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Community Landscape and Design Guidelines
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This information is intended to codify the policy of the Association with regards to the repair, maintenance and design of the Forest Hills landscape, and to provide general guidance for the conduct of the Association's Landscaping and Tree Maintenance programs.
The significance of landscaping in a residential community cannot be overestimated. Landscaping should serve not only the aesthetic purpose in a community's design, but also functional purposes such as architectural, engineering and climate control. Architecturally, landscaping can articulate spatial relationships, provide privacy, screen an unpleasant view or reveal and frame unique vistas. Landscaping for engineering purposes can reduce the glare of lights, define circulation, attenuate noise and control erosion.
In addition, landscaping for climate control can decrease local wind velocity and alter direction, reduce the impact of precipitation, and reduce the heat absorption of paving. Further, through the use of deciduous trees, a well drawn landscape design screens the hot summer sun while in winter permitting the sun to penetrate and warm.
The many contributions of the Landscape Design goes well beyond the service it provides to the community in terms of aesthetics and function; it's greatest contribution is to the creation of a unique and special sense of place, and a community which beautifies as it matures.
As required by the By Laws, the Forest Hills Community Association will provide landscaping and tree maintenance services to maintain the Common Area. It is the intent of the association that those services will be provided in priority to ensure:
1) Safety, 2) Compliance with law and regulation, 3) Tree health, and 4) Community appearance.
Both efforts are designed to be continuous, not one-time activities. As such, the priorities cited in paragraph 3 above take precedence. The Grounds Maintenance Contract Specifications and the Annual Tree Maintenance Plan are maintained by the Chair, Grounds Maintenance Committee. These documents define the requirements from which the near-term and mid-term planning is developed in support of the Landscape Design. Budget affordability is a major consideration in this process.
The Landscaping Program has been in effect since the Association was established and utilizes a professional grounds maintenance contractor to provide the services required by the Association. As a minimum, and in accordance with the currently approved specifications, the Landscape Program will provide:
The Tree Maintenance Program was initiated in 1997 and is to be maintained current through the Annual Tree Plan, a structured multi-year approach to tree maintenance, which will be published in March of each year. Within budgetary limitations, the program will provide:
This section sets forth, in so far as they relate to the Landscape Tree Maintenance programs, the rights and responsibilities of the Association and Homeowners.
The Association will:
Homeowners may, and are encouraged to:
Supplement the Association landscaping in the Common Areas, with the approval of the Architectural Control Committee since those plantings or changes impact the landscape design and maintenance requirements of the Association.
As can be seen from the above guidelines, the scope of the Association's responsibility has been expanded over the years to service both Common Area and individual properties. At the same time Homeowners have been encouraged to take the initiative to beautify and maintain their own property and, with the approval of the Association, expand their efforts into the Common Areas. In order to determine precisely the delineation between Common and private properties, it is necessary to refer to the individual property Plat, or House Location Survey. This survey is a part of the property documents which accompany a sale or refinance transaction. Private property boundaries are clearly defined on the individual plat: all other property indicated on the plat and within the Forest Hill property boundaries is Common Area. Arlington County has an easement for streets and sidewalks and is responsible for their maintenance and repair. If a Homeowner has questions about whether or not a given tree or plot of ground is on common or private property, the Homeowner should provide a copy of the Plat to the ACC, so that the question may be clarified.