There has been some confusion lately surrounding the process for getting an architectural request approved. In this article I will try to clear up the process and help get you a roadmap to “ARC approval”.
First lets examine some reasons you might need to submit an ARC request. If you plan to make an architectural change to the outside of your home or the property around your home… You need HOA approval. Why? So as to ensure you are not going to do something outside of the HOA rules as interpreted by the membership, committees, or board of directors. Decks, sheds, new siding or shutters (color or style change), mailboxes, driveways, windows, patios, the removal of some trees, are just some examples of things which require approval. If you aren’t sure… Contact Hawthorne for guidance.
Lets say you have decided to add a storage shed to your property. You picked out a shed at a local store and you have decided where to put it. Now what? The first step is to outline where you want to add the shed so you can show the ARC committee. The easiest way to do that is with the property survey you received with your closing documents. If you can’t find them you can google “Lancaster County SC GIS” and look up your property there (http://www.qpublic.net/sc/lancaster/search.html). You can then print a map of your property survey. With a copy of your property survey in hand, draw shed as best you can on the map. Next download the “Request for Architectural Approval” form. Â (Link is at the bottom of this page)
Follow the instructions on the form and then mail all of the information to: Almond Glen Owners Association P.O. Box 11906 Charlotte, NC 28220. The request will be checked for completeness and then forwarded to the board for review.
In many cases the request will be reviewed and quickly approved or denied. The decision is then communicated to Hawthorne via email. You will receive notice as soon as possible via either email or mail. If there are questions about the request your case may be sent to the architectural committee for further investigation and review. The ARC committee will then make its recommendation to the board and the board will then review the recommendation and communicate a decision to Hawthorne.
If you believe your denied request was made in error, you can request an appeal. Contact Lisa Barnes at Hawthorne (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to request an appeal and the board will be notified.
Question 1. What if I have already added a deck, sunroom, patio, fence, etc. and you didn’t get official approval.
Answer 1. Well, it’s a little late but late is better than never. If you don’t submit a request and the ARC committee discovered the violation, you could find yourself in the middle of a mess of fines, ARC denials, and frustrations. If you have an existing addition which needs approval… Get it in as soon a possible.
Question 2. What if I have an unapproved addition and I discover its in violation of the HOA rules?
Answer 2. If you are in violation you could be told to update the addition, change the design or completely remove the addition. The HOA can assess fines up to $100 A DAY until the violation is corrected. If you have a special circumstance and feel that you deserve an appeal of a decision made by the ARC committee or the Board of Directors, you can request and appeal through Hawthorne. (Just contact our HOA manager and the board will be notified of the request for appeal)
Question 3. How is the appeal process handled? Who makes the ultimate decision? Can I get the membership to vote if I don’t like the board of directors decision?
Answer3. In most cases the final decision is made by the members of the board of directors. Three members of the board of directors make up a quorum for meetings… but hearings and appeals are voted on by all of the board members so as to give everyone a chance to represent different opinions. The membership is not polled as the membership votes for the board members and therefore entrusts the board with their day to day decisions. Appeals are requested through Hawthorne and then forwarded in most cases to the president of the HOA. The president then brings the appeal to the board and a decision is made to hear or not hear the appeal. If the appeal is heard it might be delayed so the board can talk with the homeowner, consult the ARC committee, review the bylaws, speak with the HOA attorney, etc. The board will always make an effort to advise the homeowner of the need for a delay.
To apply for an Architectural Review please fill out this form:Â Application for Architectural Review