Yesterday marked the first day of Spring –finally! With warmer weather on its way, many homeowners are itching to start new landscape and improvement projects. With a few simple and proactive steps, a community association can help reduce issues relating to unapproved homeowner projects down the road.
Here are some suggestions for community association managers and boards:
(1) A simple reminder to owners that improvements, additions and modifications require prior Design Review approval can go a long way. Some affordable methods of communicating this message are through friendly e-mails, laminated flyers posted in the community (parks or recreation areas are great locations), and on the association’s website
(2) Host a pot-luck picnic at the association clubhouse or community park. Have members of the Design Review Committee attend with their family members and make a few announcements regarding the DRC requirements. Portraying members of your Design Review Committee as friendly neighbors who care about their community can go a long way.
(3) Encourage homeowners in the community to make improvements and additions. Too often, homeowners perceive boards and Design Review Committee’s as frowning upon changes and additions. I once had a homeowner come up to me and state that the role of the DRC was to ‘deny all projects’ so that they wouldn’t have to work to approve or disapprove too many projects. As ridiculous at this sounds, I have heard this sentiment in gatherings on several occasions. The fact is that most improvements and additions add aesthetic appeal to communities and ultimately drive up property values. Try to locate sponsors (i.e. small business owners) in your community who are willing to give away small prizes and rewards for various categories such as best transformation of front yard, best backyard, etc.