(takes 2 – 4 weeks)
Step 1 – Application
- Complete an Exterior Alteration Application or In-Home Business Application.
- Submit with adequate information to the Covenant Advisor.
Step 2 – Review
- Application is given to Resident Architectural Committee (RAC) & published in Village Newsletter.
- RAC members visit property to view site and plans.
- RAC discusses application at its next meeting.
Step 3 – Decision
- RAC recommends approval; approval with provisions; or denial; sends to Architectural Committee (AC).
- AC member reviews and issues final decision. Application returned by mail.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1. We plan to paint the trim on our house and replace the garage door. Do we need to get approval? It depends. If you are not changing the color or appearance of your home, then prior approval is not usually needed. If you are unsure, check the Architectural Guidelines or contact the Covenant Advisor.
2. How long does the approval process take? Is it hard to get approval? The process is actually pretty easy. Most applications are approved. If an application is submitted by the deadline date, it will be reviewed by the Resident Architectural Committee 15 days later.
3. What information do I need to submit with an application? Specific requirements vary with each project. Generally, you will need to submit a site plan (plat), a drawing and description of the proposed changes, materials to be used, and color choices.
4. My neighbor asked me to sign his application for a change to his property. Do I have to sign if I don’t like what he is proposing? It is suggested that property owners get signatures from affected neighbors so the neighbors are made aware of proposed changes. Signing the application does not indicate approval of the project.
5. What happens at a Resident Architectural Committee (RAC) meeting? The group meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30pm. Prior to the meeting, members of the committee visit the homes that have submitted an application. At the meeting, the entire committee reviews the application. If the owner is present, the committee members may ask questions to better understand the application. Residents who oppose the proposed changes may also attend the meeting and comment. After discussion, the committee normally makes its decision immediately. The decision could be “approved as submitted”, “approved with provisions”, “tabled for more information,” or “denial” of the application. The property owner will be notified via email within a few days after the meeting.
6. What can I do if my application was denied? A Resident Architectural Committee decision may be appealed. Contact the Covenant Advisor for more details.
7. Do I need any other approvals to make changes to my property? If you live in a townhouse or condominium, you should check with your association to determine if additional approval is required. Depending on the scope of your project, you may also need a building permit from Howard County Department of Licensing and Permits, 410-313-2455.
8. What if I make an alteration without getting approval? The Covenants require prior approval for changes to the appearance of your property. Making those changes without approval is a violation and is done at your own risk.
9. We requested a Letter of Compliance because we are selling our house. The inspection found that our deck was never approved. It was there when we bought the house. Why are we being held responsible? Why wasn’t it noted when we bought the house? The covenants run with the land so it doesn’t matter who created the violation. It is the responsibility of the current owner. If you did not request a Letter of Compliance when you purchased your home, then the property was not inspected by the Covenant Advisor prior to your purchase. You will need to apply for the deck. If it is in good condition and meets the current guidelines, it will likely be approved after the fact.
10. Do I need approval to remove a dead tree from my yard? There are several instances when trees may be removed without approval. Please check the Architectural Guidelines.
11. Our neighbor’s grass isn’t being mowed and the house really needs to be painted. Why hasn’t anyone made them clean it up? Covenant enforcement is handled on a complaint basis so a violation will not be pursued unless a complaint is received. Complaints may be made to the village office and are usually handled anonymously.
12. I complained about the upkeep of my neighbor’s house months ago. Why isn’t anything being done? The village has a very specific process that is followed for covenant violations. Several letters requesting compliance are sent. The village board may then send a “15 Day Notice” which demands compliance or the case will be sent to the Architectural Resource Committee (ARC) at the Columbia Association. The ARC then has requirements for accepting the case and forwarding it for legal action.