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Design Review
How Community Associations Maintain Peace & Harmony

ISBN: 0-944715-87-7
2004, 28 pages
Author(s): Byron R. Hanke & Richard S. Ekimoto
Product Format: Book
Item #: 5877
Members: USD $15.00
Non-Members: USD $25.00
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To be successful, a design review program must be recognized by the community as a benefit—not a burden. The board must clearly communicate the program's purpose and structure. This guide will help associations establish and enforce appropriate design review procedures and requirements. It uses the term, "design review" to describe methods commonly used by associations to preserve and enhance their community. This term is used instead of "architectural control" because it:

  • Emphasizes that the process pertains to the design concept as a whole (e.g., signs or landscaping).
  • Emphasizes the positive aspects of the review process rather than the negative concept of control.
  • Conforms to language used by architectural professionals.

Content

Introduction: Background and Key Points
Chapter 1: Design Review Authority
Chapter 2: Design Review Guidelines
Chapter 3: Design Review Procedures
Chapter 4: Facilitating Compliance
Chapter 5: How federal Regulation Affects Design Review
Appendices

Excerpt

Introduction—Background and Key Points
 
Design review—sometimes called architectural control—involves everyone who has a vested interest in a community association because it helps to maintain, protect, and enhance property values. Though homeowners are most directly affected, builders and lenders often are concerned with the continuing quality of the project as long as their reputations and financial support are connected to the community. Public officials have an interest in maintaining and enhancing the community as well—tax revenues increase with property values.
 
Associations that fail to properly exercise design review can foster misunderstanding and controversy among homeowners, a series of actual or alleged violations, and numerous expensive and protracted court cases. Additionally, the association and its members may see property values decline if design review is absent, ineffective, or inconsistently enforced.
 
To be successful, a design review program must be recognized by the community as a benefit—not a burden. The board must clearly communicate the program's purpose and structure. This guide will help associations establish and enforce appropriate design review procedures and requirements. It uses the term "design review" to describe methods commonly used by associations to preserve and enhance their community. This term is used instead of "architectural control" because it:
 
Emphasizes that the process pertains to the design concept as a whole (e.g., signs or landscaping).
 
Emphasizes the positive aspects of the review process rather than the negative concept of control.
 
Conforms to language used by architectural professionals.
 
Key Points
 
Properly exercised design review protects property values by creating and preserving an attractive community.
 
Every association should adopt a manual of design review guidelines to ensure the review process is legally valid and enforceable. The guidelines should discuss the association's legal basis, approval requirements, and basic design principles.
 
The association should promptly notify new members of its design review requirements, issue periodic reminders to all members, and give design review guidelines to every member considering an exterior design change.
 
Each design approval application should be processed fairly, reasonably, and in a timely manner.
 
The design review committee should always include one or more homeowner representatives—even if the developer initially controls the committee.
 
The association should handle violations promptly, fairly, and reasonably. Most violations can be easily resolved.
 
Consult legal counsel in cases involving an unresponsive resident or an emergency situation.
 

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