Role of the Association and Covenants Committee
All Cascades homeowners are automatically members of the Cascades Community Association. The Association is a non-stock corporation, which owns and maintains all common properties within the community.
The Association also is responsible for the administration and enforcement of all covenants, which are applicable to property owners, including design covenants and restrictions. Article 9 of the Declaration for the Cascades Community Association, Inc. provides that enforcement of design standards shall be exercised through a Covenants Committee consisting of three or more members appointed by the Board of Directors of the Association.
The primary responsibility of the Covenants Committee is to protect property values by ensuring that properties are well maintained and in visual harmony with the rest of the community.
Objectives of the Covenants Committee
- Provide uniformity of application and interpretation standards set forth in the covenants and design standards.
- Increase residents' awareness and understanding of the covenants and standards applicable to exterior home and property improvements.
- Describe the organization and procedures involved in the enforcement of the architectural design standards established by the covenants.
- Assist residents in developing exterior improvements, which promote harmony in design with the immediate neighborhood and the community as a whole.
- Assist residents in preparing and completing acceptable applications.
- Maintain and improve the quality of the living environment within the Cascades.
- Amend Architectural Design Standards on an annual basis as needed to meet the current needs of the evolving community. The Covenants Committee will track trends and wishes of the community throughout the year and document needed changes. These proposed changes will be shared with the community prior to scheduling a Public Hearing to obtain community input. Once this process is completed, the proposed changes are presented to the Board of Directors for final review and approval.
Modifications Requiring Review and Approval by the Covenants Committee
Except as expressly provided in the design standards, all changes, permanent or temporary, to the exterior appearance of a structure or lot are subject to review and approval by the Covenants Committee. Properties within a sub-association must conform to meet the requirements of their sub-association.
In addition to obtaining Covenant Committee approval, the owner is responsible for obtaining any and all applicable county approvals.
Plans for proposed changes to properties should also accommodate any easements on the property. The Association is not responsible for identifying any easement held by other agencies or organizations (such as utility companies) or any restrictions placed on those easements. Property owners should consult the property deed and site plan for easements, which might affect a planned addition or alteration.
Design Review Criteria
Specific covenants are not in place to stifle individual creativity and beautification. They provide the requesting owner and the Covenants Committee with standards as to what is approvable; however, latitude is allowed for those who develop unique changes, which nevertheless are consistent with the aesthetics of and protect the values of the community although not specifically spelled out in the design standards. The Architectural Design Standards can be found as part of the Homeowner Manual (PDF).
The criteria listed below provide the basis for both the development of design standards and the evaluation of individual design proposals by the Covenants Committee.
- All owner submissions will be evaluated on the individual merits of the application. This evaluation will include consideration of the characteristics of housing type and individual site since what may be an acceptable design of an exterior in one instance may not be for another. Applications are reviewed to confirm that the project is in conformance with the protective covenants.
- Design decisions made in reviewing applications will not be based on the personal opinion or taste of the Board of Directors or the Covenants Committee members. Judgments of acceptable design are based on the general standards of the Declaration, defined more specifically in the Architectural Design Standards.
- Design Compatibility: All additions or exterior modifications must be sound and appropriate to their surroundings. The proposed improvement must be compatible with the architectural characteristics and style of the applicant's home, adjoining homes, and the neighborhood setting. Compatibility is defined as similarity in architectural style, quality of workmanship, similar use of materials, color and construction details are required. The three-dimensional size of the proposed modification must relate well to the adjacent structures and surroundings.
- Scale: The scale of the proposed improvement should relate to the size of the applicant's home, the location, and size of the lot, adjoining homes, and surroundings. This criterion applies to both structural and landscape modifications.
- Location and Impact on Neighbors: The proposed improvement should relate favorably to the landscape, existing structures, and the character of the neighborhood. Written comments from affected neighbors about the acceptability of a proposed project may be submitted with an application. However, final decisions will be based on the standards established for the whole community.
- Color and Materials: Use of the same or compatible materials should be used to ensure and maintain continuity throughout the community. The color of materials must match or relate harmoniously with existing materials.
- Workmanship: The quality of work shall be equal to or better than that of the surrounding area.
- Timing: Approval by the Covenants Committee is valid for a period of three months. If work is not completed within this time, the application is automatically disapproved and must be resubmitted for Covenants Committee consideration. Extension of time to complete a project will be considered on a case-by-case basis if a written request is submitted.
Application and Review Procedures
Application and review procedures, which will be used by the Covenants Committee, are detailed below.
All applications (PDF) for proposed improvements must be submitted in writing using the application form authorized by the Covenants Committee. A copy of this form can be found here and in the administrative office. Applications must be complete to be reviewed by the management staff and the Committee. Applications of a standard type that meet the requirements of the Architectural Design Standards can be submitted to the administrative office and approved by the management staff without Covenant Committee review. These types of standard applications usually can be approved within a few days. All other completed applications must be submitted a minimum of eight days prior to each scheduled Covenants Committee meeting to be considered at that meeting. Check the website or newsletter for scheduled meeting dates and times. Owners may bring applications to the offices at the Lowes Island Community Center, or mail them to:
Cascades Community Association
47620 Saulty Drive
Potomac Falls, Virginia 20165
General Information Requirements
General information requirements for the Design Review Application are discussed in the following paragraphs.
A registered site plan (plat) must be submitted to indicate dimensions and distances from adjacent property lines and structures.
All applications must contain a narrative description. The amount of detailed description shall be consistent with the complexity of the proposal. A graphic description may be in the form of manufacturer's literature or photographs as well as freehand or mechanical drawings. Relationships of major architectural features such as existing and proposed rooflines, window sizes and alignment, building heights, roof slopes, etc. must be shown as they affect the applicant's proposed project.
- Material and Color Samples
The materials and colors to be used and an indication of the existing color and materials should be provided with the application. In most cases a statement, for example, that "the proposed deck is to be painted to match the existing house color" is sufficient. Where materials and/or color are compatible, but different from those of the existing structure, samples or color chips shall be submitted for clarity.
- Acknowledgement of Adjacent Property Owners
The signature of adjacent property owners is required for the following projects: fences, hot tubs, trampolines, and pools.
Notice of Approval / Disapproval
Owners who have submitted design review applications will be given written notice of the decision and reasons from the Covenants Committee within forty-five (45) days. If the applicant has questions regarding the Covenants Committee decision, he/she should contact the Staff at 703-406-0820.
An applicant homeowner may appeal a decision of the Covenants Committee within fifteen days after receipt of notice of an action by the Covenants Committee. The Board shall make a preliminary review of the case and determine whether or not it will hear the appeal. The Board will respond in writing to the applicant within seven days after the next scheduled Board meeting. This response is sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.
The Community's Enforcement Procedures can be viewed as part of the Homeowner Manual (PDF).
Lawn Care Tips
For information and helpful tips about lawn care, please check out our Lawn Care page.