: Can the board of directors overrule an architectural committee's approval of a homeowner's application?
: Depending on how the committee is structured by your governing
documents, an architectural committee
either (i) makes recommendations to the board or (ii) has direct
authority to approve or disapprove
applications. In either case, the board has final say in architectural
the first instance, the
architectural control committee (ARC) makes recommendations to the
directors can accept or reject. The
board makes the final decision. If
the governing documents give the
architectural committee independent decisionmaking authority,
the board still retains control via
The first is when the ARC disapproves an application, the applicant can
appeal to the board for a reversal of the committee's decision. By
statute, the board is given authority to reconsider
and reverse ARC disapprovals.
2. Override ARC Decision
Where a committee's decision is contrary to the CC&Rs (such as
approving a structure in the setbacks), the courts have made it clear
that CC&Rs control. Thus, boards can override an ARC approval so as
to comply with the association's governing documents. (See case law
3. Replace Committee Members
Nearly all documents provide that ARC members are appointed by the
board. If the ARC refuses to reverse a decision, the board can remove
committee members and replace them with members in line with the board's
wishes. (If committee members are elected by the membership, the board
cannot remove them and will need court intervention.)
4. Seek Court Order
. If the ARC cannot be removed by the board, it has the option of going into court for an order reversing the ARC's decision.
however, the disagreement between the board and the ARC is one of
aesthetics rather than violation of the CC&Rs, the court will likely
side with the ARC.
. Bureau of Real Estate Regulations permit the developer to control the architectural review and approval process for a stated period of time and that time is quite lengthy in the case of a master planned community. The BRE recognizes the value of giving the developer final say on architectural matters during the initial period of construction, marketing and sale.
: Make sure your association has clear architectural standards
with application requirements, notice and review periods, rejection
guidelines and, if appropriate, a reconsideration procedure. Where an
architectural committee goes off the rails and makes decisions contrary
to the governing documents, the board should immediately seek legal
: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us
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