The Architectural Control Committee (ACC) works with the residents and the board to make sure that all architectural improvements are in compliance with the Deed Restrictions and ACC Rules.
As of January 2019, the members are:
- Eric Dean
- Jayne Leuterman
- Konrad Schneeburger
- Lucy Tausend
Before making improvements to your property
To initiate a request to make changes to a property within the community, complete the Thornwood Change of Property Appearance Form Application (PDF) and send in by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, FAX 281-966-1683, or postal mail to Thornwood Fund, Inc., 11152 Westheimer #722, Houston, TX 77042.
Additional documentation such as blueprints may be required by the committee. Approval by the committee means that your proposed change fits the aesthetics of the community. It does not mean that the community certifies structural integrity. You may need a building permit and inspection for certain changes to your home.
For any questions on the application process, email the committee at email@example.com.
Letter mailed to homeowners
The Thornwood Fund
11152 Westheimer, #722
Houston, TX 77042
August 15, 2014
Thornwood Deed Restrictions, Architectural Control Committee Guidelines & Working Street Lamps for Sold Homes
Dear Thornwood Neighbor,
The secret is out and our homes are selling fast. The increased commerce is prompting more neighbors to ask about our deed restrictions, remodel and expand their homes or ask how the board can encourage a few homeowners to provide better maintenance for their homes and yards.
Attached you will find two documents that will guide you through what is permitted by way of alterations and expected for home maintenance. These items define the standards that we as a neighborhood desire to enhance the value of the neighborhood. The ACC is actively reviewing home improvement projects and is now focused on streamlining the process. The board is also evaluating options to monitor for deed and maintenance violations and find quick resolutions.
- Thornwood's deed restrictions--superseded amendments and duplications have been removed to simplify reading. Scans of our original deed restrictions and amendments remain on the web site for reference [here].
- The Architectural Control Committee (ACC) Guidelines for Thornwood--these have been updated and outline items which do and do not need ACC approval and lists basic standards. 40+ years in the making, a group of volunteers painstakingly consolidated these. These are our current guidelines; they will be updated as circumstances change. Please remember to look on the web site for the newest version.
Just a reminder that a resolution was passed at Thornwood Fund Annual Meeting in September 2013 requiring all homes to have working street lamps within three months of a transfer of title. Street lamp guidelines are addressed in section 2.10 and 2.20 of the ACC Guidelines. If you are preparing your home for sale or have purchased a home since September, please don't forget the working street lamp.
Finally, we have heard that the Sheffield Square Apartments have been sold and the demolition will start in the fourth quarter of this year. In preparation for this and the ongoing demolition of the Princeton Club Apartments, we've had the City of Houston replace missing "No Thru Trucks" signs at our entrances. Please let us know if trucks cutting through Thornwood become a problem.
Safe summer to all,
The Thornwood Fund
FOR THORNWOOD, SECTIONS One, II, III & IV
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 1.1. Authority
- 1.2. Purpose
- 1.3. Enforcement
- 1.4. Application for Review
- 1.5. Approval Process
- 1.6. Minor and Direct Replacement Items
2. ACC DESIGN RULES
- 2.1. Additions, New Construction and Remodeling
- 2.2. Antennas and Satellite Dishes
- 2.3. Awnings and Window Shades
- 2.4. Basketball Goals
- 2.5. Birdhouses
- 2.6. Burglar Bars
- 2.7. Decks
- 2.8. Driveways and Walks
- 2.9. Excavation and Drainage
- 2.10. Exterior Lighting
- 2.11. Exterior Painting and Siding
- 2.12. Fences
- 2.13. Garages, Carports and Porte Cochères
- 2.14. Hot Tubs, Spas and Pools
- 2.15. Lot Maintenance
- 2.16. Outbuildings
- 2.17. Patio and Deck Covers
- 2.18. Roofing
- 2.19. Solar Panels
- 2.20. Street Lamps
- 2.21. Swing Sets, Playground Equipment, Playhouses, Tree Houses and Forts
- 2.22. Ventilation and Rooftop Appendages
- 2.23. Window and Mini-Split Air Conditioners
- 2.24. Flag Display
- 2.25. Holiday, Religious, Seasonal and Other Displays
- 2.26. Rain Barrels
- 2.27. Composting Bins
- 2.28. Tree Removal
- 2.29. Window and Door Additions or Enlargements
- 3.1. Community Spaces
- 3.2. Complaints
The Architectural Control Committee (“ACC”) Review Rules (“Rules”) are adopted pursuant to authority granted to the board of directors for administration by the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) by the Deed restrictions of Thornwood Section One, II, III, and IV (collectively known as the “Association”) and by the Texas Property Code, Section 204.010 (a)(6). These Rules are intended for modifications, new construction and additions. The requirements and provisions of the Rules shall be in addition to and not in lieu of the requirements and provisions of the Deed Restrictions of Sections I, II, III and IV as amended. Where there is lack of clarity or ambiguity in the language of these Rules, or disagreement between these Rules and the Deed Restrictions, the Deed Restrictions shall prevail.
Failure to comply with these Rules will result in the Board taking legal action to seek a court injunction on the homeowner to enjoin or stop the homeowner until either:
1. the appropriate paper work is filed with and approved by the ACC or
2. the existing work is brought into compliance with what has been approved by the ACC.
All attorney fees and costs associated with the court injunction will be borne by and paid for by the homeowner.
The members of the ACC will be appointed by the President of the Board of Directors of Thornwood and there shall be no less than three (3) members on the ACC and a maximum of seven (7) members. There must be at least three members of the ACC present when a vote is taken to approve or deny an application. Approval or denial decisions will be based on a simple majority of the ACC members voting.
The Rules are written to establish a uniform plan for the redevelopment, maintenance and improvement of property for the benefit of both the present and future owners in the subdivision and to protect the value, desirability and attractiveness of our neighborhood. These Rules apply to all lots, owners and residents, community spaces and community pools within the Association by requiring conformity to standards of construction, visual appeal, uniformity and design.
The Deed Restrictions require that plans for certain (exterior) modifications, new construction and additions to residences and improvements to property must be submitted by application (“Application”) to and approved in writing by the ACC prior to beginning work. These Rules govern the homeowner and the ACC to ensure that all structures within Thornwood are in harmony of external design in terms of massing, general styling and size, and that all structures and landscaping conform to a high standard of quality as established by existing standards of the neighborhood.
These Rules are approved by the Board and the ACC and are eligible for amendment from time to time as circumstances, conditions or opinions of the ACC dictate. Such amendments must be approved by the Board. In the absence of an ACC, the Board assumes these complete responsibilities.
Regardless if a permit has been issued by the City of Houston for construction of new building and/or modification to an existing building, prior to an application for such construction and/or modification being submitted to the ACC, no building, structure, or other improvement, whether permanent or temporary, shall be commenced, constructed, erected, placed, modified, altered or improved on any Lot until the construction plans and specifications, including a plot plan showing the location of the proposed building, structure, modification, alteration, or other improvement, have been submitted to the ACC in writing and they have been approved in writing by the ACC.
The ACC will evaluate projects according to the overall harmony of the exterior design and color with existing homes and structures; the location with respect to the topography and finished ground elevation; and as to compliance with these Rules adopted by the ACC.
The Board, in its sole discretion, is permitted to approve deviation from these Rules in those areas within its authority where, in its judgment, such deviation will result in a more commonly beneficial use. Issuance of any variance by the Board shall not establish a precedent or preclude the Board from denying a variance in other similar circumstances. Previously constructed improvements, approved by the ACC prior to the issuance of this version of the ACC Rules, which do not meet the Rules in this version are grandfathered but do not create a precedent for future deviations from the then current Rules.
Additionally, the Board looks to the ACC to be an active partner in monitoring and maintaining lots for neat, orderly and sanitary upkeep.
Thornwood’s 1998 Amendment on street lights and Lot maintenance reads:
- In the event an Owner of any Lot shall fail to maintain the premises, any existing gas light or the improvements situated thereon in a neat, working, orderly and sanitary manner, the Association shall have the right, through its agents and employees, to enter upon said Lot without liability in trespass or otherwise, and to repair, maintain and restore the Lot and exterior of the building, any gas light and any other improvements erected thereon, all at the expense of Owner. Owner shall pay any invoice for such charges submitted by the Association not later than thirty (30) days after the receipt thereof. To secure the payment of such charges in the event of non-payment by the Owner, a vendor’s lien is herein and hereby retained against the Lots in favor of The Association but such lien shall be inferior to any purchase money lien or mortgage. Such vendor’s lien shall be applicable and effective whether mentioned specifically in each deed or conveyance of a Lot. Without limiting the foregoing, the amount of such unpaid charges may, at the option of the Association be added to the annual assessment described in Article Seven of these Restrictions, and shall become a charge against such Lot in the same manner as the regular annual assessment. Further, the Thornwood Fund shall have all of the rights and remedies provided in Article Seven hereof to enforce payment of such charges, including, without limitation, the right to assert a lien against any such Lot and foreclosure upon such lien either judicially or non-judicially.
1.4. Application for Review
Prior to initiating any design work and/or contracting for any work and/or purchasing any materials, or otherwise incurring any expense, Lot owners are required to obtain the latest copy of the Rules from the ACC and/or Board of Trustees or download a copy from the Association web site, www.tw1234.com. Owners are expected to review the rules and know how they relate to any work or improvements.
Lot owners are required to submit an application for review. Applications must be made in writing to the ACC. Application for a Change of Property Appearance (Application) form is prescribed for this purpose and can be obtained either from the Thornwood Website at www.tw1234.com or from any ACC member or board of directors member.
Where possible all relevant information pertaining to the Application should be submitted electronically; this will generally enable the ACC to conduct its review in a timely manner. If the Application is not submitted electronically, three complete copies of the Application should be submitted to the ACC.
1.5. Approval Process
The ACC must act on an application within thirty (30) days of the filing of the completed Application. Approval of a modification by the ACC shall be made in writing and should be preserved by the applying owner. Absent a request for additional information or a notice of disapproval from the ACC within the thirty (30) day period following the submission of an Application, the Application shall be deemed to be approved if the ACC fails to render a written approval or denial by the end of the thirty (30) day period following the submission of the Application.
If an Application is denied and the lot owner submits a new or revised completed Application, then the thirty (30) day review process will commence from the date the new/revised Application is acknowledged as received by the ACC.
The ACC will not respond to verbal requests for approval.
If an improvement is made without ACC approval, the Board has the right to, at the Lot owner’s expense:
1. Enforce the removal of the improvement at the lot owner’s expense;
2. Require an Application be submitted that is in compliance with the Rules for the ACC’s review; and/or
3. Require remediation of the existing improvement in order to be in compliance with an approved Application.
If additional information is required by the ACC, the Application will be considered incomplete and denied pending the ACC's receipt of the requested information.
1.6. Minor and Direct Replacement Items
All changes to the as-constructed or current structural design of the home require ACC approval.
All changes in appearance, including direct replacement, require an ACC application and approval. However, with the intent of not burdening homeowners unnecessarily for minor and direct replacement items (identified in this section only), the ACC generally does not require architectural plans/drawings with dimensions, lot elevation surveys, sketches, color & material sample, etc. with the completed Direct Replacement or Change of Property Appearance Application.
1. Repairs using materials of the same appearance and color for maintaining property in its current or as-constructed state – repairs do not include any changes to appearance, modifications, or any other improvements;
2. Interior work to a residence provided the interior work does not violate these Rules – interior work is any work inside of a residence that cannot be seen from outside the residence;
3. Buried, drip and/or similar irrigation or sprinkler systems;
4. The addition of live plants or mulches of natural organic origin, including soil covered by such plants or mulches or the removal or trimming of live or dead plants and removal of any mulch. Man-made materials such as polyethylene are not considered of natural organic origin;
5. Same-size window and/or door replacement with a new or upgraded style. This does not include new window and/or doors where none previously existed or create a view of a neighbor’s yard which had not existed.
6. Exterior painting provided the colors are either:
- I. The existing color
- II. An "earth tone" color as outlined in Section 2.11. of these Rules;
7. Antennas installed in accordance with Section 2.2. of these Rules
8. Lawn storage buildings placed in accordance with these Rules.
Work must start within 60 days of the proposed start date and completion must be within (30) days of the proposed completion date as identified on the project’s Direct Replacement or Change of Property Appearance Application.
Lot owners accept the responsibility of compliance with all the Rules in this document and submit to ACC determinations when performing repairs under this sub section and agree to bear the responsibility and cost of bringing items into compliance if lack of compliance is subsequently determined by the ACC.
ACC DESIGN RULES
The ACC Rules specify the minimum standards and requirements that shall be used to evaluate an Application.
Each Application is to be considered on its own merits; the ACC may grant a variance from procedures and the Board may grant a variance from these Rules related to buildings, structures, other improvements and landscaping when circumstances such as topography, natural obstructions, hardship, or aesthetic or environmental considerations require. Such variances may only be granted when unique circumstances dictate. No variance shall:
- i. Be effective unless granted in writing; or
- ii. Stop the ACC or the Board from denying a variance under other circumstances.
Owners who are actively in the process of design and/or preparing an Application when Rules are revised and who submit an Application within 90 days of a Rule changes may request to be evaluated under the immediately preceding Rules when evaluation under the new Rules represents a hardship through no fault of the owner or his contractors.
Any Lot owner who is denied an approval and is continuously and actively seeking changes in an attempt to obtain approval may request to be evaluated by the Rules in effect at the first application for 90 days following the first denial. Otherwise the Rules used will be those in effect on the day of the initial submission of the Application to the ACC.
The ACC will have the right to inspect any construction or addition to ensure that the construction is in compliance with the approved application.
2.1. Additions, New Construction, and/or Exterior Remodeling
Any changes to the as-constructed or current structural design of the home require ACC approval.
New construction and additions shall comply with all building setbacks as set forth on the recorded plat of the subdivision. Additions, new construction and/or exterior remodeling shall be designed and built so that the materials, workmanship and over-all appearance are in harmony with that of the house and other homes in the neighborhood. In addition, the homeowner shall comply with the following waste and sanitary requirements:
- i. Construction waste shall not be deposited in the yard or street;
- ii. Lot owner will provide appropriate waste containers;
- iii. Refuse must be disposed of in a timely manner; and
- iv. If used, portable chemical toilets shall be concealed from the street.
Additions, New Construction and/or Exterior Remodeling must take into account the following conditions:
a. The building height shall be no more than two stories.
b. Exterior eaves/fascia boards must be consistent with the neighborhood, which is limited to 8 foot heights per home level—8-foot exterior elevation for one-story homes and 17-foot exterior elevation for two-story homes.
c. Exterior materials and colors shall match the existing Main Structure as closely as possible.
d. Additions shall not encroach into any utility easement unless the utility companies involved have granted their written consent prior to submission of the Application and must be included with the Application.
e. Additions will be evaluated on an individual basis. The size and shape of residence and garage additions that will be approved by the ACC depends on the architectural style and layout of the Main Structure, size of Lot, and how well the addition integrates with existing structures and neighboring residences. The roof line of an addition must integrate with existing roof line so as to appear to have been part of the original structure.
f. Additions shall not exceed 25.00% (25.00 % Rule) of the originally developed remaining back yard before the addition or prior additions unless otherwise approved in writing by the ACC. The originally developed remaining back yard is the area bounded by the residence, garage and lot limits when the home was initially built but does not include areas that cannot be built on; such as, easements or areas between the garage and lot limits. For purposes of measurement of the originally developed remaining back yard the following will apply:
- 1. For purposes of this section, the title survey, with a surveyor’s seal and signature, of the lot, prior to any additions in the back yard, shall be used as the basis for determining all calculations whether those dimensions are printed on the title survey or accurately scaled.
- 2. Any space between a structure (E.g. a house or garage) and a boundary line or utility easement or setback line that is less than five (5) feet is, for purposes of this section 2.1.f., not capable of being built on and that area will not count as originally developed remaining space of the back yard.
- 3. For lots that have a detached garage at the back of the lot and a long driveway, the back yard shall be bounded by:
- a. The rear of the house, considering that it may not be a straight line, and the rear of the garage (provided there is sufficient space between the rear of the garage and the rear ground utility easement to build a structure in that space) up to the ground easement at the rear of the property;
- b. The side boundary that is furthest away from the driveway will be measured from the boundary line at the rear of the house towards the garage or opposite boundary, except for any portion where an existing house structure exists in which case the measurement will be from the side of the structure facing the back yard to the garage
- c. A straight line from the rear corner of the house on the driveway side of the house to the innermost corner of the garage facing the back yard and that is closest to the house
- d. A perpendicular line extending from the side boundary line closest to the rear corner of the garage (provided there is sufficient space between the rear of the garage and rear ground utility easement to build a structure in that space), otherwise the measurement will be taken from a point on the rear of the garage where the perpendicular distance from the rear ground utility easement to the rear of the garage is not less than five (5) feet.
- 4. For corner lots where the front of the house is typically on one street and the garage on the cross street and has a short driveway, the back yard shall be bounded by:
- a. The rear of the house, considering that it may not be a straight line, to the rear ground utility easement
- b. The side of the garage furthest away from the house to the rear ground utility easement (provided there is sufficient space between the side of the garage and the rear ground utility easement to build a structure in that space)
- c. The side boundary that is furthest away from the driveway will be measured from the boundary line at the rear of the house towards the garage, except for any portion where an existing house structure exists in which case the measurement will be from the side of the structure facing the back yard to the garage
- d. Open Breezeway: A straight line from the rear corner of the house on the driveway side of the house to the corner of the garage closest to the driveway and the house and then from there follow the side of the garage that is closest to the house to the rear corner facing the back yard and that is closest to the house.
- e. Closed Breezeway or no gap between house and gargae: However, if there is no open gap between the house and the garage or the connection between the house or garage is totally enclosed, the measurement shall begin at the back of the house inside the back yard, where the structure connecting the house and the garage begins and extend along that line from the house to the garage and then from that point to the end of the garage closest to the house and yard.
- 5. In no case will the addition be allowed to be placed inside the side set back lines for the house (five (5) feet) or the garage (three (3) feet).
- 6. The calculation of the originally developed remaining back yard is used strictly to determine the maximum cumulative addition that may be placed in the back yard. Any portion of an addition, that is placed on a space that was not originally part of the originally developed remaining back yard will not have that area deducted from the addition when calculating the 25.00 % Rule.
- 7. Since an existing single-story house has a larger footprint than one and one half or two-story house, an owner of a single-story house may add another story and turn the home into a one and one-half or two-story home provided that the addition does not impose any additional imposing view into a neighbor’s property. This shall be accomplished by restricting the additional story’s rear set back line to be the same distance from the rear property line like the prevailing rear set back lines of surrounding two story homes prior to any additions. The addition of a second story will not preclude the owner from adding on to the first story in accordance with the 25.00 % rule.
For example: if the originally developed remaining back yard has an area of 2,000 square feet prior to the addition, then any cumulative additions may not have a ground footprint larger than 500 square feet.
Additions may be denied for other reasons (harmony of the exterior design and color with existing structures; the location with respect to the topography and finished ground elevation; drainage; and as to compliance with these Rules, etc.) even if the addition uses less than one-fourth of the remaining yard.
g. No addition, modification or building may be constructed, erected, altered or placed such that the lot contains residence area or areas that may be used for other than one detached single-family dwelling. No addition, modification or building may be constructed, erected, altered or placed such that the residence may be a duplex or group home or have separate residence areas or be easily modified for use other than a one detached single-family dwelling.
h. All additions must be interconnected such that:
- i. One must be able to access the addition through the main residence and not only through a special entrance;
- ii. The interconnection appears natural to the design of the residence area rather than forced with features like a shared wall or accessibility from existing second-story areas;
- iii. The term "residence areas" (or areas that may be used as residence areas) is defined as those areas which have one or more characteristics that may include heating and/or air conditioning or have utilities, or are enclosed or have an intended or possible use as a bedroom, kitchen, game room, office, bathroom, or similar use (Exceptions per Section 2.16 (Outbuildings) of these Rules only).
i. No new window, door or balcony shall be placed such that it offers a greater or imposing view of a neighbor's rear or side yard than currently exists.
j. Additions, new construction, and/or exterior remodeling shall not adversely affect drainage on the Owner's or neighboring Lots.
k. Outdoor kitchens and construction of patios with a use as an outdoor kitchen
- i. Outdoor kitchens will be considered an addition to the house instead of a patio as described in Section 2.17 if they include any of the following items:
- a. A gas connection from a utility company;
- b. A sink with a water connection from or to the City of Houston – for either incoming water or a waste water connection to the sewer system;
- c. A built-in grill or range;
- d. A chimney;
- e. An oven;
- f. A partial or full height wall that partially or fully closes at least one side of the addition;
- g. Any fixed cabinet that houses an oven, range, grill, fridge or sink.
- ii. Any structure that meets any one of the conditions in i above, whether adjoining the existing house or garage or is intended to be free standing in the back yard, must conform to the size restrictions in sub paragraph f of this section 2.1.
- iii. If the addition is deemed to be an outdoor kitchen in accordance with this paragraph, the homeowner will no longer be able to add a patio either to the area deemed as the outdoor kitchen or any other area in the back yard that exceeds one hundred and fifty (150) square feet.
- iv. Outdoor kitchens may have electrical outlets and lights but any such lights shall be in accordance with the rules in Section 2.10 d.
- v. The following items will not be considered an addition to the house if implemented without any of the other qualifying characteristics listed in Section 2.1.k.i above:
- a. A free-standing non-gas grill built on or next to a patio and is no larger than 40 square feet with a maximum length of 10 feet;
- b. A free-standing grill which has a direct connection to a gas line from the utility company.
l. New Residential Dwellings
- i. The definition of a New Residential Dwelling is a dwelling that does not constitute an addition to an existing structure, and is constructed on an empty lot after the Effective Date of this Revision to the ACC Rules
- ii. Demolition of an existing residential dwelling or any existing structure on a lot, including tree removal, shall not begin prior to the ACC written approval of the architectural plans for the replacement structure. The application for approval of demolition shall be part of the application for new construction. The exception being where a dwelling may need to be demolished to avoid being a continued safety issue (e.g. a dwelling is severely damaged by a fire or flood). In this case the dwelling must be demolished as soon as possible to prevent any further risk to the safety of the surrounding neighbors. Homeowners are still required to submit an application to the ACC for the demolition even when there is a safety issue. Such applications will be expedited.
- iii. Design, Materials of Construction, Color selections, etc. shall be consistent with the existing Thornwood Deed Restrictions and ACC Design Rules applicable to existing homes, Section 2 (2.1 through 2.29). The following modifications and clarifications shall apply to New Residential Dwelling Construction:
- Maximum Square Footage
- a. Total constructed footprint of the dwelling and garage and any other structures having a poured concrete foundation may not exceed the percentage of the total area of the lot as set forth below:
Footprint for Maximum percentage
of Total Lot Area
One Story 42% One and half story or two stories 38%
- b. For purposes of calculations the following rules apply:
- i. The total footprint in square feet of the New Residential Dwelling is calculated by using the outside dimensions of the house, garage and any other structure having a poured concrete foundation.
- ii. The total square footage of the lot is calculated from the Replat of Thornwood, Sections One, 2, 3 and 4, A subdivision in Harris County, Texas according to the maps or Plats thereof recorded in Volume 166, Page X of the Map or Plat Records of Harris County, Texas for the specific property in question and using the boundary line dimensions (the metes and bounds) on the plat.
- iii. The area calculated for the total footprint (Section l.iii.b.i). divided by the total square footage of the lot (section l.iii.b.ii) expressed as a percentage shall not exceed the percentages as defined in Section l.iii.a. above
- iv. These percentages in l.iii.a. above apply to the new dwelling construction and include the area of any additional future additions and expansions. For example:
- 1. A new one-story dwelling that has a has a new construction footprint covering 27% of the total lot area shall be eligible for one or more expansions that cumulatively comprise a total area of 15% of the total lot area.
- 2. A two-story home that has a footprint covering 38% of the total lot area shall not be eligible for expansion in the future
- Foundations and Design
- c. All new dwelling construction applications must include a foundation plan reviewed and approved by a Civil or Structural Engineer registered in the State of Texas, based upon an evaluation of sub-soil conditions.
- d. All new dwelling construction applications must include detailed dimensioned drawings that when printed can be scaled accurately. Such plans must include and take into account the following:
- i. Provide a site plan whose dimensions are consistent with the title survey showing the placement of all the structures on the property together with the driveway, pathway and street light. Such plan will reflect all boundary lines, easements, building lines and setbacks.
- ii. The front building setback will be 25 feet from the front property line at linear boundaries, and 15 feet along boundaries that are circular curves.
- iii. The side setback for the dwelling structure will be five feet at the front building line extending to the rear of the house
- iv. The rear-setback building line shall be established from the back-property line and will be eighteen (18) feet for a one-story dwelling structure and thirty (30) feet for any multi-story structure.
- v. A single-story garage structure will have a minimum setback of three feet on side property line, and five feet from the rear property line, but in no case, will the garage be permitted to be placed inside a utility easement.
- vi. A detailed plan of the dwelling and other structures and the location of a street light post on the front of the lot. The street light post shall be placed between 10 and 12 feet from the street curb and be aligned with street light posts of other homes on the street. In addition, the light post shall be placed no more than seven (7) feet from the center line side of the house facing the street and may be placed on either side of the pathway.
- vii. Any lot on which a New Residential Dwelling is constructed must have one (1) garage capable of housing or sheltering not less than two (2) or more than three (3) vehicles subject to the following.
- 1. Neither a carport nor a porte-cochere may serve as a substitute for the required garage.
- 2. A carport or porte-cochere is permitted on a Lot only if there is a garage on the Lot capable of housing or sheltering not less than two (2) or not more than three (3) vehicles.
- 3. All garages shall have vehicle entry door(s) width equal to no less than 8 feet for each of the designated number of vehicles. For example, a two-car garage shall have a total vehicle access door, or doors of no less than 16 feet but no more than 20 feet and a three-car garage shall have total vehicle access door, or doors of no less than 24 feet width but no more than 28 feet.
- 4. The placement of garages for new dwellings shall be consistent with the configurations prevalent for existing homes in Thornwood as follows:
- a. For corner lots, the vehicle access door(s) should be facing the street perpendicular to the front of the house with a short driveway
- b. For other lots, the garage should be a detached from the dwelling structure, with the vehicle access door(s) behind the back line of the house foundation, and facing the street.
- c. Alternative configurations may be proposed for review, but in no case, will a “Front Loading” garage design be acceptable, where “Front Loading” is defined as having vehicle access doors facing the street and along a line that is in front of the rear line of the house foundation.
- viii. Provide side elevations of all sides showing but not limited to, doors windows, eaves, fascia, exterior cladding, balconies, roof heights, roof pitches and roof lines as well as any other related structures indicating the finishes and colors being used on all surfaces including roofs with finish samples submitted with the application.
- ix. Overall height of structure, measured from elevation of the lot at the front set-back line shall conform to the following:
- 1. The maximum height of a one-story home measured at the eaves/fascia board shall be 8 feet
- 2. The maximum height of a home of more than one story measured at the eaves/fascia board shall be no more than 17 feet.
- 3. For one and two-story homes, the roof pitch shall be no less than four (4) inches vertical measurement for every 12 inches horizontal measurement and no more than nine (9) inches vertical measurement for every 12 inches of horizontal measurement.
- 4. For 1.5 story homes, the roof pitch will be no less than four (4) inches vertical measurement for every 12 inches of horizontal measurement and no more than 12 inches in horizontal measurement for every 12 inches of vertical measurement.
- 5. Flat roof designs are not acceptable.
- xi. Provide one or more cross sections of the house at the two highest points of the roof ridgeline.
- xii. Window, door and balcony placements shall be positioned so they do not provide an imposing view on a neighbor’s rear or side yards.
- xiii. Exterior finishes
- 1. No more than two different finishes may be used on the exterior of the New Residential Dwelling and garage
- 2. Masonry material as defined in the Deed Restrictions in Article 5.03 may be brick, stone or similar material and each shall be considered as a separate exterior finish
- 3. When computing the masonry percentages in Article 5.03 of the Deed Restrictions, the area which comprises a door or window opening will be considered to be comprised of the material which encloses the door or window (i.e. frame). If a garage is detached garage and is connected to the New Residential Dwelling by means of a covered walkway or similar structure, the front and sides of the New Residential Dwelling will be computed as if the garage did not exist.
- 4. Exterior finishes exclude exposed cinder blocks, stucco or wood shingles.
- 5. Roofing material is limited to high quality composite shingles or non-reflective metal, steel or aluminum. Copper roofing may be used over bay windows.
- xiv. Provide a drainage plan showing how water will be drained off the lot without affecting neighboring properties.
- Scheduling and Dates
- e. The application submitted for the demolition and new dwelling constructions shall include a proposed schedule which includes:
- i. the anticipated start date of demolition of the existing structures (Start Date) which shall be no sooner than 30 days from the date of the application.
- ii. the anticipated start date of new construction.
- iii. the anticipated completion date provided by the contractor. This date will be considered the Substantial Completion date.
- Tree Preservation
- f. Preservation of trees during demolition and construction:
- i. During the period demolition of an existing dwelling or construction of a New Residential Dwelling occurs on a lot, all trees on the lot, or any adjacent lot where such trees might be affected by such demolition or new construction, trees that are over six (6) inches in diameter (measured 12 inches above the ground level) and are located more than six (6) feet outside the perimeter foundation of the New Residential Dwelling and the garage, will be protected during the demolition and construction period in accordance with the Architectural Guidelines.
- ii. Contractors shall place tree fencing protection material around the trunk of the tree at least five (5) feet away from the trunk in all directions. No construction material or debris shall be allowed inside the protective tree fencing.
- g. Removal of limbs or trees
- i. Any upper limbs that must be removed to accommodate the demolition or constructions shall be identified appropriately on the plans and will require the ACC written approval prior to removal of the limbs.
- ii. If there are existing trees to be removed because they are within six (6) feet of the perimeter foundation(s), those tree(s) shall be identified on the plans and shall be replaced on a one-for-one basis with approved species trees, with a minimum of four (4) inches in diameter, measured twelve (12) inches above the ground, planted at locations to be shown on the approval plans. The removal of trees identified in this sub-section will require written ACC approval prior to the removal of the trees.
- h. To fulfill these requirements, the replacement tree(s) shall be planted on or before the date of Substantial Completion of the New Residential Dwelling.
2.2. Antennas & Satellite Dishes
a: The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) “Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule” found at this source URL: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-reception-devices-rule governs your rights to install, maintain, or use a device defined in the rule which includes satellite dish antenna, video antenna, and local TV signal antenna. However, the Association has a right to enforce a placement preference just as it would enforce any other use restriction found in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, Board policy, or ACC rule.
b. Therefore, the Association prefers that the antenna/dish be placed on the Owner’s property in the following locations, listed in the order in which they should be placed:
- 1. On the back of the house below the roof peak so as to not be readily visible from the street; or
- 2. In the back yard of the house so as to not be readily visible from the street.
c. If the installer can achieve an acceptable quality signal at each of these locations, then the first location should be used. If not, then the second location is acceptable.
d. Under no circumstances should the front of the house be used for antenna location unless it is the only place an acceptable quality signal can be achieved. A signal test should be submitted to the ACC if this is the case. If a dispute arises over the proper placement of the antenna/dish, the Owner gives the Association permission to enter upon the Owner’s property upon no less than 3 days’ notice to the Owner to conduct signal testing of the placement preference locations listed herein without any liability to Owner for trespass.
e. Regardless of where placed, the antenna/dish shall be maintained in good repair.
2.3. Awnings/Window Shades
a. Canvas awnings shall not be permitted to be installed on windows if they are visible from the street, which will include both streets for a corner lot. Awnings over windows or doors shall be earth tone colors and shall be kept in excellent condition at all times or they shall be subject to immediate removal upon notification by the ACC of their unacceptable condition.
b. Awnings shall be allowed for use on playhouses and patio covers, provided they also comply with specified requirements for proper location, color and condition.
c. Metal and wooden slat-type shades shall be allowed by the ACC if they are deemed necessary in reduction of solar exposure and installation on appropriate windows shall be determined by the ACC. At no time, however, shall they be allowed on windows on the front of a residence.
d. Roll-up shutters are permitted as long as the roll-up housing is not visible from the street.
2.4. Basketball Goals
Basketball goals shall be mounted on a garage or placed on the side of the driveway no nearer to the street than the front line of the residence.
Only one pole-mounted birdhouse per lot is allowed. Pole-mounted birdhouses shall not exceed 14 feet in height. All posts or poles supporting birdhouses must be wood, metal or fiberglass, and shall be unobtrusive. The birdhouse itself shall be a color complementary to those of the house. Hanging birdhouses may be placed in trees, on accessory structures, or on the house itself.
2.6. Burglar Bars
Acceptance shall be based on whether the burglar bars are in harmony with the residence and are painted to match exterior trim.
a. Decks are permitted in rear yards only.
b. No decks shall encroach into any easement (City of Houston or utility) unless the easement holder involved has provided written consent prior to submission of the Application and submit that written consent as part of the Application.
c. No decks shall impede drainage on the Lot or cause water to flow on an adjacent Lot.
d. No decks, other than a second level balcony attached to the main residence, shall be constructed more than eighteen inches above ground level.
2.8. Driveways & Front Walks
a. Changes to the existing or as-constructed driveway or front walk of a home require ACC review.
b. Driveways and front walks are to be constructed of concrete, stamped concrete (colored and/or patterned), stone, brick or pavers. The colors shall be an earth tone integral with the material and in harmony with the existing construction and landscaping. Asphalt, dirt or loose stone driveways or parking areas are not permitted. Front walks are those walks from the street curb to the residence.
c. Semi-circular driveways will be reviewed and approved on a case by case basis.
d. Reconstructed or new driveways shall conform to easements and building lines as noted in the Deed Restrictions.
e. Not including semi-circular driveways, homes not located on a corner lot shall maintain a single-car width driveway, no more than 11 feet in width, from the street to the front line of the house.
f. Homes on a corner lot shall maintain a driveway which is no wider than the width of their garage structure and the driveway must connect to the closest street. (For example a lot with a two-car garage will have a driveway the width of a two-car garage and a lot with a three-car garage will have a driveway the width for a three-car garage.)
g. No driveways shall encroach into any utility easement unless the utility companies involved have provided written consent prior to submission of the Application and must be included with the Application.
2.9. Excavation and Drainage
Any excavation or grading of a lot that might affect the natural flow of water must be approved by the ACC. Property owners are responsible for proper drainage of water from their lot to the street.
2.10. Exterior Lighting
a. Thornwood’s original Deed Restrictions note that illumination of the subdivision shall be by individual gas lights on all Lots. The ACC permits either gas lights or converted gas lights located near the center of the Lot, adjacent to the platted right of way limit. Such street lights shall be kept burning/lighted during all hours of darkness by the owner of each Lot.
b. A permitted converted gas light is a gas light that has been converted to an electric light and maintains, as close as possible, the original gas-light appearance. Illumination can be produced by one or multiple light bulbs and must be continuously lighted or controlled by automatic photocell or timer for illumination during all hours of darkness.
c. Open flame lights are not permitted for street-side gas lamp lighting.
d. Other Exterior Lighting considerations include:
- i. Outdoor lighting is not to negatively affect neighboring properties. Outdoor lighting shall be functional and enhance the overall appearance of the residence. Hoods on floodlights to shield glare from neighboring properties are required. Soffit-mounted down lighting and building-mounted lighting shall be subtle. Exterior lights visible from the street must be clear;
- ii. Mercury vapor lights must be aimed or hooded so as not to affect neighboring properties. No mercury vapor lights or single light bulb exceeding a rating of 150 watts will be allowed; and
- iii. Colored lights are not permitted except as part of temporary holiday decorations.
Additional lamp information included in section 2.20.
2.11. Exterior Painting and Siding
a. Earth tone colors were most often used when residences were constructed. Other colors may be acceptable with the prior written approval of the ACC. For the purposes of the Rules, earth tone colors are defined to be those colors that harmonize with the natural color of brick and include white and subdued shades. Day-Glo, fluorescent, metallic and similar shades and colors are not permitted.
b. Aluminum, metal, vinyl or other siding not identical to existing siding may be permitted with written approval. The siding must approximate the appearance of painted wood such that it would be difficult for a layman to determine the siding composition from the street and the color must meet the earth tone color Rules. Existing brick may not be covered.
2.12. Fences and Gates
a. No chain link fences are permitted in accordance with the Deed Restrictions.
b. No fences are permitted forward of the front building line.
c. Fences must be wood-based or if a composite material is used, it must have a wood look or appearance.
d. Perimeter lot fences must be at least 6 feet high but no higher than 8 feet.
e. Fences that abut a property that is not a single-family residence may be up to 10 feet high.
f. When Thornwood neighborhood perimeter fences are replaced, the fence should match abutting perimeter fences.
g. Any gate erected on the driveway requires an ACC review; it shall not be any closer to the street than the front building line. The gate may be operated manually or electronically. The gate shall be made of wrought iron, aluminum or similar material, may not be made of solid panels and may not exceed seven feet in height. A lot owner who intends to place a gate on the property that encroaches on any easement must obtain a written consent from the easement holder (City of Houston or utility) and submit that written consent as part of the Application.
2.13. Garages, Carports and Porte Cochères
a. Changes to the existing or as-constructed garage, or carport and porte cochères or new construction of these structures require ACC review. No structures shall encroach into any utility easement unless the utility companies involved have provided written consent prior to submission of the Application and must be included with the Application. See section 2.1.l.iii.d.vii for where garages must be placed and what size garages are permitted. In no case may a single car garage with a single (or double door) be placed in front of an existing two car garage.
b. All Lots upon which a residence has been constructed shall have a garage capable of housing two but not more than three vehicles unless otherwise approved in writing by the ACC.
c. Where an existing overhead garage door is replaced, no small utility doors visible from the street will be allowed as a substitute.
d. No more than 250 square feet of heated and/or air-conditioned enclosed area on the first floor may be added as a shop, hobby area or quarters for bona fide servants. The ACC will require reasonable proof in the case of servant's quarters.
e. Carports must be designed and built so that the materials, workmanship, and over-all appearance are in harmony with that of the house. Exposed metal supports, corrugated fiberglass, aluminum siding or similar materials are not permitted. Carports may not extend beyond the front line of the residence, and must fit within the designated setbacks.
f. Incorporation of a porte cochère treatment in the design of the home is acceptable, provided that the porte cochère is an integral part of the architectural design of the improvements and shall be constructed of materials, deemed by the ACC, compatible with the overall character and aesthetics of the home.
g. Garages, carports and porte cochères shall be constructed so as to pose no problem to the effective drainage of any Lots.
2.14. Hot Tubs, Spas and Pools
a. Exterior hot tubs, spas and pools are limited to rear yards. All equipment must be fully screened from public view from the street. Only one hot tub or spa is allowed per lot.
b. No hot tub, spa or pool of any type shall encroach into any easement (City of Houston or utility) unless the easement holder has provided written consent prior to submission of the Application and such written consent must be submitted as part of the Application.
2.15. Lot Maintenance
a. Thornwood’s 1998 Amendment on street lights and Lot maintenance reads:
- In the event an Owner of any Lot shall fail to maintain the premises, any existing gas light or the improvements situated thereon in a neat, working, orderly and sanitary manner, the Association shall have the right, through its agents and employees, to enter upon said Lot without liability in trespass or otherwise, and to repair, maintain and restore the Lot and exterior of the building, any gas light and any other improvements erected thereon, all at the expense of Owner. Owner shall pay any invoice for such charges submitted by the Thornwood Fund, Inc. not later than thirty (30) days after the receipt thereof. To secure the payment of such charges in the event of non-payment by the Owner, a vendor’s lien is herein and hereby retained against the Lots in favor the Association but such lien shall be inferior to any purchase money lien or mortgage. Such vendor’s lien shall be applicable and effective whether mentioned specifically in each deed or conveyance of a Lot. Without limiting the foregoing, the amount of such unpaid charges may, at the option of the Association be added to the annual assessment described in Article Seven of these Restrictions, and shall become a charge against such Lot in the same manner as the regular annual assessment. Further, the Thornwood Fund shall have all of the rights and remedies provided in Article Seven hereof to enforce payment of such charges, including, without limitation, the right to assert a lien against any such Lot and foreclosure upon such lien either judicially or non-judicially.
b. This sub-section clarifies the definition of “maintain…in a neat, working, orderly and sanitary manner” in sub section 2.15.a. above:
- i. The Owner or occupant of each Lot must, at all time, keep such Lot in a neat and habitable condition and must keep all weeds, grass, trees, shrubs, bushes, and other foliage thereon cut or edged in a sanitary, healthful, and attractive manner. Dead, diseased or damaged trees, shrubs, or bushes, or any foliage which may create a hazard to property or person on a Lot or adjacent Lot must be promptly pruned or removed; provided, however, all trees on a Lot must be preserved, protected, maintained, removed, and replaced in the manner required by section 2.28 of these rules.
- ii. Mowing and edging of the grass must be done on a regular basis to be in compliance with sub section b.i. above. Grass clippings must be picked up from the street, driveway and pathway
- iii. The grass or landscaping should be watered in a manner so that it is not allowed to die.
- iv. Street light posts and the light housing shall be painted and not show any peeling, or evidence of being worn or cracked.
- v. Mail boxes shall not be allowed to fall into disrepair and shall be functioning at all times.
- vi. Mold, mildew or algae must be removed from siding and/or brick work as soon as it can be seen from the street or is brought to the homeowner’s attention.
- vii. Broken windows, rotting or broken siding, facia boards, eaves, other broken or missing woodwork or similar material must be repaired or replaced within 30 days of first being noticed by the homeowner or being brought to the homeowner’s attention.
An "outbuilding" is defined as any structure of a permanent or temporary character which is not attached to the residence or garage. This definition includes, for example, garden equipment storage buildings, sheds, greenhouses, gazebos, etc.
Outbuildings will conform to the following conditions:
a. No outbuilding shall be erected, altered, placed or permitted to remain on any Lot for use as a residence or contain any residence area.
b. Color(s), materials, and styling shall match/blend with the predominant exterior of the main residence.
c. No outbuilding shall be higher than 8 feet from the ground to the highest point. The outbuilding shall not be forward of the rear building line of the residence, and shall not encroach on easements and shall not be visible from the street in front and/or to the side of the Lot. The location of the outbuilding shall not affect drainage on the owner's or neighboring Lots.
d. Garden equipment storage buildings may be portable, prefabricated buildings no higher than eight feet with no more than 50 square feet of interior space.
e. No outbuildings shall encroach into any utility easement unless the utility companies involved have provided written consent prior to submission of the Application and must be included with the Application.
2.17. Patio and Deck Covers
a. Patio and deck covers shall be constructed of materials which complement the main structure and shall require approval of the ACC. No patio or deck covers shall encroach into any utility easement unless the utility companies involved have provided written consent prior to submission of the Application and must be included with the Application.
b. Patio covers shall be situated on the Lot to provide drainage solely into the Owner's Lot. If a proposed patio cover utilizes a solid roof and slopes toward the side lot line and is less than 5 feet away from a side lot line, the ACC shall require that it be guttered with down spouts positioned so that the drainage does not affect the neighbor’s Lot.
c. Covered patio requirements include:
- i. They cannot be seen from the “front” street;
- ii. They occupy no more than 400 covered square feet if the cover touches two exterior walls of the home, breezeway or garage; patio covers only touching one wall will be evaluated on the impact to neighbors;
- iii. The eaves of the patio are at the same level as the home’s first-story eave;
- iv. They contain no air conditioning or heating;
- v. Any side enclosures consist of screening and not windows and they have no walls;
- vi. If metal building materials are used, they should be of a nonmetallic finish and complement the coloring of the house.
d. Covered areas (including “lean-tos”) meeting the requirements of 2.16.c of these Rules must use colors and materials matching the main residence and may be required to meet the other requirements of Section 2.11 of these Rules.
e. Any homeowner who applies for a patio with any utility services, with or without a deck cover, should review Section 2.1 – Additions – to determine if the patio and/or deck cover is referred to as an Addition under that section.
a. Changes to the existing or as-constructed roofline of a home requires an ACC review and approval.
b. Re-roofing shall be of high quality shingles or the same materials and color of the existing roof. Non-reflective metal, steel or aluminum roofing is also permitted. Owners shall submit a sample with the Application.
c. Copper may be used for roof coverings over bay windows.
2.19. Solar Panels and Solar Hot Water Panels
a. Solar panels and solar hot-water panels are subject to approval by the ACC on a case by case basis.
b. Solar energy devices should not be visible from the street in front of the lot or located in the city right of way, utility easements, front or side setbacks.
c. If roof-mounted to the home, they should not extend higher or beyond the roofline and should conform to the slope of the roof. Frames, support brackets, visible piping, wires and accessories should be roof color and designed to not call attention to itself.
d. If roof-mounted to a pergola or covered rear patio, the tops of solar devices should not be more than 24” above the roofline and conform to the roofline. Frames, support brackets, visible piping, wires and accessories should be roof color and designed to not call attention to itself.
2.20. Street Lamps (Resolution passed at Thornwood Neighborhood’s Annual Meeting in September 2013)
In accordance with the results of Thornwood’s September 2013 election, the ACC will work with the board to enforce the New Lot Owner – Working Street Lamp Requirement. It states:
a. Upon the transfer of title of any Lot in Thornwood, the owner is responsible for functioning street lighting within 90 days of the title transfer. The street lighting’s appearance must be consistent with Thornwood’s current “individual gas lights” and positioned in accordance with the requirements in Section 2.10.
b. Gas-illuminated or electric-powered street lights shall be kept burning during all hours of darkness by new owner or resident. Electric-illuminated street lights are approved when regulated by automatic control; either a photoelectric cell or timer. Open flame or solar lights are not approved; lighting must meet all code requirements.
c. Lots not in compliance face a $50 fine on the 91st day and $25 each additional 30 days for no lighting or for unapproved lighting; it is the responsibility of the Lot owner to notify the homeowner’s association when compliance issues have been repaired.
2.21. Swing Sets, Playground Equipment, Playhouses, Tree Houses and Forts.
Swing sets, playhouses, forts and other playground equipment meeting the ACC Rules do not require prior approval of the ACC. All other situations will be approved based upon impact to neighbors.
2.22. Ventilation/Rooftop Appendages
a. Low-profile ridge vents are approved.
b. Ridge vents shall be a color which blends with the shingle color.
c. Wind turbines and automatic attic fans should be mounted in the rear portion of the roof and not protrude above the roof line so that they are not visible from the street.
d. Attic ventilators are recommended to be the "pancake" low-profile type where possible, and must be of a color that blends with the roof shingle color.
e. Where possible, attic ventilators and other rooftop appendages shall be located on the rear slopes of the roof, shall not be above the roof ridge, and shall not to be visible from the street.
f. Vent hoods shall be a color consistent with the house.
2.23. Window and Mini-Split Air Conditioners
a. Window and Mini Split air conditioners shall not be visible from the street in front of the Lot.
b. New construction must be cooled with central air conditioning.
2.24. Flag Display
a. Current and historical flags of the United States, State of Texas and branches of the United States Armed Forces may be displayed according to the Rules of those organizations; federal and state laws and etiquette outlined by the Veterans of Foreign Wars must also be observed. Deteriorated flags and unusable flagpoles must be removed immediately. Flags must be displayed on a purpose-built flagpole and flags should not be larger than four feet by six feet.
b. Flagpoles securely attached to the home or a tree may be up to six feet long and at an angle between 30 and 45 degrees. If mounted on the home, the brackets should be mounted to the first story of a home and be accessible from the ground. They should be located in the front yard and the flag should not fly in the city right of way, utility easements or side setbacks. Only one flag may be displayed on an attached flagpole.
c. Freestanding flagpoles may be up to 20 feet tall and located in the front yard and the flag should not fly in the city right of way, utility easements or inside the side setbacks. Up to two flags may be displayed on a freestanding flagpole between 14 and 20 feet tall.
d. This provision shall be subject to the provisions of Section 202.012 of the Texas Property Code, as amended.
2.25. Holiday, Religious, Seasonal and Other Displays
a. Holiday, seasonal and other displays must be of good taste. Displays of violence, gore, illegal activities and improper behavior are not permitted.
b. Religious displays may not be displayed seven days after the end of the religious/liturgical season or for more than 50 days per calendar year.
c. Two dimensional displays may not be more than 50 square feet in total in either display or footprint. Three dimensional displays are also limited to 250 cubic feet.
d. Displays must be stable, secured and in good condition.
2.26 Rain Barrels
a. Rain barrels and systems must be color consistent with the color scheme of the home and should blend with the home and its landscaping.
b. All components other than gutters and downspouts must be screened from street view. This includes filters, pumps, motors, pipes, and hoses.
c. Rain barrels may not display logos, images, or words, and may be regulated by size, type, and material.
d. Open tops are prohibited. Barrels must be animal and child proof, and have mosquito control at all times.
e. Overflow and input screens must be used. Harvested water must not be allowed to become stagnant, and must be drained if this occurs. Inoperable and unused systems must be removed.
2.27 Composting Bins
a. Compost bins and their location must be approved by the ACC and must not be visible from the street.
b. Individual bins may not exceed 5’ X 5’ X 5’ or 125 cubic feet and must be made of durable material. Durable materials include commercially constructed bins, hardwoods or Hardiplank.
c. Compost bins must be managed to eliminate impact on neighbors - unsightliness and odors.
d. Bins must be dismantled and material removed if they are not maintained or if they are abandoned.
2.28. Tree Removal
No living tree greater than six inches in diameter as measured at a point two feet above natural grade may be removed without prior written approval. Trees to be removed must be flagged on site.
a. Conditions for Removal
- Approval for tree removal will be considered if the tree:
- Is located within five feet from a house or other existing permanent structure (i.e., garage, driveway, swimming pool or pool decking).
- Can be demonstrated to pose a safety hazard to persons or property through a written statement provided from a third-party certified arborist or other qualified individual with a degree in forestry.
- Is within five feet from the area proposed for the construction of a house, garage, driveway or pool and pool decking.
- Is considered an invasive and hazardous tree or plant. The Houston Area Urban Forestry Council and Native Plant Society of Texas maintains a list of native trees.
- Has been determined as damaged, diseased or otherwise hazardous by a third-party certified arborist or other qualified individual with a degree in forestry.
- Any living tree removed from the lot may require replacement. Replacement trees must be a minimum of 15-gallon trees that are watered, fed, staked and trimmed as necessary to promote healthy growth.
- Excellent native trees for replacement include:
- American basswood
- American elm
- American holly
- American hornbeam
- American persimmon
- American plane tree
- Arrowwood viburnum
- Bald cypress
- Black walnut
- Black willow
- Cedar elm
- Deciduous holly
- Green (swamp) ash
- Green hawthorn
- Gum bumelia
- Hop hornbeam
- Laurel oak
- Loblolly pine
- Longleaf pine
- Magnolia grandiflora
- Parsley hawthorn
- Pignut hickory
- Post oak
- Red bay
- Rusty blackhaw
- Shumard red oak
- Southern red oak
- Swamp laurel oak
- Toothache tree
- Water hickory
- Water oak
- White (upland) ash
- White oak
- Willow oak
- Winged elm
2.29 Window and Door Additions or Enlargements
Any changes to the as-constructed or current structural design of the home requires ACC approval.
No new window, door or balcony shall be placed such that it offers a greater or imposing view of a neighbor's rear or side yard.
3.1. Community Spaces
The ACC oversight extends to the landscaping of all Lots and Thornwood community spaces, pools, and parks.
Responses to neighbor complaints about Lots in the neighborhood will be addressed by the ACC and enforced by the Board using prescribed remedies.
Thornwood's deed restrictions are based on the original documents filed with the Harris County Clerk's office back when each section was founded and additional amendment documents that were ratified by a majority of homeowners from each section and subsequently filed with the county over the years. For this reason, there is no single document on file that defines all of the restrictions in effect for Thornwood homeowners. This makes it a challenge to assess exactly what restrictions are in effect when referring to the original documents. The version below attempts to address this challenge by coalescing the restrictions currently in effect into a single document.
Any reference to "Section One" of Thornwood below applies to all sections. There are separate documents for each section, but they are identical except for the section they refer to.
This consolidated version of the deed restrictions is not legally binding. It was developed on a best effort basis as a convenience to homeowners. In case of any discrepancy, the original documents on file with the county prevail.
CONDITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS OF THORNWOOD
The following is an easy to read consolidation of Thornwood’s founding documents, 1984 amendments and 1998 amendments. The originals of these documents are preserved on the community web site at Governing Documents.
Thornwood Fund, Inc., a Texas non-profit corporation is hereby designated the agent for the administration of the civic affairs of Thornwood Sections One, II, III and IV, which agency shall include the collection and expenditure of maintenance funds as hereinafter established with respect to Thornwood Sections One, II, III and IV. Nothing contained herein shall be deemed to preclude the Owner of any Lot from enforcing these restrictions in his own name or from being an action at law or in equity to preserve or protect his interest in his property or to enforce his rights as set forth herein.
2.01 “Owner” shall mean and refer to the record Owner, whether one or more persons or entities, of the fee simple title to any Lot or portion of a Lot on which there is or will be built a detached single family dwelling, including contract sellers, but excluding those having such interest merely as security for the performance of an obligation.
2.02 “Lot” shall mean and refer to that portion of any of the plots of land shown upon the plat and subdivision map recorded in Volume 143 at Page 51 of the Real Property Records of Harris County, Texas, on which there is or will be built a single family dwelling. The term “Lot” shall not include the Common Area nor any other reserves shown on the said map or plot.
3.01 There is hereby established an Architectural Control Committee consisting of not less than three (3) qualified persons, which committee shall serve at the pleasure of Thornwood Fund, Inc. Such committee shall be appointed by the President of Thornwood Fund, Inc. at the meeting of the trustees next following the annual meeting and election of officers of the corporation.
3.02 No building, fence, wall or other structure shall be commenced, erected, or maintained upon any Lot in the subdivisions, nor shall any exterior addition to, or change in roofs and/or roofing materials, nor shall any substantial or material modification of landscaping of any Lots be undertaken, until the plans and specifications showing the nature, kind, shape, height, materials, and location of the same shall have been submitted to, and approved in writing by, the Architectural Control Committee as to harmony of external design and location in relation to surrounding structures and topography.
3.03 In the event that any plans are specifications are submitted to the Architectural Control Committee as provided herein, and such Committee shall fail either to approve or reject such plans and specifications for a period of thirty days following such submission, approval by the Committee shall not be required, and full compliance with this Article shall be deemed to have been had. In the event such plans and specifications are disapproved by the Architectural Control Committee, then the Owner requesting such approval may submit such plans and specifications to the Board of Trustees of Thornwood Fund, Inc. with a request for approval at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Trustees following the disapproval of said plans and specifications by the Architectural Control Committee. The decision of the Board of Trustees in this regard shall be final and conclusive.
4.01 (1998) The Owner of any Lot upon which there presently exists a gas light shall maintain said gas light in good and safe working order and keep said gas light in continue operation for the purpose of illumination of the subdivision. In the event an Owner of any Lot shall fail to maintain the premises, any existing gas light or the improvements situated thereon in a neat, working, orderly and sanitary manner, the Thornwood Fund, Inc. shall have the right, through its agents and employees, to enter upon said Lot without liability in trespass or otherwise, and to repair, maintain, and restore the Lot and exterior of the building, any gas light and any other improvements erected thereon, all at the expense of Owner. Owner shall pay any invoice for such charges submitted by the Thornwood Fund, Inc. not later than thirty (30) days after the receipt thereof. To secure the payment of such charges in the event of non-payment by the Owner, a vendor’s lien is herein and hereby retained against the Lots in favor of the Thornwood Fund, Inc. but such lien shall be inferior to any purchase money lien or mortgage. Such vendor’s lien shall be applicable and effective whether mentioned specifically in each deed or conveyance of a Lot. Without limiting the foregoing, the amount of such unpaid charges may, at the option of the Thornwood Fund, Inc., be added to the annual assessment described in Article Seven of these Restrictions, and shall become a charge against such Lot in the same manner as the regular annual assessment. Further, the Thornwood Fund shall have all f the rights and remedies provided in Article Seven hereof to enforce payment of such charges, including, without limitation, the right to assert a lien against any such Lot and foreclose upon such lien either judicially or non-judicially.
5.01 (1998) All Lots shall be used and occupied for single family residential purposes only. All dwellings situated upon the Lots shall be occupied at all times, and used in a manner consistent with these Restrictions; provided, however, a dwelling upon a Lot may remain vacant for a reasonable period of time while a bona fide effort is being made by the Owner thereof to sell any such Lot.
5.02 No building shall be erected, altered, placed, or permitted to remain on any Lot other than one detached single family dwelling not to exceed two storied in height and a private garage for not more than three (3) automobiles.
5.03 Any single story residence constructed on said Lots must have a ground floor area of not less than 2,000 square feet, exclusive of open or screened porches, terraces, patios, driveways, carports and garages. Any residence other than a single story residence must have not less than 1,300 square feet of ground floor living area, exclusive of open or screened porches, terraces, patios, driveways, carports and garages. The front and each side exterior walls of any residence shall consist of not less than 51% masonry construction.
5.04 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 set back lines shown on the recorded plat. No side yards at the front building set back line shall be less than 5 feet. For the purpose of this covenant, eves, steps and open porches shall not be considered as part o f the building; provided, however, that this shall not be constructed to permit any portion of the building on any Lot to encroach on another Lot. If two or more Lots, or fractions thereof, are consolidated into a building site in conformity with the provisions of Paragraph 5.05, these building setback provisions shall be applied to such resultant building as if it were one original, platted lot.
5.05 None of said Lots shall be subdivided in any fashion except that any person owning two or more adjoining Lots may consolidate such Lots into a single building site, with the privilege of constructing improvements as permitted in Paragraphs 5.02, and 5.03 hereof on such resulting building site.
5.06 The provisions of Sections 5.02, 5.03, 5.04, and 5.05 of this Article shall not apply to any residence which does not comply with the standards set forth in said section of this Article if said residence exists at the time this document is filed for record in the deed records of Harris County, Texas. If any such residence shall be destroyed, or demolished or razed after the effective date of this instrument, then any replacement residence and the appurtenances thereto shall be subject to the restrictions set forth in Sections 5.02, 5.03, 5.04, and 5.05 of this Article 5.
5.07 Easements for the installation and maintenance of utilities and drainage facilities are reserved as shown on the recorded plat. No utility company, water district, political subdivision, or other authorized entity using the easements hereinafter referred to shall be liable for any damage done by them or their assigns, agents, employees, or servants, to shrubbery, trees, or flowers, or to other property of the Owner situated within such easement.
5.08 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 neighbor.
5.09 No structure of a temporary character, trailer, mobile home, basement, tent, shack, garage, or other outbuilding shall be used on any Lot at any time as a residence, either temporarily or permanently.
5.10 No signs of any character shall be allowed on any Lot except one of not more than five square feet advertising the property for sale or rent.
5.11 No oil well drilling, oil development operations, oil refining, quarrying, or mining operations of any kind shall be permitted on the Lot, nor shall oil wells, tanks, tunnels, mineral excavations, or shafts be permitted on any Lot. No derrick or other structure designed for use in the boring for oil, natural gas, or other minerals shall be erected, maintained, or permitted on any Lot.
5.12 (1998) No Lot shall be used or maintained as a dumping ground for rubbish or trash and no materials, items or things shall be stored or kept upon any Lot. No garbage, waste or other discarded matter shall be kept except in closed, sanitary containers. Recycling bins for recyclable items and materials shall be permitted to be placed at the curb in front of any Lot for regular pick up of such items and materials if all of the following conditions are met: (1) the private or governmental entity providing the recycling service requires the recycling bins to be placed at the front curb; (2) recyclable materials are kept in clean, well-maintained and closed containers or bins to be used for such purposes; (3) such recycling bins or containers shall not be placed at the front curb any earlier than 6:00 o’clock p.m. of the day before a regularly scheduled pickup of such recyclable materials; and, (4) all of such recycling bins shall be removed from the front of all Lots no later than 7:00 o’clock p.m. on the day of a regularly scheduled pickup of such recyclable materials.
5.13 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 of any commercial purpose.
5.14 No fence, wall, or hedge shall be placed, or permitted to remain, on any Lot nearer to the street or streets adjoining such Lot than is permitted for the main residence of such Lot, except for decorative subdivision entry fences.
5.15 No shrub or tree planting which obstructs sight lines at elevations between two and six feet above the roadway shall be planted or permitted to remain on any corner Lot within the triangular area formed by the curblines of such intersecting streets and a line connecting such curbline at points twenty-five feet from their intersection, or, in the case of a rounded corner, from the intersection of the curblines as extended. The same sightline limitations shall apply on any Lot within ten feet of the intersection of a street curbline and the edge of a driveway. No trees shall be permitted to remain within such distances of such intersections unless the foliage line is maintained at a height of more than six feet above the ground.
5.16 Except as hereinafter provided, no truck, bus, camper, recreational vehicle, boat, or trailer shall be left in the street in front of any Lot except for construction and repair equipment while a residence or residences are being built or repaired in the immediate vicinity, an no truck, bus, camper, recreational vehicle, boat, or trailer shall be parked on the driveway or any portion of the Lot in such a manner as to be visible from the street. There are specifically exempted from the provisions of this section those vehicles commonly known as pickup trucks, which are used primarily for regular transportation of the Owner of any Lot or the family members of any such Owner and trucks and vans designed for transportation of passengers, (such as those vehicles known by trade names of “Blazer”, “Bronco”, “Suburban Wagon”, and those vehicles of a similar type) and which are primarily used for regular transportation of the Owners of Lots in the neighborhood and their family members.
5.17 No professional, businesses, or commercial activity to which the general public is invited shall be conducted on any lot.
6.01 All easements for the installation and maintenance of utilities and drainage facilities are reserved and shown on the plat recorded in Volume 143 at Page 51 of the Map and Plat Records of Harris County, Texas. Right of ingress and egress shall be had at all times over any dedicated easement, and for the installation, operation, maintenance, repair, or removal of any utility, together with the right to remove any obstruction that may be placed in such easement which would constitute interference with the use, maintenance, operation, or installation of such utility.
6.02 An electrical distribution system has been installed to serve all lots in the neighborhood. The Owner of each lot shall, at his own cost and expense, furnish, install, own, and maintain (all in accordance with the requirements of local governmental authorities and the National Electrical Code) a service cable and appurtenances from the meter installed upon the Lot by the electric company to such point as may be designated by such company on the property line of such Lot. The company furnishing electric service shall make the necessary connection at the property line and the meter. Each owner shall also install, furnish, own, and maintain at his own cost and expense a meter loop (in accordance with the current standards and specifications of the electric company) for the residence constructed on the Lot. For so long as service is maintained, the electric service to each Lot shall be uniform in character and exclusive of the type known as single-phase 120/240 volt, 3-wire, 60 cycle alternating current.
ARTICLE SEVEN (1998)
7.01 Each Lot in Thornwood, Section One, is hereby subjected to and charged with an annual maintenance assessment, and each owner of any Lot by acceptance of a deed therefore, whether or not I shall be so expressed in such deed, is deemed to covenant and agree to pay to the Thornwood Fund, Inc., (1) annual assessment, and (2) special assessments for general expenditures and capital improvements, such assessments to be established and collected as hereinafter provided. The annual and special assessments, together with interest costs, late fees and reasonable attorney’s fees, shall be a charge on the Lot and shall be a continuing lien upon such property against which each such assessment is made. Each such assessment, together with interest, costs, late fees and reasonable attorney’s fees, shall be the personal obligation of the person who was the Owner of such property at the time when the assessment fell due. The personal obligation for delinquent assessments shall not pass to his successors in title unless expressly assumed by them.
7.02 The assessments levied by the Thornwood Fund, Inc., shall be used exclusively to promote the recreation, health, safety and welfare of the residents in Thornwood, and for the improvement and maintenance of common areas, if any. The powers of the Thornwood Fund, Inc. shall include, by way of example but without limitation, at its sole discretion, any and all of the following: maintaining streets, sidewalks, parkways, repair of the walkways, steps, entry gates, or fountain areas, if any; maintaining rights-of-way, easements, esplanades and/or operating expenses of recreation areas, if any, payment of all legal and other expenses incurred in connection with the enforcement of all recorded covenants, restrictions, and conditions affecting Thornwood, to which the maintenance fund applies; payment of all reasonable and necessary expenses in connection with the collection and administration of the maintenance assessment: employing policemen, watchmen and firemen if desired; caring for vacant Lots, fogging for insect control, landscaping, for back door garbage and rubbish pickup; and doing any other thing necessary or desirable in the opinion of the Thornwood Fund, Inc. To keep the properties in the subdivision neat and in good order, or which is considered of general benefit to the Owners or occupants of Thornwood. The use of maintenance assessment funds is permissive and not mandatory and the decisions of the Thornwood Fund, Inc. in the expenditure of said funds shall be final and conclusive so long as made in good faith.
7.03 The annual and special assessments shall be fixed at a uniform rate for each Lot as herein below set forth. The annual maintenance assessment pursuant to Section 7.01 of these Restrictions, shall begin to accrue on each and every Lot one the date these Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions are recorded. All maintenance assessments on all Lots will be assessed and collected annually, in advance, and shall be due and payable on January 1 of the calendar year for which such maintenance charges are assessed (the “Assessment Year”). The rate at which each Lot will be assessed will be determined annually, and may be adjusted from ear to year by the Board of Trustees of the Thornwood Fund, Inc., as the needs of the subdivision may require, in the judgment of the Board of Trustees of the Thornwood Fund, Inc. Such annual assessments shall be uniform as to each Lot and in o event will such assessment exceed $495.00 per Lot per year (the “Maximum Annual Assessment”), unless the Maximum Annual Assessment is increased as provided in these Restrictions. The Thornwood Fund, Inc. may collect special assessments in addition to annual assessments whenever the members so vote as provided for herein.
7.04 The annual assessment may be increased to meet the budgetary needs of the Thornwood Fund, Inc. during any Assessment Year only as follows: (I) the Board of Trustees is hereby empowered to increase the annual assessment of $355 by not more than five percent (5%) each Assessment Year, which increase shall be accumulative and effective for the Assessment Year for which such increase is enacted and each Assessment Year thereafter; (ii) any increase which exceeds the Maximum Annual Assessment must be approved by a majority of the members of the Thornwood Fund, Inc., who are present and voting, in person or by proxy, at a regular or special meeting duly called for this purpose, one vote per Lot. Such increase in the amount of the Maximum Annual Assessment shall be effective only for the Assessment Year for which such increase is approved. The Board of Trustees may fix the annual assessment as provided for herein, at an amount not to exceed the Maximum Annual Assessment allowed by this Article, and shall fix the amount of the annual assessment against each Lot at least thirty (30) days in advance of the annual assessment period, which shall begin on the first day of January of each year. Written notice of such annual assessment, together with a copy of the budget proposed by the Board of Trustees for the relevant Assessment Year, shall be sent to every Owner subject thereto. The dates for such notice shall be established by the Board of Trustees but in no event shall such dates be less than thirty (30) days in advance of the due date.
7.05 In addition to the annual assessment authorized above, the Thornwood Fund, Inc. may levy, in any Assessment Year, a special assessment applicable to that Assessment Year only for the purpose of defraying, in whole or in part, the cost of any construction, reconstruction, repair or replacement of a capital improvement upon any common area including fixtures and personal property related thereto, provided that any such assessment shall have the assent of two-thirds (2/3) of the votes of the members who are voting in person or by proxy at a regular or special meeting duly called for this purpose, one vote per Lot. Such special assessment shall be due, owing and payable not later than thirty (30) days after the date upon which such special assessment is approved in accordance with the provisions of this Section.
7.06 Any annual or special assessment not paid within thirty (30) days after the due date shall bear interest from the due date at the rate of ten percent (10%) per annum. A late charge in an amount to be determined by the Board of Trustees of the Thornwood Fund, Inc. shall be assessed on all delinquent regular and special assessments. The Thornwood Fund, Inc. may bring an action at law against the Owner personally obligated to pay the same, or foreclose the lien against the property either judicially or non-judicially. No owner may waive or otherwise escape liability for the assessments provided herein by non-use of the facilities or services provided by the Thornwood Fund, Inc. or by abandonment of his Lot or for any other reason. The Thornwood Fund, Inc. shall have the discretionary right to withhold services to any Lot for failure to pay any annual or special assessment. These annual maintenance assessments shall continue as long as these Restrictions and any amendments hereto are in effect.
7.07 To secure the payment of the maintenance assessments and all special assessments established hereby and to be levied on the Lots, there is hereby created against each Lot, and further reserved in each deed for each Lot in Thornwood, Section One, (whether specifically stated therein or not) a Vendor’s Lien for the benefit of the Thornwood Fund, Inc. said lien to be enforceable by such beneficiary through appropriate proceedings at law or by any means allowable by law; provided, however, that each such lien shall be secondary, subordinate and inferior to all liens, present and future given, granted and created by or at the instance and request of the Owner of any such Lot to secure the payment of monies advanced on account of the purchase price and/or the payment of monies advanced on account of the purchase price and/or the construction of improvements on any such Lot to the extent of any such maintenance fund assessment or annual or special assessments accrued and unpaid prior to foreclosure of any such purchase money lien or construction lien. Further, as a condition precedent to any proceeding by the Thornwood Fund, Inc. to enforce such lien upon any Lot upon which there is an outstanding valid and subsisting first mortgage lien, for the aforesaid purpose or purposes, the Thornwood Fund, Inc. shall give the holder of such first mortgage lien thirty (30) days written notice of such proposed action, which notice shall be sent to the nearest office of such first mortgage holder by prepaid U.S. Mail, and shall contain a statement of the delinquent maintenance assessments or annual or special assessments upon which the proposed action is based. Failure to give such notice shall not invalidate any foreclosure sale held to enforce any maintenance lien. Upon the request of any such first mortgage lien holder, the Thornwood Fund, Inc. shall acknowledge in writing its obligation to give the foregoing notice with respect to the particular Lot covered by such mortgage lien to the holder thereof. The sale or transfer of any Lot pursuant to mortgage foreclosure or any proceeding connected therewith shall extinguish the lien of such assessment as to payments which became due prior to such sale or transfer. No sale or transfer shall relieve such Lot from liability for any assessments thereafter becoming due or from the lien thereon.
8.01 Thornwood Fund, Inc. or any Owner shall have the right to enforce, by any proceeding at law or in equity, all restrictions, conditions, and reservations now or hereafter imposed by the provisions of this instrument. Failure to enforce any covenant or restriction herein contained shall in no event be deemed a waiver of the right to do so thereafter.
8.02 Invalidation of any one of these covenants or restrictions by judgment or court offer shall in no way affect other provisions, and all other provisions shall remain in full force and effect.
8.03 The covenants, conditions, and restrictions of this instrument shall run with the land, and shall inure to the benefit of, and be enforceable by, the undersigned or the Owner of any Lot subject to this instrument and their respective legal representatives, heirs, successors, and assigns, and , unless amended as provided herein, shall be effective for a term of twenty (20) years from the date this instrument is recorded, after which time said covenants, conditions, and restrictions shall be automatically extended for successive periods of ten (10) years. The covenants, conditions, and restrictions of this instrument may be amended during the first twenty (20) year period or during any succeeding ten (10) year period, by an instrument in writing signed by not less than 51% of the Lot Owners. No amendment shall be effective unless filed in the Real Property Records of Harris County, Texas, nor until the approval of any governmental regulatory body which is required shall have been obtained.
9.01 This instrument is executed by the undersigned, constituting a majority of Owners of Lots in Thornwood Section One, II, III and IV as a declaration of restrictions and covenants governing property and Lots in Thornwood. This instrument shall not be effective and shall not be filed for record unless identical restrictions and covenants are executed by a majority of Owners of Lots in all sections of Thornwood.
ARTICLE TEN (1998)
10.01 No Common Area, as reflected on the subdivision plat recorded in the Harris County Map Records, may be sold, conveyed or otherwise disposed of without the assent of the two-thirds (2/3) of the votes of the members who are voting in person or by proxy at a regular or s special meeting of members, one vote per Lot. Such Common Area shall include, but shall not be limited to, areas used as parks, other greenbelt areas, and esplanades, if any. Any purported sale or conveyance of any such Common Area shall be void unless approved in accordance with this Article Ten.
10.02 Except for the Amendments herein expressly set forth, all of the other terms, conditions, reservations, restrictions, covenants, obligations, assessments, liens and provisions of the Restrictive Covenants and any amendments thereto shall remain and continue in full force and effect.
10.03 The terms and provisions of this Amendment shall apply to, be binding upon and insure to the benefit of the present and future Lot Owners in Thornwood, the Thornwood Fund, Inc., and their respective successors and assigns.
10.04 These Amendments are expected by the undersigned, constituting a majority of the Owners of Lots in Thornwood, Section One. These Amendments shall not be effective and shall not be filed for record in the Real Property Records of Harris County, Texas unless similar documents containing amendments identical to those contained herein are executed by a majority of the Owners of Lots in Thornwood, Section II, Thornwood, Section III, and Thornwood, Section IV and unless said documents are also filed for record in the Real Property Records of Harris County, Texas.