Winding Brook Park is a unique neighborhood that draws residents to come back generation after generation. In order to maintain our neighborhood’s quality and reputation, the Winding Brook Park Association (WBPA) believes it is necessary to update and unify our Protective Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions which set standards for the quality and aesthetics of our properties and homes. These updated Protective Covenants would allow for all residents to better understand their expectations as neighbors and provide a structure to ensure issues can be addressed as they arise.
We currently have binding and enforceable covenants, but they are nearly 60 years old and because the neighborhood was developed in phases there are some variations between the recorded covenants for each section. Over the years, the WBPA Board has considered many times whether and how to update our protective covenants. Incomplete information and turnover on the Board resulted in no past action and incorrect conclusions. However, the current Board revisited the issue in 2019 and now believes it has identified a path forward.
In May, the Board engaged SouthBank Legal to assess the enforceability of the existing protective covenants and how they could be updated and unified by the neighborhood residents. Indeed, we have enforceable covenants that restrict, e.g., storing large piles of rocks and other refuse or using unpaved portions of a lot as a driveway or heavy equipment storage. Any resident could bring an action to specifically enforce the protective covenants—but the WBPA does not itself have the power to enforce them. This is the primary shortcoming of the existing protective covenants. It is possible, however, for the residents to amend and restate the protective covenants and adopt new bylaws (more below).
Purpose: The purposes of going through this process include ensuring all of the neighborhood residents remain safe and protected from dangerous activity, protecting and further increasing the property values of the entire neighborhood, and maintaining Winding Brook Park's exceedingly high reputation. Please rest easy—there is no intention to dictate the color of anyone's front door. Rather, the hope is to clarify the protections we residents want and to provide procedures for straightforward and helpful resolution in event of a violation.
Drafting Updated Covenants
1. WBPA will work with SouthBank Legal to prepare a draft for consideration of updated protective covenants.
3. After consultation with the Advisory Committee and review from WBPA, we will share the proposed final draft with the neighbors.
Approval and Recording
4. WBPA Board members (and volunteers) will solicit written approval from residents by a door-to-door campaign and/or mail-in responses.
5. If at least 50% of the homeowners approve the amended and restated covenants, then SouthBank Legal will assist WBPA to process the new covenants with St. Joseph County.
6. Once the covenants are recorded, the WBPA will begin making the changes outlined in the revised protective covenants and bylaws to better serve the residents.