERATIONS, OR CONSTRUCTING FENCES OR WALLS. ALL APPLICATIONS REQUESTING SUCH APPROVAL SHOULD BE MAILED OR DELIVERED TO THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE ZONING AND ARCHITECTURAL COVENANTS COMMITTEE, AS LISTED HEREIN. Chairpersons of the Covenants Committee are listed, with address and phone, in the Wood Acres Directory and you may contact any Board member for further information about how to submit an Application.
There are various enforcement procedures available in case of violations of the covenants. An injunction may be obtained by the Association or an affected neighbor to halt construction and require removal of the portions already completed. Transfer of property may be delayed or prevented. An action for civil damages may be instituted. The association has traditionally received excellent cooperation from Wood Acres residents and, therefore, the community has had few occasions to take legal actions. Please remember that these covenants are designed to protect and enhance property values for all of the residents of Wood Acres, not just an individual home owner. Your cooperation and compliance with the covenants and guidelines is greatly appreciated and helps to foster a better sense of community and rapport with your neighbors.
Applications must be accompanied by detailed plans and specifications, as explained in the First Article of the covenants. Although the Committee attempts to act upon requests as promptly as is reasonably convenient, please submit Applications with plenty of lead time, forty days should be allowed (and perhaps longer for larger scaled additions and significant regarding of lots, etc.).
As a guide to residents who wish to make improvements on their lots, the Association has prepared Architectural Covenant Guidelines, which are published herewith immediately after the text of the covenants themselves (see Guidelines For Interpreting The Wood Acres Covenants, Sections I. through VII.). Careful reference should be made to them in the early consideration of any improvements. A copy of the Architectural Covenant Guidelines should be provided to the architect/design professional/builder preparing plans for any improvements. In addition, members of the Zoning and Architectural Covenants Committee, some of whom have considerable expertise in planning and architectural design, are pleased to meet with residents during the planning stage and advise them with respect to their contemplated improvements. It is strongly recommended that applicants considering major additions submit architectural plans and elevations along with exterior details prepared by their architect/design professional/builder clearly identifying the improvements during the early phase of design, prior to directing their architect/design professional/builder to proceed with the final construction documentation. This enables the suggestions and recommendations of the Architectural Covenants Committee to be easily incorporated into the design at an early phase of the project, which ultimately expedites the approval process and may save the applicant the expense of redesigning their home improvements.
Covenants After June 1950
RESTRICTIVE TERMS, COVENANTS, CONDITIONS, AND AGREEMENTS REFERRED TO IN THE WITHIN CONTRACT AND MADE A PART THEREOF:
FIRST. That said lot or lots shall be used exclusively for private dwelling-house purpose; that no improvements of any character shall be erected thereon, and none begin, nor any change made in the exterior design of such improvements after original construction has begun, unless and until the architect designing the same; the cost, type and size thereof; the materials to be used in the construction, the color scheme; the plans, specifications and details thereof, and the lot plan, showing the proposed location of the dwelling and driveways upon the lot, shall all have been approved in writing by Wood Acres Construction Corporation, or its successors, and copies of the said plans, specifications, and details, shall have been lodged permanently with said company.
SECOND. No outbuildings, except a private garage for the exclusive use of the owner, shall be erected, placed or suffered to remain upon said premises; nor shall such garage be erected, placed or suffered to remain upon said premises, unless and until the size, type, cost, materials of construction, color scheme therefore, the plans and specifications for such structure, and the location of said garage upon the lot shall have been approved in writing by the said Wood Acres Construction Corporation, or its successors; nor, unless the written consent of said company be first had and obtained, shall any such garage be erected, placed or suffered to remain upon said premises, nearer to the side lines of any adjoining lot than the side lines of the dwelling, except however, that where it would be impracticable to locate the garage upon said premises without violating the foregoing provisions, by reason of the dimensions of the lot, then said garage may be located thereon in such place as the Wood Acres Construction Corporation, or its successors, shall direct.
THIRD. No place of public entertainment, apartment house, flat, boarding house, nor building designed for the residence of more than one family, and no hotel, tavern, dance hall, or other resort, shall be erected, established, conducted, maintained or suffered to remain upon said premises.
FOURTH. As a condition to granting its written consent to or approval of any improvement, change or resubdivision for which such consent is required by any paragraph hereof, Wood Acres Construction Corporation may require the reimbursement to it of any expenses actually and reasonably incurred by it for architectural, engineering or other services requisite thereto.
FIFTH. It is hereby agreed and understood; that the rights herein reserved to Wood Acres Construction Corporation shall pass with equal force and effect to, and inure to the benefit of its successors as defined in paragraph ELEVENTH hereof; but in the event that such rights, having passed to successors, shall thereafter terminate in the hands of such successors, or, if such right shall not have been transmitted to successors, that in the event that the ownership and control of such rights shall pass from Wood Acres Construction Corporation, either by reason of the appointment of a receiver, assignment for the benefit of creditors, bankruptcy, or by sale under legal process of any kind, or otherwise, the provisions for consents by Wood Acres Construction Corporation or its successors herein provided for shall be deemed to be sufficiently obtained, if obtained from a majority of the owners of the lots which are subject to substantially similar restrictions as the property hereby made subject thereto, and shall adjoin or face such lots upon both sides of the street or streets, and within a distance of five (5) lots from the side lines thereof. The said Wood Acres Construction Corporation or its successors shall have the right to enforce any restriction herein contained by appropriate action in any Court of competent jurisdiction. The covenants, conditions and restrictions hereby imposed being for the benefit of all owners of lots in the Wood Acres subdivision, any owner or owners of lots in said subdivision which are subject to restrictions substantially similar to those imposed shall have concurrent rights to enforce the same by appropriate action in any Court of competent jurisdiction.
SIXTH. No nuisance, advertising sign, billboard, or other device shall be permitted, erected, placed, or suffered to remain upon said premises; nor shall the premises be used in anyway for any purpose which may endanger the health, or unreasonably disturb the quiet, of any owner of the adjoining or adjacent land.
SEVENTH. No heating apparatus in, or for, any building upon the premises hereby conveyed, shall be fired and operated with anything other than smoke free fuel, unless such apparatus be equipped, operated and maintained with adequate devices that eliminate smoke.
EIGHTH. No line fence, or wall, of any kind shall be erected, placed, or suffered to remain upon said premises, unless and until the written consent of the Wood Acres Construction Corporation, or its successors, be first had and obtained therefor.
NINTH. Only one dwelling house shall be erected, placed or suffered to remain upon the land hereby conveyed, unless the land shall be subdivided into smaller lots, but the land shall not be so subdivided unless and until the plat showing such proposed subdivision shall have been submitted to the Wood Acres Construction Corporation , or its successors, and the written consent of said company for such subdivision has been first obtained. The Wood Acres Construction Corporation, or its successors, shall be the sole judge of whether or not such subdivision shall be permitted, and if the subdivision of said land is made, the protective covenants herein contained, shall apply to each of the lots in which said land shall be subdivided.
TENTH. The Wood Acres Construction Corporation, or its successors, expressly reserves to itself, and its successors, the sole and exclusive right to establish grades and slopes on the land hereby conveyed and to fix the grade at which any dwelling shall hereafter be erected, or placed thereon, so that the same shall conform to a general plan.
ELEVENTH. The covenants, conditions and restrictions herein enumerated are a part of the general plan for the improvement of the Wood Acres subdivision, substantially similar covenants, conditions and restriction have been placed of record from time to time in respect of the sections of such subdivision heretofore developed, and it being contemplated that substantially similar covenants, conditions and restrictions will be placed upon sections of said subdivision to be hereafter developed. Wood Acres Construction Corporation is the assignee and successor of and to all rights reserved unto Westhaven Development Corporation in certain sections of such subdivision in respect to which covenants, conditions and restrictions have been heretofore recorded. At any time or times, Wood Acres Construction Corporation may assign the rights herein reserved to it unto any person, persons, or corporation by written instrument duly placed of record, and thereupon, such assignee or assignees shall be deemed to be the successors of Wood Acres Construction Corporation with respect to all rights reserved to it thereunder, including all provisions for consent and approval, the establishment of grades and of resubdivision, and the right to enforce the provisions hereof by legal action; and the successors from time to time holding such rights shall have like authority to assign and reassign the same and thereby to designate successors to such rights.
TWELFTH. The herein enumerated protective covenants, conditions, and restrictions, shall run with the land, until the first day of September, 1965, in any event; and continuously thereafter, unless and until any proposed change shall have been approved in writing by the owners of the legal title to all the land on both sides of the street within the block in which is located the property, the use of which is sought to be altered by said proposed changes.