Interim Architectural Review Committee (ARC)

Buildings: ARC 2003-08-06


Creation of a committee to review changes that members would like to make, especially to their units.


Our bylaws and book of agreements spell out that the community has the responsibility of providing for certain maintenance and repair of some Limited Common Elements, including decks, steps, etc., though it also notes that we will charge those units to recover the cost. In addition, the community must approve changes to LCEs, including new construction. We have emphasized that we wish to extend maximum flexibility to each household in making changes to their LCE, as long as these do not negatively impact the community, neighbors, etc., both now and in the future.

Great Oak is nearing completion, and with this initial opportunity for changes to LCEs, it is necessary to have a process in place for reviewing these proposed changes. It is also necessary that we move quickly in setting up a process, to allow items (specifically decks) to be built in a timely fashion if approved. A temporary decks-only policy seems to be called for, one that will address our current needs quickly, but has some level of safeguards recognizing that decisions we make now will be with us for a long time and could potentially have lasting effects.

The Buildings committee and ARC members present agreed that the consent of JD as a representative of the CDC and the Construction Committee as a representative of GO were sufficient to enact a temporary policy for immediate review of proposed LCE changes.


A temporary architecture review committee (ARC) will be formed as an empowered subcommittee of Buildings. All proposals will be posted on-line, announced via e-mail, and displayed in the CH (the CDC office will suffice until the CH is built). Anyone will have an opportunity to review proposals, and can make comments to the ARC. The ARC will have no more than one week to review proposed changes to LCEs, and will publish all decisions on either the GO website or GO wiki site, and announce all decisions by email and during normal business meetings. The ARC must meet a quorum of three (3) members to accept or reject a proposal. The temporary ARC will focus on decks; submissions for other LCE and unit alterations will be on hold until the committee is made permanent.
In the future, changes requiring approval by the ARC may include, but are not limited to: basement build-outs, non-standard decks, permanent fences that do not conform to the GO fence policy, porch revisions, non-standard AC compressors, and gutters.
However, if an urgent change (e.g., an immediate basement buildout) is required by a GO member household before the first business meeting in October, the ARC will make every attempt to review and approve it in a timely manner.
The criteria to be applied will be as follows:
o Does it comply with local zoning ordinances?
o Does the proposed change negatively impact the appearance of the community?
o Does it impact adjacent or nearby units?
o Does it negatively impact the community at large (other than aesthetically)?
o Does it negatively impact the environment?
o Is the proposed change safe (structurally, as well as for the environment)?
o Does the change meet basic security needs?
o Does the change conflict with community values?
o Is the change adequately described?
o Are the upkeep, maintenance, and replacement costs (time and labor) accurately described? (All costs will be reflected in an increase to that unit's LTCRF fee each month, as per our master deed and bylaws.)
o Is the necessary maintenance similar to other required maintenance?
o Are the immediate neighbors (or community resources) in favor?
o Is it substantially the same as another approved change? (Note: Once a deck design has been approved, another that is constructed exactly like it may be built without requesting approval from the ARC.)
If a proposal is not approved, it may be brought to the community for discussion (and immediate decision, if requested) at the next business meeting, as long as all documentation is available online to the community at least two (2) days in advance of that business meeting.
The community specifically grants pre-approval to steps/rails and decks built to the specifications used by Phoenix and/or Peter Keeler for the quotes provided to JD in June 2003, such specifications to be made available on request by the construction committee. All decks, including those built to these specifications, will be reviewed by one of the licensed contractors on the ARC (Jeff Clark or Keith Bailey), to ensure that they were built as designed.
Note: Any structural modification made before all of the site work is done will require a permit. This includes on-grade decks, steps/rails, and basement buildouts (finished basements).
The committee is also charged with drafting a charter for an ARC and revising the ARC process, and with bringing this proposal to the community by the first business meeting in October. Such a process might involve a much slower pace, and different criteria than that proposed by this temporary process.

o Provides immediate process for review of non-standard deck designs.
o Provides everyone an opportunity to provide input on proposed non-standard deck designs.

o Does not provide access to proposed non-standard deck designs for those GO members who are not comfortable with email / the wiki and/or who do not live close to the CDC office.
o May seem too process-heavy for those opposed to too many rules.
o May require an unrealistically swift response, given ARC members workloads.
o May not provide enough time for review/comment by all community members due to current time demands on all GO members.
o Does not address other long-term ARC issues (basement buildouts, gutters, etc.).

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