The Carderock Springs Citizens’ Association has put the covenants online!

The 405 houses in the Carderock Springs development are covered by covenants registered in the files of Montgomery County: The covenants were issued over a period of time as the Bennett Construction Company built in specific areas. The 360 houses in North Carderock are covered by a series of covenants with dates ranging from 1962 to 1966. A single set of covenants applies to the 45 houses in South Carderock. The terms of the all covenants are generally the same. Provisions regarding fences changed in the years 1964 and 1965. There are other smaller differences and householders should consult the specific set of covenants that apply to their property. However, the following should be helpful in developing a sense of awareness of the rules that govern ownership in Carderock Springs.

Building Site shall mean any lot, or portion thereof, or any two or more contiguous lots, or a parcel of land of record and in a single ownership and upon which a dwelling may be erected in conformance with the requirements of these covenants. Corporations shall mean Bennett Construction Company, Inc. and Flint Hill Construction Company. Professional Office shall mean rooms used for office purposes but not by more ,than two members of any recognized profession, including doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects, but not including medical or dental clinics. Joint Driveway shall mean the common use portion of driveways serving certain lots, but not any connecting driveway serving a single residence.

The real property which is. and shall be, held and shall be conveyed, transferred and sold subject to the conditions, restrictions, easements, liens and charges set forth in the various clauses and subdivisions of this Declaration is located in the County of Montgomery, State of Maryland, and is more particularly decribed as follows, to wit: [Here the specific lot and block covered by the specific issue of the covenants is listed.]

Before considering the guidelines for protecting the status quo in Carderock Springs, let’s examine just what there is about it that we want to protect. Carderock Springs is a medium-sized community (405 houses) of medium-sized contemporary houses sited in rolling topography containing many indigenous trees. More than the houses themselves, it is the way the different models were designed to accommodate the various site conditions and the way the roads adapt to the site that make Carderock Springs a unique community (the architect won several awards). It was this respect for the site requiring minimal grading that allowed most of the original topography, and so many of the native trees to be preserved.

For the most part, the houses are a pleasing combination of brick, wood siding, and glass areas covered by gently sloping shingled roofs with generous overhangs. It is this generous roof overhang (2 feet) with its sloping soffit (underside) and the angled fascia (edge) that gives a strong roof expression and (in my opinion) is probably the most distinctive architectural characteristic of Carderock Springs houses. The generous amount of glass in contemporary houses allowing sweeping views makes it paramount that those vistas be maintained and protected.

The covenants of our community are intended to ensure the best use and most appropriate development of each homesite, to prevent haphazard and inharmonious improvements, and to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of our neighborhood. To this end, Article VI excluding fencing from front yards protects the openness and sweeping flow of greenery from one site to another. But what does the Architectural Review Committee look for in reviewing drawings for an addition? The committee believes that the key word is “harmonious” which is mentioned several times in the covenants. So far as practicable, materials and colors in an addition should match existing ones. Furthermore, roof slopes and significant details such as the roof eave (overhang with sloping soffit) should be repeated in an addition. Also, an addition should require minimum disturbance of the site, and not entail significant earth relocation with large retaining walls and/or the removal of large numbers of .trees. Moreover its placement should show consideration for the visual rights of its neighbors (this applies to all buildings including storage sheds). The committee does not feel that irregular, complex or curvilinear shaped additions are compatible with existing architecture nor are such elements as cupolas, window shutters, fancy wrought iron work, aluminum awnings or box cornices.

In the last several years, significantly large additions have been added to about a half-dozen houses in a trend known as “mansion-izing”. The community can only accommodate a certain number of these “mansions” before its character begins to deteriorate as we start to lose sight of the site. The committee is going to take a harder look at future large additions, and it is hoped that owners will show more restraint so that the pleasant green openness we enjoy now can be retained.

In the event of the establishment of a Community Association and Club, hereinbefore referred to in [a previous article], the owner of each building site to which these Covenants apply shall be eligible for one membership in such Community Association and Club and to participate in the operation of the same in accordance with such by-laws as may be adopted by such Community Association and Club from time to time and upon payment of such initiation fee or other fees as it may establish.

The covenants are to run with the land and shall be binding upon the Corporations and all persons claiming under it until [ here a specific date is listed in each specific set pf covenants] in any event; and continually thereafter unless and until by vote of a majority of the then owners of the building sites covered by these Covenants it is agreed to change said Covenants in whole or in part.

The Covenants herein contained shall run with and bind the land and shall inure to the benefit of, and be enforceable by, the Corporations and their successors in interest and title, or the owner of any land herein described, its or their legal representatives, heirs, successors and assigns, or by any service, maintenance, or lot owners’ Association or Corporation. Failure to enforce any condition, restriction, covenant, or agreement herein contained, by any and all parties having such right of enforcement, shall in no event be deemed a waiver of the right of enforcement thereafter, as to the same breach or as to one occurring prior or subsequent thereto, nor shall any such failure be the basis for claim for damages against aforesaid Corporations or successors in interest.

Inasmuch as the enforcement of the restrictions and covenants herein provided is deemed essential for the complete consummation of the general plan of improvement hereby contemplated, and for the protection of the Corporations and all future owners of land described herein, it is hereby declared that any violation of the restrictions and/or breach of the covenants and agreements herein created cannot be adequately compensated for by recovery of damages, and that the Corporations and their successors in interest and title and/or any future lot shall have been selected, no such approval shall be required. In the event the Corporations, or their successors in interest and title, or such architectural committee fails to approve or disapprove such design and location within thirty (30) days after said plans or specifications have been submitted to it or, in any event, if no suit to enjoin the erection of such building or the making of such alterations has been commenced prior to the completion thereof, such approval will not be required and the Covenant will be deemed to have been fully complied with. No sound hardwood trees shall ne removed from any lot without written approval by the Corporations or their successors or assigns.

No nuisance, advertising sign, billboard, or other device shall be permitted, erected, or placed, or suffered to remain upon said premises; nor shall the premises be used in any way for any purpose which may endanger the health, or unreasonably disturb the quiet of any owner of the adjoining or adjacent land. PROVIDED that (1) one sign not exceeding two (2) square feet in area and not illuminated may be attached to a dwelling to advertise only professional services and (2) one temporary real estate sign not exceeding six (6) square feet in any area may be erected upon property placed upon the market for sale or rent.

In the event a post lamp is installed on any lot, owner shall maintain and light it from dusk to dawn and bear all costs incident thereto.

[There is a lengthy provision appearing in appropriate covenants that govern the responsibility for governance, maintenance, and sharing of costs related to joint driveways. Affected residents should consult the specific set of covenants for details.]

No property other than that described above shall be deemed subject to this Declaration, unless and until specifically made subject thereto. The Declarants may, from time to time, subject additional real property to the conditions, restrictions, covenants, reservations, easements, liens and charges herein set forth by reference hereto.

The real property described [above] is subjected to the covenants, reservations, liens, and charges hereby declared to insure the best use and the most appropriate development and improvement of each building site thereof; to protect the owners of building sites against such improper use of surrounding building sites as will depreciate the value of their property; to preserve, so far as practicable, the natural beauty of said property, to guard against the erection thereon of poorly designed or proportioned structures, and structures built of improper or unsuitable materials; to obtain harmonious color schemes; to insure the highest and best development of said property; to encourage and secure the erection pf attractive homes thereon, with appropriate locations thereof on building sites; to prevent haphazard and in- harmonious improvement; and in general to provide adequately for a high type and quality of improvement in said property, and thereby to enhance the values of investments made by purchasers of building sites therein.

All Building Sites shall be known and described as residential building sites and shall be used exclusively for private dwelling- house purposes, except (1) such site as the Corporation may, at any time and at its sole discretion, select for use as a Community Association and Club to be erected, developed, maintained and operated by the members thereof, and (2) except that a professional office, as herein defined, may be maintained in a dwelling, provided that the maintenance and use is limited to the person actually residing in the dwelling and one other professional associate.

No noxious or offensive activity shall be carried on upon any lot, nor shall anything be done thereon which may be or may become an annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood.

No animals, livestock, or poultry of any kind shall be raised, bred, or kept on any lot, except that dogs, cats or other household pets may be kept provided that they are not kept, bred, or maintained for any commercial purpose. No burning of trash and no accumulation or storage of litter, new or used building materials, or trash of any other kind shall be permitted on any lot. No junk vehicle, and no house trailer shall be kept on any lot. Trash and garbage containers shall not be permitted to remain in public view except on days of trash collection.

Outdoor clothes dryers or clothes lines shall be placed within a screened enclosure of an approved design of attractive rustic wood not over eight feet square and not over six feet in height.

In order to facilitate the free movement of passing vehicles, no automobiles belonging to residents shall be parked on the paved portion of joint driveways or public streets, except during temporary emergencies. No outside television aerial or antenna for reception or transmission shall be visible from the street or adjoining houses.

For a period of seven (7) years from the date of this instrument no building, outbuilding, garage, fence, wall or improvement of any character shall be erected on any premises on said tract, and none begun, nor any change made in the exterior design of such buildings or improvements after original construction has begun, unless and until the architect designing the same; the cost, type and size thereof; the exterior materials to be used in the construction; the color scheme; the plans, specifications and details thereof, and a plot plan, showing the proposed location of the dwelling, outbuilding, garage and driveways upon the lot; existing and proposed grade revisions, shall all have been approved in writing by the Corporations or their successors in interest and title, and copies of said plans, specifications, and details shall have been lodged permanently with the Corporation or their successors in interest and title. At any time after the expiration of said seven (7) year period or earlier if the Corporations shall so elect, such approval shall be had from an architectural committee composed of three (3) members of the Community Association to be selected in accordance with the by- laws of said Association, and in the event that no such architectural committee.