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General Landscape Policy

Homes Association of Cedar Hills

Board Policy

General Landscaping

Goals:

The Association wishes to:

  • Enforce the Restriction (Article III (g)(2) which states that yards shall be attractively landscaped and maintained in a neat and orderly manner, free of weeds and debris.
  • Remind homeowners of their responsibilities to maintain jurisdictional (county) rights-of-way and easements on and adjacent to their property.
  • Encourage homeowners to landscape their property as they wish, while balancing their desire for personal diversity with the aesthetic of fitting in with a community.

 Policy:

Community “norms” for landscaping allow for great variety in approaches. Basic Board policy attempts to be simple and to the point:

  • A majority of the yard is to be “green” (something that grows – grass, bushes, flowers, trees, etc. – tree canopy coverage counts). Drought-tolerant plantings and thoughtful use of hardscape are permitted, although hardscape should not be the focus of the landscape.
  • Lawns should be kept mowed and trimmed/edged. Watering is not required in the summer – lawns can go dormant, but still need to be maintained.
  • Weeds should be kept under control.
  • Access to the home’s front door should be “welcoming” and not obscured by vegetation or other barriers.

 Some areas of the yard have specific considerations:

The County right-of-way:

The homeowner is responsible for maintenance of the County right-of-way, including:

  • Sidewalk maintenance, including repairing trip hazards (e.g. raised or broken panels) and removing slip hazards (e.g. moss).
  • Sidewalks free of obstructions (e.g. overgrown bushes, overhanging branches, parked cars).
  • Street tree replacement from an approved list.
  • The parking/street strip (between the curb and sidewalk) is considered part of your front yard so it should be part of “the look” of your house. See “majority green” above (rocks or bark are accents, not main features).

The front yard:

This is what is seen from the street, when looking at the house (corner houses are deemed to have two frontages (the part of the property fronting onto a street), one being the front postal address the other being the side-yard.). Having many homeowners in the Association means a diverse definition of “attractively landscaped”, but yard maintenance (mowing, weeding, trimming, etc.) applies in all cases. Some aspects of front yard landscaping require permits – see the Permits section below.

Trees that have been cut down should not have remaining visible stumps: they need to be ground or cut flush with the ground.

The side yard:

Landscaping in front of the fence is classed the same as the front yard, behind the fence is the back yard. If no fence screens the view, what you can see from the street should be under front yard rules.

County/Association easement rights apply. An easement of five feet from the property line needs to be kept clear of:

  • Structures such as sheds
  • Equipment such as HVAC units (including screening if not behind the fence)
  • Poured concrete driveways, walkways, other slabs – some exceptions are permittable with the caveat that removal can be required, with notice from the Board.

The back yard:

County/Association easement rights apply. An easement of five feet from the rear property line needs to be kept clear of structures and equipment (see side yard list above).

County setback rules apply to structures (sheds, etc.). Size of structure determines setback from the rear property line (typically five feet on small structures, 15 feet on larger ones).

Landscaping the back yard generally doesn’t affect the neighborhood, so vegetable gardens and outdoor living spaces belong here. It is generally considered private space except where it affects the direct neighbors:

  • It cannot be used to store items prohibited by the CC&Rs.
  • Adding poured concrete or pavers (patios, walkways, etc. as these could affect drainage and cause water flow into neighbors’ properties) and permanent structures (sheds, gazebos, etc.) require an Association permit.
  • “Weed free” and “neat and attractive” apply. Directly affected neighbors have standing to complain to the Association about weeds encroaching on their property.

Permits:

Association permits are not required for most aspects of landscaping (e.g. planting a new tree, adding flowers, etc.).  Items that do require permits involve significant changes to the appearance of the property – see the related individual policies for details:

  • Sidewalk replacement (County permit/inspection also required)
  • Street trees removal/replacement
  • “Eco-Lawns”
  • Front yard garden boxes for growing vegetables
  • Major overhaul or replacement of 50% or more of the front yard (includes the parking/street strip between the curb and sidewalk)
  • New structures such as sheds, gazebos, etc.
  • HVAC units
  • Adding areas of poured concrete or pavers (patios, walkways, retaining walls, etc.)

Adopted by Board of Directors, Mark Swan President
Homes Association of Cedar Hills
April 11, 2017

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