Hidden Creek

Architectural Guidelines

 These guidelines are modified from time to time as the need arises.  Please check back before doing final design. 

It is nearly impossible to touch on each and every item and this list demonstrates what is reviewed when an application is received.  It is therefore intended to provide guidance but some items may not be absolute or contemplated herein so the home designer should discuss these guidelines with Declarant in advance of application if there are any questions or variations that might be sought.  The Declarant shall approve all initial construction of buildings and contractors.  Changes to initial design also require approval and additions or changes to constructed buildings also require approval.

Exceptions to architectural items may be granted on a case by case basis.  Each of those does not constitute a precedence that will always be granted in all situations.  However, new and different ideas are always welcome but will be judged that they add to, in our opinion, the subdivision.


The lot owner and builder will find that almost all of the items listed are items that they confront in the design of a custom home.  By bringing these out now, it makes it much easier during the design phase.  It isn’t our intention to be designers or architects for the lot owner or to be unduly intrusive or restrictive.  You should ask if you have special needs and we will see if we can work them into the program.


1.      Front elevations and/or elevations facing the street shall be substantially masonry, usually brick or stone. (Variants with some stucco can be considered.)  A waiver from substantially masonry may be granted upon submission to Declarant, if in the sole judgment of the Declarant such waiver is within architectural guidelines for the subdivision.  Corner lots deserve extra attention and waivers may be granted if the Declarant determines it is in the best interests of the subdivision.  Thinset brick, and by this we mean something like NovaBrick, (brick that is thin in depth, usually ½” or so and is essentially a siding) is not permitted.  As with much of these guidelines, most people would not even consider using these fringe products, but just in case, we bring them out.  This does not stop someone from using various brick or stone veneers that may be “thin”.  Brick/stone/quoins should be wrapped around a corner at least 1 foot, not just face applied and will be assumed unless otherwise shown. (Foundations should be so prepared.)  Declarant may grant exceptions on a case-by-case basis based on the overall design of the building and may, if granted, be vinyl and cement-board or other siding product having architectural significance.  “Banded Brick” (brick on only the lower few feet of a house) is not acceptable except where used as an accent or where in the sole opinion of the Declarant the banded brick is suitable for that style of building and is coupled with other masonry or items of architectural merit.  EIFS may be permitted but should be used in conjunction with stone or brick and color and texture will be an important consideration.  Application Documentation:  Color of brick or stone.  These products have, as many do, their own names for colors and Declarant is not to be expected to know all of these colors so samples or brochures may be needed of this or other products to show actual colors or textures.

2.      Roofing: “three-tab” type shingles and flat roofs are not permitted, only pitched (min. 6/12) roofs such as “hip” and “gable”.  Only natural slate, wood shingles, cedar shakes, standing seam copper, or “architectural grade” (layered/shadowed) asphalt/fiberglass shingles are permitted and color and brand names must be approved.  Rolled roofing is not permitted.   Roof coloring should be a "natural" type color.   Application Documentation: provide brand name and color.  A sample may be required.

3.      While fences are discouraged and no “chain link” or other wire fences are permitted, if a fence is applied for generally natural products/colors or products mimicking natural products (including some plastics mimicking cedar, for example) are to be used and Posts and rails should face inward with a maximum height of 48”.  A waiver granting stockade and/or higher fence in all or part of a rear yard may be considered and iron/aluminum post fences may be granted at the discretion of the Board or Declarant.  If a fence is meant to protect an in-ground swimming pool area, while a chain link fence is not permitted, the height restriction is whatever the village ordinance requires for the pool area.  Application Documentation:  The colors and materials along with a site plan should be submitted.

4.      Paint colors and other colors for siding, brick or other exterior materials must be approved in advance and, in general, earth tones are desired.  Declarant may approve a color choice if in their sole judgment they believe it is in the best interests of the subdivision.

5.      Siding, while it may be vinyl in some areas, should have some architectural merit.  “Bottom of the line vinyl siding” should not be used and siding with textures and/or depth in either color or texture are encouraged.  Cement board or natural product sidings are preferred but not always practical.  In vinyl, there are many types of architecturally significant textures, sizes, and shapes available.  Application Documentation: provide brand name and color and style, and if needed, a sample.

6.      Landscaping shall be installed as quickly as possible, especially in the front but no later than 180 days following substantial completion of the building.  (Until sod is well established, proper erosion control shall be maintained.)  A couple bushes and a tree will not suffice.  The lot owners agree that a well-landscaped lot increases or maintains value for all.  The front needs special attention so all buildings may benefit from the look of a well cared for and well-designed community.  The landscape plan should ensure no front yard landscaping that creates actual or visual barriers or interrupts vistas is allowed, however, removal of existing trees is not encouraged.  All front yards are required to be attractively landscaped.   If the Village has any ordinances on trees, then, of course, the lot owner would need to be in compliance with that or any other ordinances.  (If a house is to be a “spec.” house by a builder or investor, a delay of up to six-months for landscape installation may be approved if requested but proper erosion control must be maintained.)  Application Documentation: Detailed landscape plan on a site plan with all plants and structures labeled, pictures and manufacturer’s specifications for any proposed structures.  This plan should adequately address drainage issues and the lot owner should diligently work with their landscaper to ensure that drainage issues are completed properly.

7.      New additions or restorations must conform to the original structure.  An application is required for new additions but not for restorations (for example, after fire) when the restoration conforms to the original approved plans and specifications.

8.      In all cases, colors and textures of materials should be submitted to Declarant for new construction for changes after initial construction prior to commencing construction and any changes must be authorized in advance.

9.      While side or rear loaded garages are desired, it isn’t always possible.  Even the village is passing a new ordinance to encourage side loaded garages where possible after viewing how those in Promontory Ridge turned out.  If the garage doors must face the street, special attention should be paid to details and colors so when driving down the street the first thing passers by note is not a canyon of garage doors.  (There are many architectural “tricks” such as trellis, overhand, or color, among many, which make the garage door less visible or “recede” back.  An example would be NOT using a white door on a brown house.)  Aluminum, steel, woods are permitted but vinyl, fiberglass are not permitted and style must harmonize with house and garage architecture.  Finish must harmonize with house and garage body and trim.  Doors with raised style, with or without raised panel, with a pronounced profile. No plain flush doors. Application documentation: Pictures and manufacturer’s specifications for proposed door(s) along with color proposed.

10.  Decks/patios should be of concrete, brick, metal (for railings), stone, wood, or composites/vinyl.  If artificial wood is to be used, please note that on your application, which should include as all applications a detailed plans and material lists, and the deck should harmonize with the architecture of the home and should be painted or stained to blend with the body and trim of the home.  Application documentation: provide a plan showing the location and design and materials to be used along with its finished colors.

11.  Front doors should be wood, steel; no aluminum, no vinyl clad, and style must harmonize with house architecture and finish must harmonize with house body and trim.  Storm doors should be fully glazed low-profile aluminum, wood, steel and the finish and color harmonize with the inner door.  Application documentation:  Pictures and manufacturer’s specifications for proposed door(s). 

12.  Driveways should be Brick, Cobblestones, Concrete, exposed aggregate concrete, stamped concrete, asphalt, stamped asphalt, brick or stone pavers.  A gravel driveway is not acceptable.  If a driveway is to be concrete or asphalt, it is suggested that some other dressing is used such as outlined in brick or rock, or texturing, or inlaid designs are used but may not be required depending on shape or design or landscaping.  “Plain Jane” driveways leading to stark garage doors facing the street are to be avoided where possible.  Landscaping may adequately shield a curving driveway from some view and in general, curved drives, especially drives going to front loaded garages, are much preferred.  Large masses of stark asphalt backed by bright garage doors are not harmonious to the area.  .

13.  There shall be at least one exterior post type light near the street and driveway (location shall be at or within 2 feet of the junction of the driveway and the ROW but as close to the ROW as practically possible) that remains on from dusk to dawn and shall display or illuminate an address.  (The address may be hung on the post or be separate or illuminate the mailbox area with the address being on the mailbox.  This is separate from the Address Block.)  A dual bright system may be used (the light burns very low until a sensor detects a car or person in the area and then comes up to full brightness).  If a dual bright system is used the setting should be sensitive so that it is triggered by a car or person at the street/drive intersection.  No sodium vapor or mercury vapor lights are permitted.  The style of post light shall harmonize with the other light fixtures of the home.  The post may be set in the ground or decorated with brick of the same style as the house, or pavers as used on walks or driveways.  This shall be a part of the General Contractor’s duties.

14.  Walkways shall be Brick, concrete, exposed aggregate or stamped concrete, stone, or pavers, but not asphalt.  Rear yard walks may be exposed ornamental gravel.

15.  Address blocks are required.  Specifically, the house number shall be in a stone or masonry block, sometimes called a precast address block, and be a permanent part of the structure of the building.  This address block shall be placed so it is clearly visible from the street; even after landscape vegetation is mature.  The address block may also contain the street name if desired.  The colors of the address block and lettering and brick shall be to maximize view from the street and shall be illuminated by a light controlled by either a sensor or manually (flip the switch).  Lot owner should also display address in other methods as needed to ensure public safety, such as on the post light and mail box.  Plaques are also permitted but should be shown on any application and are not in lieu of the masonry address block without specific approval of the board or Declarant.

16.  Site Plan, presented with application for building on a lot to Declarant, shall show the location of the building, driveway, any appurtences, erosion control during construction, erosion control after construction, drainage swales as needed to conform to the subdivision drainage plan, the well, the septic field limits and show an arc from the well and septic indicating its proper code distance, currently 100 feet from each other, from any other lot’s well and septic locations.  It is the responsibility of the lot owner to ensure that their well and septic are located according to the engineer’s plan as submitted to the Winnebago County Health Department and to ensure that there is sufficient distance from the facilities on their lot to facilities on or proposed on neighboring lots.  (Well and septic contractors are not the ones that make the final approval as some contractors seem to think and only the approved site may be used unless specific permission is otherwise granted.)   Movement from the engineer’s location may require neighboring lot owner’s permission and/or Winnebago County Health Department’s permission.  The site plan must be approved before digging begins.  In fact, NO WORK may begin except staking out prior to approval of the plans and specifications without Declarant’s express written approval.  Failure to provide for proper distances and the consequences of that failure becomes the financial responsibility of the lot owner not providing for the proper distances. Those consequences may mean that a neighboring lot is rendered unbuildable and some lot owner is not able to build their dream home.  The damages resulting to the offending lot owner can be substantial.   Application Documentation:  Site plan in scale showing location of all improvements (buildings, driveways, culverts, well, septic, etc.) and showing final grading plan so that lot drains per drainage plan of the subdivision as shown on subdivision engineer’s plan.

17.  The building plans provided along with application should show the building set on the land, as noted elsewhere, and also indicate the number of square feet in each floor of the house.  For purposes of computing the square footages in paragraph 2b above, basements and garages are not included.

18.  Only one style of mailbox is permitted and must meet the standards of the Board.  No other mailboxes may be installed of any kind and only approved slots/boxes for newspapers or periodicals may be attached to the approved style mailbox.  If you need to reinstall or replace the original mailbox, and the original style and manufacturer is no longer available, the replacement box should match as closely as possible the original mailbox in style and color and be approved by the Board.  The approved mailbox is from the Salsbury Industries catalog and may be found at www.mailboxes.com.  The box is model number 4850 in green.  Newspaper holder is model 4815 in green.  The post is model 4835 also in green.  All are cast-aluminum.  It should be mounted with the post behind, not along side, the mailbox.  Lettering on the box should be in reflective style, model 1201 for house number and if a name is desired, model 1203.  If a street name is desired, model 1203 lettering may be used.

19.  Neither the Association nor Declarant can guarantee that a given builder will provide full service to the lot owner.  It is the lot owner’s responsibility upon taking title to the lot, to ascertain whether all governmental regulations and these covenants and restrictions are complied with.  We are most concerned that contracts with builders do not include finish grading.  Drainage swales are then not included and they must be done in a timely manner.  If the builder is not going to do the finish grading, the lot owner is required to show Declarant that finish grading will be done timely and by a contractor approved by Declarant.  A bond may be required if the builder turns over the property to the homeowner with the final grading incomplete. 

The Association or Declarant does not certify measurements of builders.  The lot owner should be aware of the legal setbacks and other measurements required when a home is built.  We recommend that the lowest elevation opening be well above the 100-year event elevation.  (Once a house and driveway are on a lot, it needs to shed a great deal of water.  Detention areas are provided for that purpose but water needs to travel to those areas and all “openings” [basement doors, for example] should be well above the swales and drainage ways.  If you don’t know, consult an engineer.)  A good practice is to have a surveyor stake out the four corners of the building site and provide a top of foundation elevation.

Good building practice requires adequate minimum elevations.  We don't prescribe those elevations nor, unfortunately, does the Village.  We believe your minimum elevation should be adequately above any drainage areas and above a 100 year event by a comfortable margin.  Sometimes this means that a driveway needs elevation, etc.  What is meant is that the minimum opening elevation should be high enough so that storm water doesn't enter the house.  Or, an opening is a window or door and if there is one in the house or foundation, such as a basement walkout, the highest point, say, of a threshold for a patio door, or any other opening, should be satisfactorily above any possible water from a storm.    If in doubt ask a surveyor to set the corners of the home and show the top of foundation as well as show the minimum opening elevation. 

Culverts under a driveway should be sized adequately.    In general, they should be the same as any downstream approved culverts, such as ones going under a road and the same or greater than ones upstream.


The information below is not a part of the architectural guidelines but is purported to be from the United States Postal Service regarding the proper location of mailboxes:

The bottom of the mailbox should be forty-two (42) inches above the ground. The front of the mailbox should be twelve (12) inches in from the back of the curb, or edge of the road or shoulder.

You may check with your local postmaster for certainty.




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Last modified: March 01, 2010