Welcome! We’re glad you’re here!
You will probably have a lot of questions about the neighborhood. Where do you start? Well… you are off to a pretty good start because you found this webpage! We are working to make this the place you can go the get answers to your Orchard Brook questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for, ASK! There are contacts for a number of areas listed on this website, a list of contacts for various subjects, and if all that fails, use the Contact Us page to send a message to the website administrator. He will direct your question to someone that can help.
Join the email List and Directory!
While you are here, take a minute to add yourself to the directory and the email list. We use both of these to help us communicate among ourselves. The directory is available to current homeowners through DirectorySpot. You will receive an email from DirectorySpot on how to access the Orchard Brook online directory when you complete the information on the “Directory & Email List Form” Page. We broadcast messages of interest to the community using the email list whenever necessary. The use of email also helps reduce printing and mailing costs for the association, which helps us carry on without asking for assessment increases.
Get Familiar with the Covenants
If you haven’t gotten familiar with the Covenants yet, take a little time to look them over. The Board of Directors is charged with enforcement of the Covenants, but they are homeowners just like yourself and they really get no pleasure from enforcement actions. It better for everyone concerned if you learn the rules, and work within them. There are a handful of issues that arise repeatedly, that you can easily avoid:
Making architectural changes without board approval. The Board does not want to stand in the way of your remodeling or landscaping project, but you need to make them aware of what your plans are. The board’s interest is in protecting the common areas, avoiding neighborly disputes through communication and planning, making sure rainwater runoff does not become a problem for surrounding homes and ensuring your project does not run afoul of any covenant provisions. Send an Architectural Change Request before starting your project.
Encroachment onto the common areas. Homeowners may not extend their lot onto the common area in any way. No construction of any type, including pathways, flower beds, gardens, patios, fire pits, play sets, sandboxes, etc. are allowed.
Pools and Fences are not allowed. Electronic fences, like the ones sold by “Invisible Fence” are allowable, but please send an architectural request to the board and get approval before having one installed. The board will want to review your plan to ensure the enclosed area does not extend into any common area or onto neighboring lots.
Be a responsible pet owner. The Village of Downers Grove requires owners to clean up after their pets by ordinance, and we have extended this requirement to the common areas as well.
If you ever need clarification of the rules, just get in touch with a board member. They really appreciate the opportunity to address questions before they become problems.
Take an active part.
The swim team, pool gatherings, and various other social activities are great opportunities to get to know your neighbors. Volunteering to work on an event is a good way to strengthen your ties to the community.
From time to time the OBHA may put out a call for volunteers to address a particular need. These opportunities will be broadcast on the website and through the email list. Sometimes you can learn about an opportunity to help out by sitting in on a board meeting, where you may find a way to lend a hand. You might even want to become a board member – the 9 board positions are all volunteers, and there are occasional vacancies that need to be filled.
Do you have a special skill that you can use to keep the association functioning smoothly? There are regularly questions about accounting and budgeting, insurance and law that need to be addressed, as well as clerical activities, “handyman” type projects, common area tree and vegetation management and even website support. Your volunteer board can’t do it all themselves – help is appreciated.
Once again, Welcome!
We look forward to seeing you at the pool and Orchard Brook activities.