Frequently Asked Question Categories
What is the Valley Lakes Community Association?
The Association is a Non-Profit Corporation created to manage and enforce the Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions and Easements (Governing Documents) that govern all homes and property in the Valley Lakes Subdivision of Round Lake.
The Community Association owns approximately 400 acres of open space throughout the development and is responsible for the landscaping and maintenance of those areas. These spaces are a mix of landscaped areas (including the entrance areas and detention ponds) and natural or undisturbed wetland areas.
Community Association membership includes 1171 Unit Owners. Commonly referred to as the “Master Association” membership includes the 968 single family homes and 203 townhomes. Owners of townhomes are also members of their individual townhome associations; The “Remington Trails Townhome Association” or; “Natures Cove at Valley Lakes Townhome Association.”
What is the Valley Lakes Community Association II (two)?
Valley Lakes Community Association II, Inc. is located in Round Lake Illinois and is the common area (wetlands) maintenance association for the homeowners in the communities of Coventry Glenn Apartments, Heron Bay & Fairfield Lakes (Pasquinelli) and Remington Trails 2 (Remington Homes) townhomes near the intersection of Rt. 134 and Fairfield Road. . While developed at the same time as Valley Lakes, and by the same developer, a separate master association was created for these areas to simplify management and comply with the development agreement.
The Valley Lakes Community Association II maintains a separate website at valleylakes2.org where copies of their governing documents and contact information is available.
What are the “Governing Documents”
The Governing Documents are deed restrictions on all property within Valley Lakes. These deed restrictions govern what can and can’t be done within Valley Lakes in respect to the appearance and maintenance of all property as well as required maintenance the members are responsible for on all non-privately owned (Common) property.
The “Governing Documents” consist of the following documents:
Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions and Easements for the Valley Lakes Community (commonly referred to as the Declaration)
This is the primary document which is legally binding on all property as defined in the document. This document defines the property that it governs, what rights and easements are granted, the formation and authority of the Community Association, Assessments, Maintenance and repair requirements, the Architectural standards and procedures for control, insurance requirements and other administrative and technical provisions. Changes to this document require approval of 67% of all homeowners.
This document further defines the organization and structure of the community association, how, meetings are called and handled, and how the association will conduct its business. Changes to this document require the approval of 67% of all homeowners.
Rules and Regulations of the Valley Lakes Community Association
This document, adopted by the Board of Directors, further governs easements and permitted activities. Additionally, this document defines the fines and procedures used in the case of violations of the rules and regulations. This document may be modified by the Board of Directors at any time. Proper notice is required if changes are made.
Architectural Standards of Valley Lakes
This document defines the standards and guidelines for the appearance of Valley Lakes, in addition to defining the procedures used for making an application for improvement, this document defines what is subject to approval and what restrictions and conditions apply to other items not subject to prior approval. This document is maintained by the Architectural Review Committee and changes to it may be adopted by the Board of Directors at any time. Proper notice is required if changes are made.
In October 2006, the Architectural Standards were incorporated into the Rules and Regulations document and are now part of that document.
Doesn't the Village have zoning and municipal ordinances that govern that kind of thing?
Yes, in many cases the restrictions in the Governing Documents are similar to local, state and federal laws. However, the Governing Documents apply above and beyond and supersede these laws, regulations and ordinances. They may not however, contradict any of these outside regulations.
Do I have to follow these “Governing Documents?”
Yes. All Unit Owners who accept title to property within Valley Lakes agree to be bound by these covenants. The Governing Documents are a legal contract between you as property owner and the Association membership.
I didn’t get a copy of the covenants when I bought a home here. Why not?
If you bought a home directly from a builder, they were required under contract to furnish you with a copy of the covenants and other governing documents. If they did not, you should contact your builder. If you bought a home from a previous owner, a title search should have disclosed the deed restrictions in place on the property. The deed restrictions recorded on file would have indicated the name of the Association and the managing agency. The previous homeowners should have also been required to turn over copies of the deed restriction documents, but unless the buyer requires this, it is sometimes not done.
I don’t have a copy of the Governing Documents, where can I get one?
Copies of the governing documents are available from the Association Management office or are available online at the Associations website.
I’m selling my house and I need a “Paid Assessment Letter”; how do I get one?
These are required by real estate title agents to show you are current with all financial obligations to the Association. You may request one from the Associations management office and paying the required fee
Why do I have to pay for a paid assessment letter, doesn't my assessment cover that?
It would be unfair to include the cost of these and other extra services in the assessments for all homeowners since they are not incurred at the same rate for all homeowners. The minimal cost for this and other documents is used to cover the actual cost of printing and any research or certification required.
I have a question that isn't answered here, what do I do?
Call the office or contact us through the link on this website.
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Can I make changes to my property?
Yes, however any exterior “Improvement” to your property requires approval from the Architectural Review Committee (ARC).
What is an “Improvement?”
The Governing Documents define “Improvement” as:
”any Building, any Structure, as hereinafter defined, or any alteration whatsoever to the exterior of any Building or any Structure, or any alteration whatsoever of the surface, grade or contour of any land within the Developed Property.”
This generally includes anything (permanent or semi-permanent) erected or constructed on your property. A partial list of projects subject to this rule include common items such as decks, patios and fences and also includes other items such as exterior finish or color changes, attached or detached structures (such as sheds, greenhouses, gazebos) driveways and walkways, flagpoles, mailboxes, hot tubs, spas and swimming pools, recreational items such as playground equipment and sports equipment as well as substantial changes to existing landscape , landscape removals and grade changes and retaining walls.
ALL Improvements require approval by the ARC. Some Improvements require pre-approval (new construction, decks, etc..), others (play sets) are pre-approved provided they comply with the standards set forth in the Rules and Regulations. Check the Rules and Regulations for the requirements for the particular type of improvement you are considering.
Why do I need to get approval from the ARC?
It is a binding restriction in the Governing Documents and a contractual obligation to obtain approval from the ARC. In addition you will be unable to obtain a building permit from the Village. Construction of improvements without ARC approval can result in action being taken by the board as outlined in the Governing Documents. Construction of an improvement without a Village building permit can result in serious fines and penalties.
What is the purpose of the ARC?
It is the mission of the Valley Lakes Community Association Architectural Review Committee (ARC) to:
- Preserve the natural setting and aesthetic appearance of Valley Lakes wherever possible
- Establish and preserve a harmonious and aesthetically-pleasing appearance within Valley Lakes
- Protect the environment in and around Valley Lakes
- Minimize soil erosion and other conditions and events which might negatively impact up on the environment within and abutting Valley Lakes
- Protect and Promote the value of all property within Valley Lakes
- Enhance and maintain the Architectural Character of the community
What does the ARC look for when reviewing my application?
The ARC has a set of guidelines to use when reviewing all applications. Items taken into consideration when reviewing all improvements includes:
- Their effect on the health and safety of the neighbors and neighborhood
- Their effect on the current and future property values of the neighbors and neighborhood
- Their effect on the environment within and adjacent to the community
- Their effect on the overall appearance of the neighborhood and community
- Their effect on the ability of neighbors to enjoy their property and the community in a pleasant and tranquil setting
- Their compliance with the Architectural Standards of Valley Lakes
What are the Architectural Standards of Valley Lakes
The Architectural Standards were created to guide the development of Valley Lakes and define many of the architectural characteristics that make Valley Lakes unique. Copies of this were distributed with the governing documents and additional copies are available on the Association website and through the management office.
Originally a separate document, the Architectural Standards have been incorporated into the Rules and Regulations of the Valley Lakes Community Association as of October 2006. The version included in the Rules and Regulations replaces the previous stand-alone document.
Who is the ARC?
The ARC is composed of homeowner members who have volunteered their time and have been appointed by the Board of Directors. At least one member of the Board of Directors serves on the Committee. Members are chosen for their experience in related fields as well as their dedication to the community. If and when there are no volunteers to serve on the ARC, responsibilities fall to the Board of Directors.
When does the ARC meet?
The ARC meets “electronically” as needed. Applications for improvement are scanned and distributed electronically for review. The ARC will meet when circumstances warrant either before or after a regularly scheduled board meeting. Public “hearings” with the ARC are not required or held.
I have questions about an improvement how do I reach the ARC?
Contact the management office by phone or via this website.
I want to submit an application for improvement, how do I do it, and what do I need?
Applications are available from the management office or for download on the Association’s web site. The application lists all of the requirements for submitting an application as well as directions on how to submit the application.
I want to meet with the ARC when they review my application.
Because the ARC reviews applications electronically this is generally not possible. However if you would like to discuss your improvement request in more detail please contact us by phone or via this website.
Why do I have to pay a $25.00 processing fee for my application when I already pay annual assessments?
Annual assessments are only to be used to pay for common expenses that all owners share. ARC applications are only required for single family homeowners, so they are not common to all members. Even among single family homeowners, not every owner will submit an ARC application, so these costs are unique to the individual project and therefore not a common expense. The costs associated with processing applications includes clerical time, making photocopies and postage. Since these costs are unique to the submitted application and not a common expense, a procedure was implemented in 2010 to charge a processing fee to the applicant to offset these costs.
How long does it take to get approval?
In most cases a response may be received from the ARC in about 10 days, however it can take as long as 30 days from receipt of a completed application to complete the review process. Homeowners should be aware that when a building permit is required, the Village will require you to submit a copy of your ARC approval letter along with your permit application. You will NOT be able to apply for a permit without this approval. Homeowners are advised to submit their application as far in advance as possible and no less than 30 days prior to the permit application or expected start date. It is recommended that you submit your design review request to the ARC at least 60 days in advance of your anticipated start date.
Do I need a building permit also?
Building permits are required for many projects and are issued by the Village of Round Lake Building Department. Please consult the Building Department website for a list of projects that require permits, project requirements and other important information.
What if I don’t like the ARC’s decision?
All homeowners have the right to bring an appeal before the board to petition for a reversal. Such a change would require either an amendment to the Architectural Standards, or a grant of variance as outlined in the Governing Documents. Complete procedures for this are outlined in the Rules and Regulations.
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What are “Common Areas”
Valley Lakes’ appeal and charm come in part from substantial portions of our subdivision which were designated prior to construction as ‘Common Open Space’ for the joint enjoyment of all Owners. All Owners have shared nonexclusive rights to enjoy these areas. Common areas consist of the landscape buffers around the entrance signs and along Valley Lakes Blvd., Prairie Trail, Nipppersink and Wilson Roads. It also includes the landscaped areas around the detention ponds, the detention ponds, and all wetlands with the exception of the main wetland north of Nippersink and East of the subdivision. Total property includes approximately 400 acres 24 ponds and 5 wetlands.
Can anything be developed in the wetlands?
The wetlands are regulated as waterways of the US under the control of the US Army Corp. of Engineers. The Army Corp. would have to approve of any type of construction before a permit could be issued. While it’s not possible to say with 100% certainty that no development will ever take place in the wetlands, it would be very, very unlikely.
Can we use the wetlands?
No. The undeveloped wetland and detention areas are off limits. Please check the Governing Documents for a complete list of restricted activities. There are large portions of the “wetlands” that are not actually wet. There are portions of the natural areas with existing paths, you may access these areas for non-exclusive use, however no changes, or modifications may be made. If you would like to obtain permission to access any undeveloped portion of the Associations property, please obtain permission from the office in advance.
Can we use the other common areas?
Yes, these areas are open for the enjoyment of all residents. You may NOT, however, convert any portion of a common area to personal use, nor erect anything, including temporary structures and tents, in common areas without advance approval.
Can we use the ponds?
Who do I contact if I have concerns about common areas or landscaping
Please call us or contact us via this website.
Who takes care of the Valley Lakes Signs?
The Valley Lakes signs and individual neighborhood signs are the property of the Association as are the lights used to illuminate them.
Who plows the streets and sidewalks?
The Round Lake Public Works department plows all village streets which includes all of the streets in Valley Lakes. The Association will clear snow from sidewalks bordering Association owned property. This includes up and down Valley Lakes Blvd, along Prairie Trail and other areas throughout the development. However homeowners are responsible for (and required to) clear the sidewalks in front of or adjacent to their homes. Failure to clear the sidewalk of snow or ice can result in serious fines, penalties and potentially large financial liabilities. Sidewalks, driveways and some private cul-de-sac’s in townhome neighborhoods are cleared by the townhome associations. If you have any questions, please contact Public Works and they can refer you if necessary.
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Elections & Meetings
How do elections work?
Elections are held during the annual meeting. In order to hold the elections a majority of homeowners have to give their consent by either attending the meeting in person or sending a proxy vote authorizing the elections to take place.
If I send in a proxy can I authorize someone else to vote for me?
Yes. If you send in a proxy authorizing the elections to take place, you may also elect to have the person carrying your proxy cast your vote. You can instruct that person how you wish to vote, but it is up to that individual to cast the vote. There is no guarantee that they will vote the way you want, so you should choose someone you trust to carry your proxy.
If I send in a proxy but don’t have someone carry in my proxy or choose to give someone authority to cast my vote, what happens to my vote?
Your vote will then be turned over to the Board of Directors who will pool all non-specific proxies. The board will then vote how to cast those votes
What is a proxy?
Simply put, a proxy is a signed instrument that allows you as the homeowner to give your right to vote on a specific matter or all matters at a duly called meeting to another person
What do I do with a Proxy?
If you cannot attend the annual meeting of your association, you should fill out the proxy and return it to the Secretary of the Board per the instructions on the form.
Do I give up anything if I give my proxy to someone else?
Yes, you give up your right to vote by giving that right to your proxy designee. He or she votes in your absence.
What if I change my mind and come to the meeting?
If you have filled out your proxy and change your mind and wish to attend, your proxy will be returned to you at the meeting to allow you to vote in person.
How do I fill out the proxy?
Choose either the President of the Board or someone that you name (fill in the blank) to hold your proxy, fill in your name and address and sign and return the form. If you are assigning your proxy to someone else, you may give your proxy to that person to present on your behalf. Otherwise you should mail or fax your proxy as per the instruction on the form well in advance of the meeting date.
Can I tell my proxy holder how to vote?
You may give the holder of your proxy your guidance on how to vote on issues such as the election of officers and other member business, however that guidance is not binding; your proxy is free to vote in the manner they choose. If you want to ensure your vote is cast the way you wish, you must attend the meeting personally.
Can I vote for directors without attending the meeting?
If you wish to vote for board members, you must attend the meeting in person or by proxy. Absentee voting is not permitted. Electronic voting was reviewed as an option however the costs of implementing a system that meets the legal requirements were prohibitively high.
How important is this proxy?
The Annual Members meeting can not be called to order without a majority of owners present either in person or by proxy. If you are unable to attend the Annual Meeting, your proxy will be used in your absence to represent you. Without a majority of owners present in person or by proxy, the annual meeting can not be called to order and no business can take place. If you are unable to attend, this proxy is VERY IMPORTANT.
What business will be conducted at the annual meeting?
The Annual Meeting Agenda will list all items to come to a vote at the meeting including the annual election of directors. Without a majority of owners present in person or by proxy, the meeting will not be called to order and none of the items on the agenda will be acted on.
What should I do if I still have questions or don’t understand how to fill out the form?
Please call the office and we will walk you through the process.
When will the next election be?
Elections are held during the annual meeting held each spring. Notification will be mailed to all homeowners about 30 days in advance.
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Governance & Management
Who runs or governs the Association?
The Association is governed by the Board of Directors which consists of 3 directors elected by the membership. Each member serves a two year term, with one member being chosen by the directors to serve as President.
Are Board members paid?
No. Board members volunteer their time and receive no compensation.
Who or what is “Premier Residential Management”?
Premier Residential Management is a property management company that specializes in the needs of Associations like Valley Lakes. The Board hires a professional company to serve as agent for Valley Lakes. The Property Management Company provides management services and handles all of the business of the association including, but not limited to; billing assessments, mail, paying bills, supervising contracts, accounting and certain legal requirements and functions.
Why do we need to pay someone to run our business?
The Association is a legally recognized Non-Profit Corporation. As such, there are many requirements that must be fulfilled to avoid putting the members at unnecessary financial risk. Utilizing a property management firm to handle the Associations business, saves money by not having to pay for and maintain an actual office and hire employees directly. A management company can provide the multiple different functions that one person alone would simply not be able to do. They also provide advice and expertise on the various issues and laws that the Association must comply with.
Who can be a director?
Any Unit Owner may serve as a board member.
When does the Board meet?
The Board of Directors meets at least twice per year. Once in November to adopt the budget for the following year and once following the annual members meeting in April to elect officers. The board may meet more often as needs demand. Notification of board meetings are mailed to all members no more than 30 days and no less than 10 days before any meeting.
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Membership & Dues
Who is a member of the Valley Lakes Community Association?
All homeowners in Valley Lakes are automatically members of the Association. Each residential unit (town home or single family home) is entitled to one vote. Members vote to elect the Board of Directors as well as on changes or amendments to the Declaration of Covenants.
How many members are there?
What does being an Association member cost me?
All members pay an annual assessment set by the Board each year. The amount of the annual assessment is set by the Board each November for the following calendar year.
When are my Assessments due?
The Annual Assessment is due January 1 of each year.
I lost my statement, how do I make my payments?
The statements are not necessary to process your payment. Please ensure your Unit address is shown on your check and we will make sure the payment is properly applied. Please see the Member Information page for more details.
Can I pay more than the amount due?
Yes, you may pre-pay any amount at any time. Any extra payments will be applied as a credit and deducted automatically for any future payment.
How do I find out what my account balance is?
For security purposes you must call the office to get this information.
Can I pay my assessment online?
Yes, you may use our online portal to make credit card payments. See the Annual Assessment page for more details. Note that a processing fee applies. If your bank offers online bill-payment services, you may use that service to send us your payment. Most banks offer this at no charge to existing customers.
I can’t pay my Assessments right now, what do I do?
While serious fines and penalties can result in failure to pay assessments, the Association understands that financial circumstances can change. If you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to make a quarterly payment, please contact the office and let them know. Payment plans can be worked out in most cases. We will work with homeowners whenever possible.
Payment plans and options can only be arranged before any legal actions are initiated. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you contact us as soon as possible and BEFORE any legal action is taken.
What happens if I don’t pay my assessment
The Association has a fiduciary duty to it’s members to ensure that all members pay their share of common expenses. Failure of any member to pay their portion is considered a breech of contract under Illinois law. The Association has many legal options open to attempt to collect past due assessments however the Board would much rather work with owners who have financial issues than pursue these options. If you find you are having difficulty making your payments please contact us first.
If you are having difficulty paying the assessment it’s VERY IMPORTANT that you contact the Association before any legal action is taken.
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Parks, Roads, Signs and Streetlights
Who maintains Heron View and Meadow View Park?
Both of these parks as well as an 11 acre park behind Prairie Mist Drive and Bluff Court are the property of the Round Lake Park District. The parks are open to all residents of the district (all of the greater Round Lake area) subject to the rules and regulations of the Park District. Please contact the Park District with any questions or concerns about the parks.
Who maintains the roads and sidewalks?
The Village of Round Lake Public Works Department is responsible for all public roads and sidewalks in Valley Lakes. Any concerns about these items should be addressed to the Village Engineers.
Certain sidewalks, roads, cul-de-sacs, and parking areas in the Natures Cove and Remington Trails neighborhoods are PRIVATE roads and owned & maintained by the individual townhome association. This includes snow removal in these areas. Please review the tax assessment map on the Lake County GIS maps page, links provided on the Maps page of this website.
Who takes care of the streetlights?
Streetlights are maintained by the Village of Round Lake public works department. To report a broken, damaged or malfunctioning street light, please contact them directly.
What about street signs and traffic control signs?
Internal traffic control and street signs are part of the Village public works responsibility. External road signs on Nippersink and Wilson are Lake County.
The Association owns and maintains all monument signs including those at the main entrances on Nippersink and Wilson Roads as well as those internally that are located on private lots in the individual neighborhoods throughout.
Who plows the streets and sidewalks?
The Round Lake Public Works department plows all village streets which includes all of the public streets in Valley Lakes. The Association will clear snow from sidewalks bordering Association owned property. This includes up and down Valley Lakes Blvd, along Prairie Trail and other areas throughout the development. Homeowners are responsible for (and required to) clear the sidewalks in front of or adjacent to their homes. Failure to clear the sidewalk of snow or ice can result in serious fines, penalties and potentially large financial liabilities. Sidewalks, driveways and some private street sections and private cul-de-sac’s in townhome neighborhoods are cleared by the townhome associations. If you have any questions, please contact Public Works and they can refer you if necessary.
Who’s responsible for the parkway between the sidewalk and street?
This area is public property and not part of individual Unit Owner lots. Defined as the Village of Round Lake “Right of Way”. Under Village regulations, owners that border Village owned Right of Way’s have an obligation to maintain these areas to the same standards as the rest of the lawn areas. The Village is responsible for tree replacements, but routine maintenance is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner (you) Please contact the Village office with questions.
Can I construct anything in the parkway or add landscaping?
You will have to obtain approval from the Village to make any changes to landscaping in the parkway or add additional improvements. Additionally after obtaining approval, you will need to get approval from the Architectural Review Committee, and any necessary building permits. Village consent for improvement does not guarantee Architectural Review Committee approval, nor does it guarantee a building permit will be issued. You should contact a member of the Architectural Review Committee with any questions about improvements in this area.
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When is Garbage Pickup?
Garbage and recycling pickup for the entire Village of Round Lake is provided by Waste Management through a municipal contract. Residents pay the Village for garbage and recycling services with their monthly water bill.
Please contact the Village hall for the current pickup day. As of this writing, the pickup day is Monday for all of Valley Lakes.
When is Yard Waste Pickup ?
Yard Waste pickup is on the same day as garbage pickup, however it is NOT included in the Village provided service. If you require yard waste pickup, contact Waste Management directly to set up service for your address.
When is Trick or Treat?
The Village of Round Lake set’s the annual date for trick-or-treat in the Village. Please consult the Village’s website or call them for the annual schedule.
Can I have a Garage Sale?
Yes. See the Rules and Regulations for current allowances and requirements.
Is there an annual community garage sale?
There may be a loosly organized community garage sale, but the Assocaition does not organize, sanction, promote, or authorize any community wide events including any community garage sale.
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