Although the Association may sometimes seem like Big Brother when you want to build a shed or repaint your house, having an Architectural Review Committee is actually a benefit and not a burden. How so? I’m so glad you asked! An Association’s design standards are based on harmony with the overall community, consideration for neighbors, and high-quality construction practices. The architectural review process exists to maintain, protect, and enhance the value of your property and it strikes for a balance between individual rights and the good of the entire community. You may want to paint your house the same colors of peach and teal it was back in 1982, but those colors may no longer meet the design standards of your more modernized community.
While the Association members have the biggest stake in property values, there are others who are also very interested in seeing your community well maintained and looking its best. Builders’ reputations and lenders’ financial support are closely connected to the community. Also, public officials have an interest in maintaining and enhancing the community since tax revenues depend on property values. So turning that toilet into a front yard flower pot? Make sure you submit to your Architectural Review Committee first!
Your Association should try to notify new members of its design review requirements as soon as they move in. If you didn’t get one or you would like a current copy, please contact your Association right away. Please also review the guidelines and attend and speak to your Architectural Review Committee members if you’re considering any type of exterior design change. These guidelines contain everything you need to know about the approval process, design requirements, and the Association’s basic design philosophy. That twelve foot sea nymph sculpture that has been begging to be placed in the center of your front yard really needs to have that go before the Committee!
The Architectural Review Committee makes every effort to process the applications received fairly, reasonably, and quickly. The best advice that can be given when submitting the application is give as much information as possible. Having to resubmit for incomplete information is a big waste of time! Submitting for an addition will require more than just the square footage listed out on the application or the application just reading “installing fence” with no further details. Also remember that, like the Board of Directors, they are volunteers. The Committee is comprised of people who care about the community and volunteer their time without pay, and usually without thanks. They meet as soon as convenient for them. So please remember this and don’t be upset when the roofers are starting the job tomorrow and you have not made any submissions!
The examples I have given may sound silly but we have seen these requests come through in our many years in business. We did get an adorable application once that was requesting a unicorn cage to hold her fantastical beasts! They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you may find that what your neighbor finds appealing would be the talk of the whole neighborhood if it is allowed.
So, yes, we understand that replacing your windows isn’t a big deal to the other owners and is actually an improvement to the neighborhood. And we do know that your extensive landscaping project is gorgeous and no one would gripe about. You need to submit these applications because of the ones that wouldn’t belong in your neighborhood–the ones that would make your community an eyesore and people would talk about when they drive by.