Are you planning on making a change to the exterior of your property? Are you thinking about adding a fence, deck, shed, playground, or storm door, or maybe changing your windows, siding, or paint color? All of these changes, and many others, require pre-approval from the Architectural Review Committee (ARC), who has been appointed by the Board of Directors.
Here you can find the information you will need to guide you on what requires an ARC application, what the process is, and common questions and answers.
So how do you know what changes to your property require an ARC application? Or have you received a violation notice or fine related to trash or maintenance of the exterior of your property and you want to see what is required to bring your home into compliance? Review the ARC guidelines to find out what modifications require an application, what the procedures are, and how to avoid violations and fines.
How Does the Process Work?
You have determined you need to need to submit an ARC application for review. But how does that process work and what are the timelines involved?
An ARC application must be submitted prior to making any modifications to the exterior appearance of your home. Completed applications, with the appropriate supporting documentation, must be in the possession of our property management company, IKO Community Management, seven (7) days prior to the ARC meeting. Incomplete applications will be returned to residents via regular mail.
Details are important here. A description of what you are doing does not mean “I am building a deck”. Provide dimensions, in ALL directions. Include the color you have selected or a color swatch. Many changes that connect to your home require the change to be “in harmony” with your home, so provide details about the color of your house or shutters as well.
The ARC meets on the third Wednesday of every month and applications are due at least seven (7) days prior to the ARC meeting. Therefore, ARC Applications are due to our property management company, IKO Community Management, by the close of business on the second Wednesday of each month. Any applications are not received seven days prior to the ARC meeting will be considered late, and will be reviewed at the next scheduled meeting. The ARC will review all timely, complete, and properly-submitted applications at its monthly meetings.
The Architectural Committee meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:00 pm via conference call. The call-in number is 301-966-7920. The Conference number is 7916 and the Passcode is 1323#.
The ARC will make every effort, such that on-time applications are either approved or disapproved by the ARC within thirty (30) days. You will receive notification in writing of approval or disapproval. If approved, all work must be started within six (6) months and completed within one year from the date of approval. Applicants are encouraged to complete the work as soon as possible. If approval/disapproval has not been made within 60 days, and the application is consistent with the guidelines, then the application will be considered approved.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a fee to get my application processed quicker?
No. There are no fees associated with the processing of any ARC applications. However, the ARC is made up of volunteers within the community and only meets once per month, therefore applications can not be processed on an expedited schedule.
If I miss the deadline do I have to wait until the next meeting to get my application approved?
Yes. ARC Applications are due to our property management company, IKO Community Management, by the close of business on the third Tuesday of each month. Any applications not received seven days prior to the ARC meeting will be considered late, and will be reviewed at the next scheduled meeting. However, the ARC has also begun an early review of applications submitted at the beginning of the month for basic deficiencies, if they exist, to provide homeowners early notification and the opportunity to supplement and/or fix their applications prior to the ARC meeting at the end of each month.
If my application is rejected, will the ARC committee tell me why? Are there any appeals?
If a proposal is rejected, the reason(s) for the disapproval will be stated as part of the written decision. Many applications are initially rejected because they are not complete. The applicant may request reconsideration/reapply if new or additional information that might clarify the request or demonstrate its acceptability can be provided. If a complete application has been submitted and rejected, the Applicant may pursue an appeal to the Board of Directors in accordance with Section VI of the ARC Guidelines.
Do I really need to get my neighbor’s signature on my ARC application?
Yes. Although getting their signature is not a sign of their approval of what you are doing, it is merely an indication that you have notified them that you are making a change to the exterior of your property that is in their view. If any neighbors refuse to sign, you should note this on your application. Your signatures should be from the neighbors who would be most affected by the change (be in view of the change). For example, if you decide to add a deck to the back of your home, the homeowner across the street in front of your home is not a good signature. Next-door neighbors, rear-facing neighbors (whose backyards also face yours), or neighbors 2 doors down would make good signatures. Failure to include signatures or failure to include signatures from properly affected neighbors is likely to result in the rejection of your application.
What are the most common reasons for an ARC application for a fence to be rejected?
The most common reasons for ARC application for a fence to be rejected usually comes down to the Homeowner not reading the ARC Guidelines and submitting the application correctly. Fences must be placed WITHIN your property lines, NOT ON your property lines for it to be an individual application. This must be either CLEARLY shown on the survey with your proposed fence drawn on the survey or stated within your description that the fence would be placed INSIDE your property line. If you wish to place a fence ON your property line, this requires a JOINT application with your neighbor.
Other common reasons for rejection of a fence application are a lack of description of the height or length of the fence and not providing a survey with the fence drawn in.
Do I need to submit an ARC Application to change my windows?
Yes. The ARC Guidelines addresses changing windows in Section II.L for single-family homes and Section III.J for townhomes. Overall, new window frames must match the style and color of the existing frames. This should be identified in your application and provide a photograph, printout, or brochure of the new windows to be installed with the application.
What colors can I use to paint my house and do I need ARC approval?
The ARC Guidelines addresses painting your home in Section II.A.2 for single-family homes and Section III.A.2 for townhomes. Overall, unless you are repainting your home the original color, you DO need ARC approval. Single-family home colors should be in harmony with the other homes in the community. Townhomes’ paint colors should be in harmony with the other townhomes in the community and be traditional “Williamsburg” colors. A color sample must be provided with your application.
Do I need ARC approval for a Satellite Dish and where can I place it?
Satellite dishes with a diameter of less than one meter are permitted without ARC approval. As stated in the ARC Guidelines, they should be installed with preference to the following locations: 1st – rear of the house, 2nd – side of the house near the ground (preferably near meters and air conditioning unit), 3rd – on the rear slope of the roof, 4th – front of the house near the ground where landscaping can be placed in front of the dish. If none of these locations allows adequate satellite reception, then the homeowner may install in an alternate location but must provide documentation that the preferred locations were checked but did not permit satisfactory reception.
Am I allowed to screen in my deck?
Yes. Screened decks are permitted, however, you must submit an ARC Application for this change.
Do I need to submit an ARC Application to plant trees?
In general, no, an ARC Application is not required to plant trees. The ARC Guidelines address landscaping and planting in Section II.H for Single Family Homes and III.F for Townhomes. Overall, the ARC encourages the planting of flowers, trees, and shrubs, provided they are properly maintained by the homeowner. However, the installation of hedge fences does require ARC approval. Also, landscaping plans that alter the topography and/or drainage pattern of your property DO require ARC approval.
What if I want to make an exterior change not identified in the ARC Guidelines? Do I need to submit an ARC Application?
Yes, you should submit an application anyway. The ARC Guidelines still states that “Every Member shall submit an ARC Application for any exterior addition to or change or alteration to any Lot or structure.” The ARC Guidelines have been developed to address the most common changes and provide for consistency in the community. However, if you have a different change, submit a detailed request, providing all information, dimensions, photos, and documentation.
Some examples of past requests for exterior changes that are not identified specifically in the ARC Guidelines but do require an ARC application are exterior vents on your home and retractable awnings.
I have received an enforcement violation/fine about my trash or lack of lighting on my garage. How does this relate to the ARC Guidelines?
The Board of Directors has received numerous complaints about rodents in the community. One measure the Board of Directors is using to address this issue is the enforcement of our own ARC Guidelines related to trash disposal/collection. The ARC Guidelines address the requirements for trash disposal in Section II.Y for single-family homes and Section III.V for Townhouses. Most common violations are related to trash not being placed in a trash can (or covered container), being placed at the curb prior to 5pm the day before the trash collection day, or not removing empty cans or recycle bins from the curb no later than 8:00pm the day of pickup. Homeowners are responsible for the cleanup of any spillage from their trash.
Each homeowner is responsible for the maintenance of all structures and landscaping located on his/her property. Fines are only issued after an initial violation notice and an opportunity is given to rectify the violation. The single-family home section of the ARC guidelines (Part II.G.3) specifies that “Garages opening to alleys must have two (2) light fixtures facing the alleyway that is controlled by a photocell so that the lights are operational during hours of darkness.”