Guideline No. 41 – Rain Barrels

 Rain barrels, or rainwater storage containers, capture rainwater and hold it for later use on lawns, gardens, and indoor plants. Collecting rain runoff in rain barrels reduces the amount of water that flows from a property, reduces erosion, and conserves water. An Exterior Alteration Application for consideration by the RHAC is required when placing a rain barrel on your property.

Exterior Alteration Application Requirements
  • A diagrammed plot plan showing the location of no more than one rain barrel located at each downspout on your property. Rain barrels shall be placed on a level surface and secured so as not to topple.
  • Rain barrels must not exceed a sixty-five-gallon capacity limit and may be constructed of either vinyl material to match the siding or trim of the house or unstained wood material.
  • Rain barrels must be maintained at all times and should be free of standing water on or around anything not used as part of the rain barrel system, must be conducted including the use of the collected water, mosquito screens or dunks (that kill mosquito larvae, but are harmless to birds, wildlife, and pets) to prevent breeding, and have an annual inspection for cracks, leaks, or debris.
  • A properly diagrammed plan to properly divert the drainage/overflow/runoff from the rain barrel onto the neighboring properties, common areas, or open space.
Approval

Your application will most likely be approved if the following criteria are met:

  1. The rain barrel is located on the property at a downspout.
  2. The rain barrel is secured so as not to topple.
  3. The rain barrel is placed on a level surface.
  4. The rain barrel does not exceed 65 gallon capacity and 48 inches in height.
  5. Vinyl barrels, match either the siding or downspout color.
  6. Wooden rain barrels remain natural, i.e. unstained.
  7. No more than two (2) rain barrels are proposed.
  8. Information is provided on how mosquitoes will be prevented.

NOTE: Rain barrels must be maintained at all times and should be kept free of standing water on or around anything not used as part of the rain barrel system. The rain barrel drainage must be properly diverted and may not flow onto neighboring properties, common areas or open space.

During the winter season, rain barrels should be stored and/or all water removed or maintained in such a way that water will not get into the receptacle and freeze. These steps will ensure prolonged barrel life and avoid maintenance issues.

Guideline No. 45 – Retaining Walls

An Exterior Alteration Application is required for all retaining walls. Retaining walls and rock walls require thought and planning just like any other building project. Soil properties, wall height, wall type or function, drainage discharge loads, adjacent grading, etc. must be taken into consideration.

Exterior Alteration Application Requirements

The applications must include:

  • Diagrammed plot plan with the location of the retaining walls. Note: Applications without a diagrammed plot plan will not be accepted.
  • List of materials and colors and or a brochure or sample, if applicable.
  • Grading diagram.
  • Drainage diagram.
  • Completed cross-sectional drawing of wall to scale.
  • Elevation view from low grade side of wall drawn to scale.
Approval

Your application will most likely be approved if it meets the following criteria:

  1. Exposed height of the retaining wall does not exceed 36 inches.
  2. Materials compliment the character of the house.
  3. Long expanses of walls are broken up with insets or change of materials.
  4. Retaining walls do not block or affect an existing swale or drainage path in a manner to cause damming and small shallow pools/puddles.
  5. Site plans show water run-off (use arrows to indicate the flow of water).
  6. The location of the retaining wall cannot obstruct any swales or natural water run-off.
  7. No part of a retaining wall 36 inches or higher extends across the building restriction line (BRL), (typically 7.5 or more feet from the property line).

NOTE: Homeowners will be responsible for all safety concerns including any need for a railing on the retaining wall. Homeowners will coordinate with Howard County for all necessary permit requirements.

Guideline No. 47 – Screening

An Exterior Alteration Application must be submitted for screening of any kind.

Exterior Alteration Application Requirements

The application must include:

  • Diagrammed plot plan including a scaled drawing of the item to be screened. Note: Applications without a diagrammed plot plan will not be accepted.
  • Location, variety, width, height, and description of landscape screening.
  • Detailed landscape plan for screening.
  • The size of all trees and shrubs at planting and the projected size at maturity.
  • Any existing landscaping and/or fences.
  • Description of the material of the fence(s) as well as the height, style, material, and color if a fence or partition will be used as screening. See GUIDELINE No.17—FENCING.
Approval

Your application will most likely be approved if it meets the following criteria:

  1. That particular attention is paid to the RHAC recommendations for deciduous or coniferous type plantings, whichever is more appropriate.
  2. Trees are not planted in a row in the form of a hedge or barrier.
  3. A variety of plant materials are used.
  4. Plant materials are clustered or staggered.
  5. The scale of screening is considered.
  6. Opaque plantings of trees or shrubbery are not used along property lines as delineation or otherwise planted in a row.

NOTE: Landscape or fence screening may be required as part of, but not limited to, the following exterior alterations: antennas and satellite dishes, basketball units, clotheslines, compost piles, dog houses, driveways, vegetable gardens, heating and air conditioning units, hot tubs and whirlpools, lawn ornamentation, patios, and walkways, play equipment, pools, sheds and storage units.

Guideline No. 49 – Sheds and Storage

An Exterior Alteration Application must be submitted for all sheds and outside storage sites. This includes any permanent structure built to house tools and provide extra storage outside the existing house.

Exterior Alteration Application Requirements

The application must include:

  • Diagrammed plot plan which shows the relationship of the shed to the house and property lines. Note: Applications without a diagrammed plot plan will not be accepted.
  • Statement as to the architectural style of the house/townhouse.
  • List of materials to be used. Include a description of the color along with all color samples (e.g., shed, house and trim).
  • Detailed drawing of the shed including elevation drawings.
  • Dimensions, style, and location of door(s).
  • A description of proposed landscape screening, if applicable. See GUIDELINE No.47—SCREENING.
Approval

 

  1. The shed will most likely be approved if the following criteria are met:
  2. Shed is located behind the house and as close to the rear of the house as possible. Sheds attached to the house are preferred. If a more desirable location such as the back of the owner’s lot in a heavily wooded area is available, the RHAC will give it consideration.
  3. FOR SHEDS ATTACHED TO THE REAR OF THE HOUSE: The shed is a sturdy, permanently anchored structure, which will be maintained.
  4. FOR SHEDS IN OTHER LOCATIONS ON THE LOT: The shed structure door/opening faces towards the homeowner’s property.
  5. Material is similar to the house (e.g., wood for wood siding houses). Composite material may be considered if it matches the style and material look of the house and is of the same quality and color. If the house is restyled, resided or paint color change is made, the shed must match.
  6. The shed does not include decorative embellishments (e.g., eagles, etc.). These are typically not approved.
  7. Size is based on lot size and is in reasonable proportion to the house and/or fenced area.
  8. Appropriate screening is provided where applicable. See GUIDELINE No.47­­—SCREENING.

NOTE: Townhouse and condominium associations may have further restrictions on sheds, so please check with your local association. The most restrictive guidelines will apply. Townhouse sheds will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.