What is an architectural review committee or ARC? It’s the HOA body that enforces the architectural community standards in your neighborhoods and developments, to keep them uniform and visually standardized to a reasonable extent. A resident that wants to make a change or addition to their property may need to secure approval from an HOA architectural review board, and this gives the HOA some control on the end result of that modification.
What Is An Architectural Review Committee Composed Of?
Modifications to a residential property or an association common area should not only meet with safety standards. In many cases, they also need to be regulated by architectural standards, as well. It is part of the HOA architectural committee’s responsibilities to enforce these standards.
The Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) of a community determines just what is an architectural review committee responsible for, as well as the members that will make up the body. Some communities, especially those with smaller HOA memberships, have a great deal of overlap between the members of their HOA board of directors and the HOA architectural review committee.
It’s a more common practice, however, for HOAs to have a separate set of members to serve as the architectural committee. The membership and responsibilities of an HOA architectural committee should be laid out in provisions contained in the CC&R. In the case of an HOA that does not have provisions for a separate architectural review board, the HOA board of directors may also choose to delegate the architectural review committee responsibilities to another competent body.
You may see your HOA architectural review committee referred in a different way in your CC&Rs. Some common alternative terms for an HOA architectural review board include “Art Jury,” “Architectural Committee,” “Architectural Control Committee,” “Design Review Committee,” “Environmental Control Committee,” or “Landscape Review Committee.”
What Is an Architectural Review Committee Responsible For?
One very important procedure that an HOA board assists with in their communities is called an “ARC,” which stands for “Architectural Review Change.” What is an architectural review committee needed for when it comes to ARC applications?
Through the ARC applications, the HOA architectural committee is responsible for ensuring that any changes to the exterior of the homes conform to the standards set by the CC&Rs. The ARC application process is also the main way for an HOA to ensure that no approved exterior additions and modifications will have a negative impact on the appearance of the community. The duties of an HOA architectural committee include the evaluation and processing of ARC applications from residents or from the HOA board itself.
In this regard, the HOA architectural committee is probably the most important committee that is established in a community association.
The ARC Application Process
The ARC application process is very straightforward, but it must be detailed to ensure that the HOA architectural committee has the information they need to make an informed decision. Some of the items that must be on the ARC request form are:
- Type of alteration proposed
- Type and purpose of addition being proposed
- Materials to be used
- Paint color or finish to be used, if applicable
- Detailed plans or drawings of the work
- Installer or contractor credentials
- Any necessary permits required
- Schedule for completion
These information are used by the HOA architectural review board to ensure that the modifications meet standards.
The HOA architectural review board is also responsible for adopting rules to help streamline the ARC application process. These rules can range from changing the items required on the ARC request form, to the process of appealing a denied ARC application.
What Is an Architectural Review Committee Decision Able to Allow or Prevent?
What is an architectural review committee able to have a say in when it comes to a homeowner building something in their own property, at their own expense? A lot, as it turns out in many cases. One of the appeals of managed communities is the pleasing views and uniform aesthetic of the neighborhoods. It is part of the duties of HOA architectural committees to preserve and maintain the look that a community has going for it.
A major renovation can easily ruin the look of the neighborhood with the addition of an extension that looks out of place. It’s up to the HOA architectural committee to identify and prevent such issues before it becomes a source of complaints from the neighbors. By placing limits on the height, road proximity, and color of modifications, the committee can preserve the visual harmony of the community.
Some managed communities are also fortunate enough to have shore or mountain views. It’s also up to the HOA architectural committee to prevent additions from blocking the view of the ocean or affect the use of a common area.
What Is An Architectural Review Committee Set of Guidelines?
HOA architectural review committees usually have a set of guidelines that owners need to be familiar with in order to streamline the ARC application process. These guidelines are based on the HOA CC&Rs. Thus, homeowners should be familiar with their specific governing documents in regards to submitting an ARC and the timeline for approval.
Architectural review committee guidelines in most communities will allow 30 days for the committee or Board of Directors to review and make a decision on a request. That decision should be mailed to the homeowner providing either approval or denial.
If the request is denied, architectural review board guidelines also mandate that the letter should include a reason for the denial so that adjustments to the requests may be made.
The requests and the resulting letters should all be kept on file for reference at a later time. As board members and even management companies change over the years it is important to have the ability to go back and review alterations to ensure they have been approved.
If alterations to a home occur without approval the board needs to take appropriate action to follow up, and possibly hearing should be conducted. These kinds of regulatory procedures not only help to preserve order in the community but allow the freedom for reasonable modifications to the homes.
Having an Architectural Review Committee Is Non-Negotiable
What Is an architectural review committee doing for your community? We’ve seen so many examples of how the right set of architectural standards, enforced well by an HOA architectural review board, made for attractive neighborhoods that residents can be proud of. Want to learn more about architectural communities? Send us a message, we’d love to hear from you!
- How To Have A Proper HOA Architectural Approval Process?
- 5 Steps To Handle HOA Complaints In Your Community
- 5 Useful Tips On How To Build An HOA Board For Your Community