Make a New Year’s Resolution to Be a Good Neighbor

It’s the dawn of a new year, and what better time to reflect upon your interactions with those who live closest to you: your neighbors. When is the last time you even spoke to the people that live on your street? We all get so wrapped up in our own lives, our kids’ busy schedules, demanding careers, and other obligations, that we often lose sight of the importance of feeling a sense of community in the place we call home. There are many ways to be “neighborly,” and we should all make more of an attempt to be a good neighbor to others. Here are some suggested ways to go about it.
Have you ever thought about those unique cluster mailboxes found throughout River Hill and the rest of Columbia’s villages? They were a novel concept in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when Columbia was in its infancy and expecting a population boom. The postmaster in Ellicott City, Mr. Henry Lester Long, Jr., was charged with revising the county’s mail system and believed that cluster mailboxes — in which the mail for a dozen or more homes is placed in separate boxes of a large, centrally located mailbox — would allow neighbors to mingle and become friendly with each other as they retrieved their mail each day. Maybe the next time you’re at the mailbox and another neighbor is walking toward you, instead of turning away and walking off, take a minute to say, “Hello. Happy New Year,” or some other nicety. It takes very little effort, but it creates a feeling of friendliness that will long be remembered.
In your hectic daily living, perhaps you often go straight from the car into the house without noticing the overall condition and appearance of your property. Did you know that during FY18, the River Hill Community Association processed 152 complaints — an increase of 37.5% over the previous year? Tree topping, illegal street tree trimming, speeding, inconsiderate parking, unapproved alterations, encroachment into Columbia Association Open Space, unmaintained properties are among the most frequent complaints reported to the River Hill Community Association (RHCA). The village is now over 25 years old in many parts; when is the last time any maintenance was done to your property? Have you walked around the entire house and examined the yard, siding, and other structures recently? Have you noticed the stains on your siding, missing shutters, chipping or missing paint, rotten wood? What about those unpruned bushes and shrubs, a dead tree, torn screens, soiled driveways and walkways? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking yourself. Make a resolution to be a good neighbor and stop ignoring the condition of your property. Your neighbors will appreciate it, and you’ll help to maintain a high-quality residential neighborhood by simply taking care of some basic maintenance items.
Over the next few months in upcoming issues of The Villager, Eva Lambright, the Covenant Advisor, will provide specific information about the most common types of complaints and concerns received by RHCA. The bottom line is, when in doubt, call RHCA at 410-531-1749. Any changes to your house or lot that change the exterior look of the house from when it was purchased must be reviewed by the Architectural Committee. The only exception is maintenance and repairs that don’t involve any color and/or style changes. Each property owner should have a copy of the Architectural Covenants and Guidelines, which is provided at closing when a property is purchased. Additional copies are available at Claret Hall for a fee. For reference, covenant information can be accessed on the Association’s website at www.villageofriverhill.org.
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