Shipley’s Choice Community Association
WE NEED YOU!
I hope you are enjoying these beautiful fall days! I am reaching out to ask for your help to complete a significant action which impacts the future of our lovely community. Every twenty years, we are required to file paperwork with Anne Arundel County to ensure that our community covenants do not expire. For specific information, we are including a FAQ in this package. Here are the basics that you need to know.
WHO- current homeowners of any home located here:
Arbor Oaks Ct.
Braeburn Glen Ct.
Rustling Oaks Dr. (1018-1067)
Wood Shadows Ct.
WHERE - come to 317 LAZYWOOD CT
WHEN - on 7 & 22 OCTOBER, 2017 any time between 1 to 4 PM
WHAT - complete BOTH owners signature, with a notary – bring your license!
We need everyone to come during one of these two sessions, to complete this important action. If you have any questions, please email the SCCA board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** Please register your email for future notifications: http://www.shipleyschoice.org/register.html
SECTION 1 COVENANTS EXTENSION :
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are covenants?
Covenants are legally binding obligations that you assumed when you purchased your home
in Shipley's Choice. The details for Section 1 are spelled out in a document entitled
"Declaration of Covenants" which is recorded among the land records of Anne Arundel
County (reference: Book 3051 Page 750). In very general terms, the Declaration:
a) places a number of restrictions (covenants) on what you may do with your property.
For example, they prohibit fences in the front yard, specify the maximum height of
fences, prohibit the keeping of poultry, specify minimum distances that structures
may be placed from property lines, and so on.
b) obligate homeowners to submit plans for any outside structure for review prior to the
commencement of construction. This review is not only for the purpose of verifying
that none of the above mentioned restrictions have been violated but also permit the
"aesthetics and harmony with the surroundings" of the proposed structure to be
considered. The covenants grant this authority to an "Architectural Control
Committee" appointed by the Shipley’s Choice Community Association (SCCA).
The purpose of the covenants is primarily to protect the property values of the members of
the community as a whole by providing a means to prevent construction of unattractive
structures and prevent nuisances.
2. Are the covenants expiring and what is the significance of January 2018?
The covenants for Section 1 were originally adopted in January 1978 prior to the
commencement of home construction in Section 1 later that year. Paragraph 18 specifies
that the covenants were to run until January 1, 1998 UNLESS the owners representing a
majority of lots signed a legal instrument to extend the covenants. This legal instrument was
completed and recorded in the county land records in1997 (A.A. Co. Land Records Book
8215 Page 1-124) extending the covenants to December 31, 2017. To avoid allowing the
covenants to lapse, we must now do a second extension which is the topic of this FAQ. The
document for this second extension must be recorded with the County no later than
December 31, 2017.
3. Who needs to sign the legal instrument to extend the covenants?
We are required to obtain signatures from homeowners representing a majority of lots in
Section 1. Our intent is to significantly exceed the minimum which is 83 out of the 166
homes. For each lot, ALL OWNERS of the property must sign in order for it to count.
Tenants and other non-owner occupants are not eligible to sign.
4. How can I determine whether my home is in Section 1?
Section 1 consists of the first 166 lots developed by Monumental Properties. It is comprised
of the homes on the following streets:
Page 2 of 3
• Arbor Oaks Ct. • Rusting Oaks Drive (Nbrs. 1018 - 1067)
• Braeburn Glen Ct. • Songwood Ct.
• Briarwick Ct. • Tanglewood Ct.
• Candlewood Ct. • Windfern Ct.
• Galena Ct. • Wood Shadows Ct.
• Lazywood Ct.
The section number is also recorded in your deed as part of the property description.
5. Who currently holds the rights and powers granted by the covenants?
The Declaration initially gave all authority to the developer but also gave him the right to
assign or transfer his authority. The developer of Section 1 (Monumental Properties)
permanently transferred all rights and powers to the Shipley's Choice Community
Association (SCCA) in 1980 and that document was recorded in the Anne Arundel County
Land Records (Book 3452 Page 765).
6. Am I subject to the covenants if I was never given a copy?
YES, you definitely are. Because the covenants are recorded in the public land records, they
are legally an extension of your deed and part of the transfer of the property to you. Several
years ago a law was passed that requires buyers to be given a copy of any covenants prior
to settlement but the buyer continues to be subject to the covenants even if the settlement
agent fails to comply (the law only specifies penalties for the settlement agent and does not
create an exemption from the covenants for the buyer).
7. Am I subject to the covenants if I don't join the association?
ALL residents of Section 1 are subject to the covenants. Membership in the Shipley’s
Choice Community Association is not mandatory but whether or not you choose to join does
not alter the fact that your property is subject to the provisions of the covenants.
Membership in the association does, however, give you a voice in the administration of
covenants by giving you the right to vote for the officers and board members who set
covenants policy and who appoint the covenants committee.
8. Are there differences between the covenants for Section 1 and those for other sections?
There are actually three different versions of covenants within Shipley’s Choice. The
community was developed in multiple phases by two different companies over a number of
years. Only the first version created by Monumental Properties and dated January 20, 1978
is applicable to Section 1. Later versions are not retroactive to sections that were already
completed at the time they were written.
9. What can I do if I disagree with the judgment of the covenants committee?
Section 1 homeowners may appeal decisions of the architectural committee to the SCCA’s
full board of directors.
10. Does signing the document to extend covenants obligate me to become a member or to pay
dues to the SCCA?
NO, it does not. The document merely reappoints the SCCA as the representative
organization to hold the rights and powers granted by the covenants. Under the original
Declaration, the payment of dues to the association is not mandatory. The document you
have been asked to sign only extends the term of the covenants and does not alter the
provisions in any way.
11. Can the covenants be changed?
Changes can be made only if 100% of the residents agree to the change. Since that is a
virtual impossibility, the covenants cannot be modified as a practical matter. To extend the
covenants as they were originally adopted, however, requires only a simple majority (50% or
12. What happens if less than a majority of Section 1 residents sign the extension?
Should the number of signers fail to equal or exceed 50%, the Section 1 covenants will
expire and no covenants will be in effect. Residents would be able to build any structure
that complies with the building codes and zoning laws of Anne Arundel County. Examples of
some things now prohibited by the covenants might include fenced front yards, tool sheds,
chain link fences and metal awnings on the front of the house. While the vast majority of
residents would not do anything neighbors would generally find objectionable, communities
without covenants commonly have at least a few houses that become definite "eyesores"
and detract from the entire neighborhood.
13. How can I obtain a copy of the Declaration of Covenants?
An unofficial transcript is available under the Documents tab on the SCCA’s website at
www.shipleyschoice.org. On the same page you can also obtain copies of the Architectural
Request Form and the SCCA Fence Guidelines. Images of the original Declaration of
Covenants are available online at www.mdlandrec.net.
14. Why should I be a member of the SCCA?
Your membership and financial support is key to keeping Section 1 the attractive and vibrant
community it, and the rest of Shipley’s Choice, is today. The S.C.C.A. holds title to the 18.7
acres of common land in Section 1 on which it pays property tax, insurance, and the
county’s front foot benefit assessment. The organization provides grass mowing,
dead/hazardous tree removal from common areas, maintains the entrance sign on the south
side of Benfield, and pays for the control of invasive vines (which have been threatening the
destruction of oak trees along Gov. Stone and Benfield). It is responsible for the
administration and enforcement of covenants in Section 1. Additionally, it has provided
financial support for the Shipley’s Choice Garden Club and the replacement of the
playground equipment at the Shipley’s Choice Elementary School. Although membership is
non-mandatory, over 75% of our residents have joined which is a very impressive level of
participation relative to other nearby communities.