Why have covenants? Covenants have been used to exclude and discriminate against some of us, much to our dismay and disapproval. However, if properly employed, covenants ensure that as a neighborhood, all members will strictly adhere to the upkeep of their property, the maintenance and upkeep of their lawns, sidewalks, driveways, etc. Covenants form the basis for dealing with speeding autos and bikes, the timely shut-down of excessively noisy socials, the playing of loud, offensive music, etc.
Although covenants are sometimes thought of as limiting personal lifestyle choices, they help ensure that one’s major investment, i.e., the house, does not lose its value due to the willful, careless or destructive acts of others who may reside in the community. None of us wishes to see our neighborhood or our individual property values decline because others may not care about their investments nor their surroundings.
Absentee landowners have equal responsibility in assuring their property is maintained to the community standards by those who rent their property.
Our covenants have been renewed for a period of ten (10) years and are recorded with Prince George’s County Land Records for another period of strict code enforcement. Copies of the covenants were distributed to all households in November, 1997 and again, door-to-door, house-to-house, during the September, 1999 membership drive. Each new householder is provided with a copy in the introduction package given to them when the association learns they have joined the community.
DECLARATION OF COVENANTS
MADE this 26th day of December, 1972, by River Bend Estates, Inc., a Maryland corporation.
WHEREAS, the said River Bend Estates, Inc. is the owner of certain land situate, lying and being in Prince George’s County, Maryland, known as:
Lots numbered Two (2) thru Eight (8), both inclusive, in Block lettered "A", Lots numbered Six (6) thru Twenty-two (22), both inclusive, in Block lettered "B", Lots numbered One (1) thru Sixteen (16), both inclusive, in Block lettered "C", Lots numbered Six (6) thru Fifteen (15), both inclusive, in Block lettered "D", and Lots numbered One (1) thru Nineteen (19), both inclusive, in Block lettered "F", all in the subdivision known as "RIVER BEND ESTATES" as per plat recorded in Plat Book WWW63, Plat No. 86 among the Land Records of Prince George’s County, Maryland, and
Lots numbered Sixteen (16) thru Twenty-seven (27), both inclusive, in Block lettered "D", Lots numbered Twenty (20) thru Twenty-seven (27), both inclusive, in Block lettered "F", Lots numbered Forty-three (43) thru Sixty-eight (68), both inclusive, Lots numbered Eighty-six (86) thru Ninety-two (92), both inclusive, and Lots numbered Ninety-six (96) thru Ninety-nine (99), both inclusive, in Block lettered "G", all in the subdivision known as "RIVER BEND ESTATES"; as per plat recorded in Plat Book WWW63, Plat No. 87 among the Land Records of Prince George’s County, Maryland, and
Lots numbered Twenty-eight (28) thru Thirty-nine (39), both inclusive, in Block lettered "F", and Lots numbered Forty-one (41) and Forty-two (42), in block lettered "G", all in the subdivision known as "RIVER BEND ESTATES" as per plat recorded in Plat Book WWW63, Plat No. 88 among the Land Records of Prince George’s County, Maryland, and
Lot numbered One (1) in Block lettered "A" and Lot numbered One (1) in Block lettered "B" in the subdivision known as "RIVER BEND ESTATES" as per plat recorded in Plat Book WWW75, Plat No. 82 among the Land Records of Prince George’s County, Maryland, and
Lots numbered One Hundred Six (106), One Hundred Seven (107), and One Hundred Eight (108) in Block lettered "G" in the subdivision known as "RIVER BEND ESTATES" as per plat recorded in Plat Book WWW75, Plat No. 98 among the Land Records of Prince George’s County, Maryland.
NOW, THEREFORE, KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that the said River Bend Estates, Inc., Corporation, its successors or assigns, does hereby establish and impose upon the aforesaid lots in said subdivision the following protective restrictions and covenants to be observed and enforced by the said Corporation, its successors or assigns, and all purchasers of land in said subdivision as follows:
LAND USE AND BUILDING TYPE. No lot shall be used except for residential purposes. No building shall be erected, altered, placed, or permitted on any lot other than one detached single-family dwelling not to exceed 2-1/2 stories in height and a private garage for not more than two cars.
ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL. No building shall be erected, placed, or altered on any lot until the construction plans and specifications and a plan showing the location of the structure have been approved by architectural control committee as to quality of workmanship and materials, harmony of external design with existing structures, and as to location with respect to topography and finish grade elevation. No fence or wall shall be erected, placed or altered on any lot nearer to any street than the minimum building setback line unless similarly approved. Approval shall be as provided herein.
TEMPORARY STRUCTURES. No structure of a temporary character, trailer, basement, tent, shack, garage, barn, or other outbuildings shall be used on any lot at any time as a residence, either temporarily or permanently.
MEMBERSHIP. The architectural control committee is composed of Frank Spinetta, Frank A. Spinetta, and Ernest Henderson. A majority of the committee may designate a representative to act for it. In the event of death or resignation of any member of the committee, the remaining members of the committee shall have full authority to designate a successor. Neither of the members of the committee, nor its designated representative shall be entitled to any compensation for services performed pursuant to this covenant. At any time, the then record owners of a majority of the lots shall have the power through a duly recorded written instrument to change the membership of the committee or to withdraw from the committee or restore to it any of its powers and duties.
PROCEDURE. The committee’s approval or disapproval as required in these covenants shall be in writing. In the event the committee or its designated representative fails to approve or disapprove within 30 days after plans and specifications have been submitted to it, or in any event, if no suit to enjoin the construction has been commenced prior to the completion thereof, approval shall not be required and the related covenants shall be deemed to have been fully complied with.
TERM. These covenants are to run with the land and shall be binding on all parties and all persons claiming under them for a period of twenty-five (25) years from the date these covenants are recorded, after which time said covenants shall be automatically extended for successive periods of ten (10) years unless an instrument signed by a majority of the then owners of the lots has been recorded, agreeing to change said covenants in whole or in part.
ENFORCEMENT. Enforcement shall be by proceedings at law or in equity against any person or persons violating or attempting to violate any covenant either to restrain violation or to recover damages.
DWELLING COST, QUALITY AND SIZE. No dwelling shall be permitted on any lot at a cost of less than $10,000.00 based upon cost levels prevailing on the date these covenants are recorded, it being the intention and purpose of the covenant to assure that all dwellings shall be of a quality of workmanship and materials substantially the same or better than that which can be produced on the date these covenants are recorded at the minimum cost stated herein, for the minimum permitted dwelling size. The ground floor area of the main structure, exclusive of one-story open porches and garages, shall not be less than 800 square feet for a one-story dwelling, nor less than 700 square feet for a dwelling of more than one story.
BUILDING LOCATION. No building shall be located on any lot nearer to the front lot line or nearer to the side street line than the minimum building setback lines shown on the recorded plat. In any event no building shall be located on any lot nearer than 25 feet to the front lot line, nor nearer than 8 feet to any side street line. No building shall be located nearer than 8 feet to an interior lot line, except that no side yard shall be required for a garage or other permitted accessory building located 60 feet or more from the minimum building setback line. No dwelling shall be located on any interior lot nearer than 25 feet to the rear lot line. For the purposes of this covenant, eaves, steps, and open porches shall not be considered as a part of a building, provided, however, that this shall not be construed to permit any portion of a building on a lot to encroach upon another lot.
LOT AREA AND WIDTH. No dwelling shall be erected or placed on any lot having a width of less than 55 feet at the minimum setback line nor shall any dwelling be erected or placed on any lot having an area of less than 6,000 square feet.
EASEMENT. Easements for installation and maintenance of utilities and drainage facilities are reserved over the rear five (5) feet of each lot.
NUISANCES. 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.
SIGNS. No sign of any kind shall be displayed to the public view on any lot except one professional sign of not more than one (1) square foot, one (1) sign of not more than five-square feet advertising the property for sale or rent, or signs used by a builder or developer to advertise the property during the construction and sales period.
LIVESTOCK AND POULTRY. 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.
GARBAGE AND REFUSE DISPOSAL. No lot shall be used or maintained as a dumping ground for rubbish. Trash, garbage, or other waste shall not be kept except in sanitary containers. All incinerators or other equipment for the storage or disposal of such material shall be kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
WATER SUPPLY. No individual water supply systems shall be permitted on any lot unless such systems is located, constructed, and equipped in accordance with the requirements, standards and recommendations of the Prince George’s Bureau of Health. Approval of such system as installed shall be obtained from such authority.
SEWAGE DISPOSAL. No individual sewage disposal system shall be permitted on any lot unless such system is designed, located and constructed with the requirements, standards, and recommendations of the Prince George’s Bureau of Health. Approval of such system as installed shall be obtained for such authority.
SEVERABILITY. Invalidation of any one of these covenants by judgment or court order shall in no wise affect any of the other provisions which remain in full force and effect.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the said River Bend Estates, Inc. has caused its corporate seal to be hereto affixed and these presents to be executed in its corporate name by Frank Spinetta, its President, attested by Ernest Henderson its Secretary, as of the day and year first above written, in pursuance of resolutions duly adopted for that purpose by its Stockholders and Board of Directors, respectively.
Attest RIVER BEND ESTATES, INC. (Ernest Henderson) By (Frank Spinetta) Secretary
Frank Spinetta, President DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA )to wit:
On this 26th day of December, 1972, before the undersigned officer, personally appeared Frank Spinetta who acknowledged himself to be the President of River Bend Estates, Inc., a corporation, and that he was such officer being authorized so to do, executed the foregoing instrument for the purposes therein contained, by signing the name of said corporation by himself as such officer.
In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and official seal.
(Frances R. Atwood)
Frances R. Atwood, Notary Public
My commission expires: November 30, 1974