What is the ACC, and why does it exist?
The ACC is a committee of the Fallsmead Board of Directors, made up of community representatives, that has been tasked with enforcing Fallsmead's architectural guidelines, rules, and regulations. The By-Laws and Covenants
(Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, Article VI) establish the ACC and require homeowners to request review and approval of certain proposed exterior alterations, additions, or changes prior to undertaking such work. It is the policy of the Fallsmead Homes Corporation and the Board of Directors that the neighborhood, and the structures therein, be well maintained so as to foster a sense of community pride and maintain general property values.
I want to make changes to the exterior of my house. What do I do?
Requests for proposed architectural/exterior changes must be submitted to a member of the ACC via an ACC Request Form at least thirty (30) days prior to the start of work. The ACC Request Form is included in every issue of the Fallsmead Forum
or can be found by clicking here
. ACC Request Forms may also be obtained from any member of the ACC. Each review request must identify the nature and scope of the architectural/exterior change requested (including the type and color of materials to be used), and, if applicable, include architectural drawings. The ACC will review the request and approve or disapprove the proposed changes within thirty (30) days of receipt of the request.
When do I have to submit an ACC Request Form?
According to Article VI
of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, except as otherwise provided in the By-Laws and Covenants, no building, fence, wall, slab, driveway, or other structure can be built without prior ACC approval. Moreover, no exterior additions or other changes or alterations, including a paint color change, can be made without first getting approval from the ACC.
Is this a lengthy process?
Most of the time, no. Although Article VI of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions states that the ACC has 30 days to respond from the time it receives a request, the ACC will often process it more quickly. If your contractor needs a firm starting date, please submit your request even earlier to allow for any delays that may occur. For more information, click here
to see Article VI, Section 3, of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.
When do I NOT have to get ACC approval for exterior changes?
You do NOT have to submit an ACC Request Form if you are doing any of the following (click here
for more detailed information from Article VI of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions):
- Fences, as long as they are post and split rail type, wooden and unpainted, not exceeding four feet in height, and located no closer to the street than the front of the house.
- Patios and decks, as long as they are located behind the house, are adjacent to or adjoining the house, are 500 square feet or less in size, and have no railings or attachments that exceed four feet in height above the patio or deck surface.
- Exterior painting if there are no color changes.
- Mailboxes, as long as they are standard size, mounted on a wooden or metal post, and in keeping with the colonial nature of the community.
Is there anything specifically prohibited in our neighborhood?
The following architectural/exterior changes are prohibited by Article VI
of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions:
- Satellite dish antennas that exceed one meter in diameter.
- Driveway expansions that permit additional off-street parking.
- Fences other than wooden, unpainted post and split rail type. An exception to this has been made for property lines adjacent to Wootton Parkway, Falls Road, or neighborhoods other than Fallsmead, where stockade fences not to exceed six feet in height have been allowed, subject to ACC approval.
The following items and activities are specifically prohibited by Article VII
of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions:
- No commercial vehicles of any type can remain overnight unless garaged.
- No trucks, trailers, or unlicensed motor vehicles of any type can remain overnight unless garaged.
- No boats of any type are permitted for more than 14 days unless garaged, or screened in a manner acceptable to the ACC.
- No extensive work such as dismantling and repairing of motor vehicles, boats, or machinery of any type can be done outdoors.
- No animals, livestock, or poultry of any kind can be kept or maintained except for dogs, cats, and household pets. No dogs, cats, or household pets may be kept or maintained for a commercial purpose.
- No outdoor storage of unused building materials.
- No window air conditioning units.
- No noxious or offensive activities that are an annoyance or nuisance to Fallsmead residents.
- No outdoor storage of trash, recycling, or receptacles for trash or recycling, unless stored behind screening in a manner acceptable to the ACC.
Can I build a fence around my yard?
Yes. However, all fences must be post and split rail type, wooden and unpainted, not exceeding four feet in height, and located no closer to the street than the front of the house. (Click here
to see Article VI of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions.)
An exception to this has been made for property lines adjacent to Wooton Parkway, Falls Road, or neighborhoods other than Fallsmead, where stockade fences not to exceed six feet in height have been allowed, subject to ACC approval.
How do I properly store my trash cans outside of my house?
Outside storage of trash cans, prohibited by the Fallsmead Covenants, continue to be an exterior item for ACC special focus. Properly stored trash cans make a huge difference in maintaining an excellent visual appearance in the neighborhood and directly relate to our collective property values. Take a look at some of the surrounding neighborhoods that lack a homeowners’ association and you will immediately see the difference.
A trashcan screen can go a long way to solving your trashcan storage problem. They can be constructed attractively, are unobtrusive and are relatively inexpensive. A number of residents have installed such screens either by themselves or using a contractor.
The ACC encourages those who feel that they have no room in their garage for trashcans to consider this approach. Plans and do-it-yourself videos can be found on the web. Click here
to see some examples of neighborhood trashcan screens as examples. If you would like to install a trashcan screen, just remember to obtain ACC approval of your design (see
design guidelines in the next paragraph). We will help out any way we can.
Screens to hide trash and recycling containers are permitted subject to the following:
- The design, color, size and location are subject to review by the ACC. A gate may be incorporated into the design.
- Screens may be made of wood or other suitable material in harmony with the Fallsmead community.
- Screens may be left unpainted to weather or painted to match or complement the Owner’s Private Dwelling Unit.
- The screen’s height shall not exceed four feet.
Note: Approved by the Board of Directors in May 2016 and documented in the Minutes for that meeting.
How do I replace my shutters?
Missing shutters are a high priority issue for the ACC and we strongly encourage residents to replace missing ones quickly. Individual shutter replacements should match those existing. When replacing all shutters on your home, here are guidelines: shutter replacements should be 18” wide and the approximate length of the window opening. They may be of wood, vinyl or composite material and either raised panel or louvered (no mixing styles). Sadly, the typical off-the-shelf vinyl shutters found at the big box hardware stores are too narrow for Fallsmead homes and should not be used. Sources that some residents report having used are Timberlane (timberlane.com
), Perfect Fit (perfectfitshutters.com
), Legends (legendslifestyle.com
), and Shutterland (shutterland.com
We want to install solar panels on our home's roof. Are solar panels permitted in Fallsmead?
Yes, rooftop solar panel installations are permitted in Fallsmead in accordance with federal, state and local statutes. A solar panel installation is an exterior addition as defined in the Covenants and as such, must have prior ACC approval and comply with Fallsmead's guidelines for solar installations
. The ACC will work cooperatively with residents planning solar panel installations so that those installations are safe, minimize visibility to the extent practical without degrading performance significantly, and are harmonious with Fallsmead's design and aesthetic. Contact the ACC at email@example.com if you have any questions about solar panel installations.
Note: Approved by the Board of Directors in June 2016 and documented in the Minutes for that meeting.
I want to park more cars in my driveway. Can I expand it? How about walkways?
No, the Fallmead Covenants prohibit the expansion of driveways for the purpose of accommodating additional off-street parking. You may, however, expand your driveway in a limited way to provide improved vehicle entry/exit or to address landscaping issues. You may also install walkways along the driveway provided that they are not used for additional off-street parking and conform to the Guidelines. Driveway expansions and walkways are subject to approval by the ACC.
These Guidelines are intended to bring attention to the Covenant requirement for submitting driveway expansions for architectural review; to provide and clarify the installation and use of adjacent walkways; and give the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) a basis for decision making when considering the impact of a proposal on the Covenant provision for “…maintaining and enhancing a harmonious design” for all Fallsmead home
A driveway expansion that accommodates additional off-street parking is prohibited by the Covenants (Article VI, Section 5(a)(ii)). Smaller driveway expansions for the purpose of improved vehicle entry/exit towards the nearest lot line and not exceeding the architectural frontage of the garage structure in that direction using matching material are permitted after ACC review and approval. The driveway expansion must also maintain a gradual taper toward the street so that it meets the driveway apron at a width no wider than that of the top of the apron. Expansion of the driveway apron or intrusion into the City of Rockville’s public right-of-way is prohibited.
When submitting a Review Request to the ACC for a driveway expansion, the requesting resident must include the length and width measurements of both the existing and proposed driveway measured at both ends along with a statement of intended use, a diagram illustrating the proposal and confirmation that the proposed expansion complies with the City’s zoning requirements regarding maximum front yard impervious surface limitations.
Driveway replacement or resurfacing using material matching the existing driveway and which keep the same dimensions do not require ACC review and approval. Installation of walkways adjacent to driveways are also permitted with ACC review and approval provided that they are constructed of material (e.g. pavers, brick, slate, stamped concrete) that clearly differentiates from the driveway and in a way so as to comply with the Covenant’s prohibition on additional off-street parking and the City’s maximum front yard impervious surface limitations.
Note: These Guidelines were approved by the Board of Directors on January 9, 2017.
I have to replace my garage door. Are the any design guidelines I need to know about?
Yes. Garage doors are a major architectural element of Fallsmead homes. Their design must be harmonious with surrounding structures and may be either flat or paneled in design. If a paneled garage door is proposed, panels must be square or rectangular and arranged in horizontal rows. A single row of windows across the top of the door may be included at the option of the homeowner.
Residents must submit an Architectural Review Request prior to replacing a garage door.
Note: These Guidelines were approved by the Board of Directors in February 2017.
We are considering changing paint colors on our home’s exterior. Are there pre-approved colors for Fallsmead exteriors?
There are no pre-approved exterior paint colors in Fallsmead. When considering making an exterior color change, a good place to start is with paint manufacturers’ “colonial” or “Williamsburg” collections. Many colors in these palettes are generally harmonious with the colonial style of Fallsmead homes.
When selecting exterior colors, consider the home’s entire color scheme so that, for example, the front door, compliments the shutters, siding, trim and shingles. It’s always a good idea to tour the neighborhood to find out which colors work together and which ones are appealing in similarly styled homes.