This post is part one of three that will discuss the authority, structure and “best practices” for facilitating an Architectural Control Committee (ACC). A smoothly functioning ACC serves an integral role in assuring that exterior improvements and modifications executed by owners are harmonious with the standards and aesthetic expectations of the HOA.
In most every case, the ACC is defined by and created by authority granted within the Association’s governing documents. To one degree or another, the CC&R’s will specify the structure of the Committee, and lay out the guidelines for the responsibilities the Committee is charged with performing. These guidelines generally give the ACC fairly broad authority, often making the responsibilities and function of the Committee essentially as important as that of a Board of Directors.
During the initial “build out” stage of a subdivision or multi-family project, the developer/builder will assume the role of the ACC. This oversight includes establishing and approving architectural plans for exterior elevations of residences, exterior paint color schemes and approaches for landscaping. Because they have a vested interest in selling the product they are constructing, the developer/builder is well served to establish an appropriate standard for the community/Association. It is in their best interest to do so, as potential buyers will reward high standards and attractive housing product by purchasing into the community.
At some point in the lifecycle of a new community, the developer/builder will reach the end (or near the end) of their available inventory, at which point they will remove themselves from their role of running the HOA and ACC. (How and when this happens and in what condition the developer/builder leaves the HOA in is a topic for another day.) At this point the ownership (members of the Association) assume the role of the ACC, and the developer steps away.
In our next post we will discuss the formation/appointment of an owner-controlled ACC, as well as several suggested “best practices” to help the ACC get off and running with success.