Lake Christopher Homes Association
Lake Christopher Homes Association

Architectural Committee Tips

Truss components and terminology

What is a truss?  Trusses are prefabricated engineered wooden structures with triangular components.  Together they provide support for the roof, and tie the outside walls of the home together.  The original design and construction of Lake Christopher homes made use of prefabricated trusses instead of site-built rafters.  When you enter the attic space of an unmodified home you will see rows of wooden beams at odd angles called "webs".  These webs are structural elements of a truss system.

Mono Truss over the garage of some two-story homes

The "contemporary" design of our homes means that in addition to the main attic space where trusses span the width of the house, there are also odd attic spaces here and there, depending on the house model.  In these spaces the builder also used trusses, called mono-trusses.

The cutting of webs compromised the structure of this Tahoe, which required extensive repair.

There have been instances in Lake Christopher when home owners have cut trusses to make use of attic space for storage, or to incorporate some of the attic over the garage into the second floor living space.  When truss sections are cut without adding precise reinforecment elsewhere, the structure of the home is compromised and problems can arise over time.  


Homeowners should never assume that attic spaces can be repurposed as storage or living space simply by clearing obstacles (cutting out webbing) and putting down a floor.  Impact to the structure of the home must be taken into account.  Consider that a garage ceiling designed to support empty attic space above may not have the capacity to support the loads of a second floor living space, especially if trusses have been compromised.  Consideration to structure must also be given before installing heavy objects like hot water heaters in spaces not designed for them.


What it all means:  Should a decision be made to repurpose an attic space or to modify a truss, it is essential that you consult an engineer beforehand so the modification can include proper reinforcement.  It is also worth noting that obtaining permits and inspections for these structural alterations will help ensure the modification is done properly (to code), and is documented when it comes time to sell your home.


Note:  An AC Review Request is required by the LCHA only if the project impacts the exterior of the house.

LCHA Architectural Guideline:  7.3 Basketball Poles/Backboards - Basketball backboards must meet commercial standards and appearance.  The backboard and its supporting structure must be maintained and painted to give a good appearance.  Hoops and nets must be maintained in good condition.  The color of a backboard attached to a house is to be the same as the existing house siding or trim color making it blend in and not stand out from the general appearance of the house.  Basketball backboards are to be affixed to the roof above the garage door or located on a pole not visible from the street.  No basketball poles will be allowed in the front yard of any property or in the street.  Portable poles are allowed in driveways.

The City of Virginia Beach Code:  The placement of a basketball goal and pole in the City right-of-way, whether it is portable or permanent, is an encroachment in violation of Virginia Beach City Code Section ‘33-113.1(c), and constitutes a nuisance under the provisions of the Virginia Beach City Code Section ’23-46(c-e)


What it all means:  City streets, including cul-de-sacs, are in the city right-of-way.  We cannot place portable basketball poles in the street; they must be in the driveway.

LCHA Architectural Guideline:  8.2 Yard Appearance:  Trash and recycling containers are to be kept out of public view.  They are not to be put out on the street until the night before trash collection day (currently Fridays), and are to be returned to their out-of-sight storage areas by the evening of collection day.

The City of Virginia Beach Code:  Sec. 31-28. - (a) Privately owned residential refuse receptacles, including automated refuse receptacles and containers for recyclables, … shall be placed on the curb line of a city right-of-way no earlier than 5:00 p.m. on the day before collection and by 7:00 a.m. on the day of collection. All receptacles must be removed out of view of the public after collection on the day of collection


What it all means:  Trash cans are necessary, but unsightly.  They are to be out of public view except during the pickup window (between Thursday evenings and after pickup on Friday).

Note:  Most homeowners keep their trash/recycling containers in the garage, or behind a fence.  Some have built small partitioned enclosures attached to the exterior of the house where the containers can be stored out of public view. Contact the Architectural Committee for examples of these enclosures if you want to build one, and remember to submit the AC Review Request form.

LCHA Architectural Guideline:  8.3 Parking and Storage of Vehicles, Boats and Trailers:  …No RV’s, campers, utility trailers or commercial or business machinery shall be stored in any driveway or lot except in a garage or behind a 6-foot-high solid fence….


The City of Virginia Beach Code:  City Code 16-41.1 – A "Commercial Vehicle" is defined as a loaded or empty motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer designed or regularly used for carrying freight, merchandise, or more than 10 passengers, including buses, but not school buses. Parking of a commercial vehicle in residential or apartment zoning districts shall be prohibited, except that: (1) One commercial vehicle is allowed on the property of one ton or less in carrying capacity which does not exceed seven feet in height or 20 feet in length where the building is owned or occupied by a resident of the premises. (2) Commercial vehicles during the normal conduct of business or in the delivery or provision of service to a residential area. (3) The parking of semitrailers for commercial or industrial storage is permitted on bona fide construction sites only.

What it all means: One commercial vehicle or trailer is allowed on a residential lot if two conditions are met:  First, it must be within the city’s size limits, and second, it must be stored /parked per AC guideline 8.3 (i.e.: in a garage or behind a 6-foot-high solid fence).  If a commercial vehicle or trailer exceeds one ton in carrying capacity, or exceeds seven feet in height, or exceeds 20 feet in length it is not to be parked per city code.


It must be noted that not all lots in lake christopher have sufficient room in their side yards for trailers, and lakefront homes have additional guidelines pertaining to fencing and obstructing lake views.

visitors since 30 Oct 2022  |  updated 22 Nov 2022

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