Know Your Rules: Signs – Spreading the Joy? Maybe Not
Posted on July 1, 2021 7:00 AM by Mary Cheston, Board of Directors
What do these photos have in common?
They all represent illegal signs posted by residents of New Town.
Yes, I used the term “illegal” because the Rules of the New Town Residential Association (NTRA) prohibit the display of most common signs. Truth be told, we’d love to celebrate the arrival of your new baby or your child’s graduation with you. If the Covid pandemic has taught the world anything, it is the value of connections and community. But our NTRA Rules (2005) do not account for any of these signs.
Article 7.1(o) of the Master Declaration of Protective Covenants and Restrictions states that except for signs posted by the Developer or the Association and standard “for sale” signs, “no signs of any character shall be erected, posted or displayed” in a visible location. Per the Master Declaration any other permitted signs must be identified in the NTRA Rules.
So what exactly do the Rules permit?
- For sale/rent signs in the special New Town format (available from Town Management)
- Builder advertising signs
- Political candidate signs during election periods
- Homeowner event signs from the NTRA
That’s it – no security system signs, no gardening signs, no personal signs of any kind. And signs are proliferating – there are at least 11 different varieties of security systems signs throughout our neighborhoods.
So we have a situation of widespread noncompliance with the Rules. In this case, the Board of Directors is not proposing to confiscate your signs or fine you – for now. We will add “signs” to the long list of issues that need to be revised in our new Governing Documents.
Please don’t shoot the messengers. Board Members live here too and our purpose in sharing these facts is to make you aware of why change is needed in our Governing Documents. 16 years is a long time to go without refreshing the information that serves as the foundation for our homeowners association – or any organization.
We are seeking your support and your ideas – how should we control signs in our community?
Posted on July 2, 2021 8:09 AM
Thanks for this article. Rule revision is not easy to navigate. Tastes vary and there may be First Amendment issues. The CAI booklet on rules provides that the rules should reflect the community’s Vision, be rational and be enforced reasonably. Homeowners should collaborate with the Board for the Declarations and Rules revisions now and not wait for the Board to present a drafts for a vote.
REPLY: The revision to the Rules will await passage of the new Master Declaration, since the Declaration drives the rules. So this is a 2022 activity - either we revise the Rules to match our current Declaration or hopefully improve them based on an amended Declaration. Owners may provide ideas to the Board at any time on what they would like to see in new Rules.
Last Edited: 07/03/2021 at 10:24 AM
Posted on July 4, 2021 5:08 PM
What about the "No Pruning" signs?
REPLY: Thanks for this question. The white "No Pruning" signs were distributed by our landscape contractor, Virginia Lawn and Landscape, as a visual aid to their staff. They are considered signs posted by the Association under the Master Declaration, Section 7.1 (o).
Last Edited: 07/23/2021 at 09:34 AM
Posted on July 6, 2021 10:47 AM
New rules drawn up might want to consider time limits for certain types of signs. Perhaps a week for celebrations (births, graduations, etc). I'm happy to work with someone on this.
REPLY: Thanks for this suggestion (and potentially volunteering!). We will add time considerations to the comments and ideas we have received.
Revising our rules will be a 2022 Board project, once work has finished on the new Governing Documents.
Last Edited: 07/06/2021 at 03:22 PM