Proposed Changes to Architectural Guidelines Promote Environmentally Conscious Landscapes

The River Hill Architectural Committee (RHAC) has been engaged in the process of drafting potential new Architectural Guidelines to coincide with the October 1, 2021, effective date of Maryland House Bill 322 and House Bill 248. Combined, these two laws require Maryland Homeowners’ Associations to encourage low-impact landscaping and codifies your right as a homeowner to be plant-friendly and environmentally conscious. Creating a community with resilient green spaces and thriving native plants will support the ecosystems in the Middle Patuxent Area of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. A synopsis of the proposed changes is as follows:

GUIDELINE No. 11 Backyard Enclosed Compost Bins – This section will be expanded to provide details as to the location of a backyard enclosed compost bin (compost bin), the allowable dimensions, and materials not permitted to be composted.

GUIDELINE No. 20a Gardens: Flower and/or Vegetable – The RHAC has included text to encourage the use of environmentally responsible landscaping techniques and native plants to promote soil retention.

GUIDELINE No. 20b Gardens: Rock – RHAC is promoting the creation of pollinator gardens as a haven for butterflies and other beneficial insects using a variety of rocks, stones, and boulders. Homeowners may include water features such as a bird bath or fountain in their application.

GUIDELINE No. 29 Lawn Ornamentation – The RHAC will consider applications for decorative objects such as sculptures and fountains to compliment homeowners’ gardens.

GUIDELINE No. 30a and 30b Low Impact Landscaping and Ground Cover – RHAC is urging the use of low impact landscaping as it is environmentally friendly and provides for protection of the topsoil from erosion and drought. The university of Maryland Extension Service has defined noninvasive ground cover as noninvasive plantings that grow to a maximum height of six inches.

GUIDELINE No. 41 Rain Barrels – RHAC recognizes that the use of rain barrels reduces the amount of water that flows from a property, reduces erosion, and conserves water. An application for rain barrels that do not exceed a sixty-five-gallon capacity limit and match the siding or trim of the house will be considered by the committee.

The complete text of the proposed changes is located on pages 10-11. Read them carefully. The River Hill Architectural Committee (RHAC) is encouraging public comments through email at through February 15, 2022. Public RHAC hearings will be scheduled for additional input by residents via ZOOM. An email blast will alert residents to the dates and times, including directions to obtain a ZOOM link. If you are not already subscribed to our email distribution list, be sure to sign up by texting CLARETHALL to 22828. If you prefer, you may request to be added to the list manually. Simply send an email to letting us know that you’d like to be subscribed to the distribution list.

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