Architectural Review FAQ

Can I make changes to my property?

Yes, however any exterior “Improvement” to your property requires approval from the Architectural Review Committee (ARC).

What is an “Improvement?”

The Governing Documents define “Improvement” as:

 ”any Building, any Structure, as hereinafter defined, or any alteration whatsoever to the exterior of any Building or any Structure, or any alteration whatsoever of the surface, grade or contour of any land within the Developed Property.”

This generally includes anything (permanent or semi-permanent) erected or constructed on your property. A partial list of projects subject to this rule include common items such as decks, patios and fences and also includes other items such as exterior finish or color changes, attached or detached structures (such as sheds, greenhouses, gazebos) driveways and walkways, flagpoles, mailboxes, hot tubs, spas and swimming pools, recreational items such as playground equipment and sports equipment  as well as substantial changes to existing landscape , landscape removals and grade changes and retaining walls.

ALL Improvements require approval by the ARC.  Some Improvements require pre-approval (new construction, decks, etc..), others (play sets) are pre-approved provided they comply with the standards set forth in the Rules and Regulations. Check the Rules and Regulations for the requirements for the particular type of improvement you are considering.

Why do I need to get approval from the ARC?

It is a binding restriction in the Governing Documents and a contractual obligation to obtain approval from the ARC. In addition you will be unable to obtain a building permit from the Village. Construction of improvements without ARC approval can result in action being taken by the board as outlined in the Governing Documents. Construction of an improvement without a Village building permit can result in serious fines and penalties.

What is the purpose of the ARC?

It is the mission of the Valley Lakes Community Association Architectural Review Committee (ARC) to:

    • Preserve the natural setting and aesthetic appearance of Valley Lakes wherever possible
    • Establish and preserve a harmonious and aesthetically-pleasing appearance within Valley Lakes
    • Protect the environment in and around Valley Lakes
    • Minimize soil erosion and other conditions and events which might negatively impact up on the environment within and abutting Valley Lakes
    • Protect and Promote the value of all property within Valley Lakes
    • Enhance and maintain the Architectural Character of the community

What does the ARC look for when reviewing my application?

The ARC has a set of guidelines to use when reviewing all applications. Items taken into consideration when reviewing all improvements includes:

    • Their effect on the health and safety of the neighbors and neighborhood
    • Their effect on the current and future property values of the neighbors and neighborhood
    • Their effect on the environment within and adjacent to the community
    • Their effect on the overall appearance of the neighborhood and community
    • Their effect on the ability of neighbors to enjoy their property and the community in a pleasant and tranquil setting
    • Their compliance with the Architectural Standards of Valley Lakes

What are the Architectural Standards of Valley Lakes

The Architectural Standards were created to guide the development of Valley Lakes and define many of the architectural characteristics that make Valley Lakes unique. Copies of this were distributed with the governing documents and additional copies are available on the Association website and through the management office.

Originally a separate document, the Architectural Standards have been incorporated into the Rules and Regulations of the Valley Lakes Community Association as of October 2006. The version included in the Rules and Regulations replaces the previous stand-alone document.

Who is the ARC?

The ARC is composed of homeowner members who have volunteered their time and have been appointed by the Board of Directors. At least one member of the Board of Directors serves on the Committee. Members are chosen for their experience in related fields as well as their dedication to the community.

When does the ARC meet?

The ARC meets “electronically” on an regular basis. Applications for improvement are scanned and distributed electronically for review. The ARC will meet when circumstances warrant either before or after a regularly scheduled board meeting. Public “hearings” with the ARC are not required or held.

I have questions about an improvement how do I reach the ARC?

Contact the management office or send an email to the ARC.

I want to submit an application for improvement, how do I do it, and what do I need?

Applications are available from the management office or for download on the Association’s web site. The application lists all of the requirements for submitting an application as well as directions on how to submit the application.

Download the  Architectural Review Application for all Improvements

I want to meet with the ARC when they review my application.

Because the ARC reviews applications electronically this is generally not possible. However if you would like to discuss your improvement request in more detail please contact the ARC online.

Why do I have to pay a $25.00 processing fee for my application when I already pay annual assessments?

Annual assessments are only to be used to pay for common expenses that all owners share. ARC applications are only required for single family homeowners, so they are not common to all members. Even among single family homeowners, not every owner will submit an ARC application, so these costs are unique to the individual project and therefore not a common expense. The costs associated with processing applications includes clerical time, making photocopies and postage. Since these costs are unique to the submitted application and not a common expense, a procedure was implemented in 2010 to charge a processing fee to the applicant to offset these costs.

How long does it take to get approval?

In most cases a response may be received from the ARC in about 10 days, however it can take as long as 30 days from receipt of a completed application to complete the review process.  Homeowners should be aware that when a building permit is required, the Village will require you to submit a copy of your ARC approval letter along with your permit application. You will NOT be able to apply for a permit without this approval. Homeowners are advised to submit their application as far in advance as possible and no less than 30 days prior to the permit application or expected start date. It is recommended that you submit your design review request to the ARC at least 60 days in advance of your anticipated start date.

Do I need a building permit also?

Building permits are required for many projects and are issued by the Village of Round Lake Building Department. Please consult the Building Department website for a list of projects that require permits, project requirements and other important information.

What if I don’t like the ARC’s decision?

All homeowners have the right to bring an appeal before the board to petition for a reversal. Such a change would require either an amendment to the Architectural Standards, or a grant of variance as outlined in the Governing Documents. Complete procedures for this are outlined in the Rules and Regulations of the Valley Lakes Community Association

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