Many community associations have a set of written design review standards and processes. Some homeowners mistakenly believe these standards restrict their freedom of individual expression; actually they provide a framework within which each homeowner can express individual tastes and preferences. The standards have been carefully developed to reflect a balance between individual rights and the good of the entire association—that is, property values.
OK, but why are do we need processes and guidelines to maintain architectural standards?
Perhaps most important, we need a basis for treating all homeowners fairly and reasonably. Written guidelines allow you and the design review committee to work from the same criteria.
Sometimes architectural requirements can be complex. The guidelines show you exactly what is required, and helps you design improvements that comply with the community’s standards.
And then there’s the application and approval part of the process. The review committee members assure you they want the paper work to be as simple as possible for everyone. The guidelines take the guesswork out of your application and their decision making.
In fact, they not only provide criteria for the current committee to make appropriate decisions, but for successive committee members to make consistent decisions in the future. Without the criteria in the guidelines, the application approved today may result in construction deemed unacceptable by new committee members upon completion.
One last purpose of the guidelines is to clarify the association’s authority in this area. State statutes and our governing documents give the association a legal right to enact and enforce design review standards. The guidelines spell this out so everyone understands they must comply even if they don’t agree.