Residents attempting to establish covenants

By ANTHONY WARREN,

After 80 years, leaders in Fontaine Place say it is finally time to establish protective covenants.

The Fontaine Place Neighborhood Association held its annual meeting recently, where the association rolled out plans to implement covenants.

The effort will include going door to door to collect signatures from homeowners. 

“Our small but great neighborhood has never had covenants, only voluntary protective guidelines we established in 2011,” said association vice president/treasurer Jon Turner. “We hope everybody will eventually sign on.”

The rules are needed, in part, to preserve property values and make the area more attractive for potential homebuyers.

Turner said several individuals looking to buy there have asked if covenants are in place.

“We have had several individuals looking to move in ask if we have covenants,” he said. 

The association has been working to draft the rules for several years, and reviewed covenants from several neighborhoods during the process. The board of directors adopted a list of 22 rules in September.

The guidelines govern everything from the placement of clothes lines to minimum house size and architectural requirements.

Among highlights, houses must have no less than 2,350 square feet of living space, and cost no less than $250,000 to construct.

Additionally, all residences shall have paved driveways that stretch from the street to a garage or carport, or to the rear of a dwelling to provide off-street parking.

Covenants also mandate that anyone who purchases a home or lot in the subdivision pays association dues. However, dues will “remain voluntary” for current home and property owners.

Turner said the dues are needed to help pay for neighborhood improvements, such as putting in custom street signs.

The goal is to get 90 to 100 percent support from Fontaine Place homeowners.

The neighborhood includes about 85 homes and lots in an area bordered by Brecon Drive to the north, East Northside Drive to the south, Old Canton Road to the west and Ridgewood Road to the east.

Once the covenants are signed, they must be filed with the Hinds County Chancery Clerk’s office before they take affect. Only homeowners who sign the covenants are bound by them.

While Fontaine Place is working to establish its first set of covenants, other neighborhoods on the Northside have been working to re-establish or amend theirs.

The Massena Heights Homeowners Association, Inc. amended its rules about four years ago.

“We were interested in forming a homeowners association and collecting an assessment from members to fund beautification and security upgrades,” said Massena Heights Executive Director Sally Birdsall.

Assessments have been used to install new street signs, improve landscaping and purchase and install security cameras, she said.

Leaders in the Lake Trace neighborhood have re-established covenants in two of its 11 sections but has held off on re-establishing them elsewhere because the effort was so labor-intensive.

Work included going home to home and getting owners to sign off on the covenants. Former Lake Trace Homeowners Association President Jimmy Stiglets previously told the Northside Sun that he went to some homes multiple times.

“It took at least a couple of years working on these two parts,” he said.

The subdivision was built in the 1960s, with different sections being completed at different times. Covenants were established by developers as sections were completed.

One hundred percent of the 24 homeowners in one section signed on to abide by the rules, while 61 of 68 homeowners in the other agreed to follow the covenants.

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