Architectural Review Board: The Dreaded ARB

I read a fair number of blogs relating to the construction industry. Recently one of them was talking about the proposed removal of an 80 year-old pine tree leaning precariously over their house. This resulted in a call to an arborist (on a sidebar, I have near my home a business “The Affordable Arborists”, which my then 9 year old daughter misread as, “The Affordable Arsonists”).

Back on subject…..the arborist, upon looking over the tree situation muttered, “I can’t take that down unless you get approval from the ARB.”

Oh my. The dreaded ARB.

According to the blogger – In this particular historical/hysterical neighborhood, the ARB is supposed to be the “Architectural Review Board” but was renamed “Always Ranting Badly” since they are content to debate the finish on the screw heads of your fence until the original need for the fence has dissipated.

To give a practical viewpoint on the bloggers neighborhood, their old neighborhood has lots of trees. And many are, as you would guess, huge and old. If a cloud gathers on the horizon, they lose power. Yet many thousands of squirrels (aka “rats with bushy tails”) think their neighborhood is Disney World without the Gift Shop.

So what does an ARB have to do with your new garage, shop, or other type of pole building? In the event your neighborhood is “ruled” by one – everything.

Oftentimes a Home Owners Association (HOA) may have an ARB, so if you are a member of an HOA, beware.

ARBs hold a remarkable amount of power over what you can or cannot do on your own property. They can dictate if you can even add onto your home, existing garage/shop, or if you can build at all! Assuming they will allow you to build, they can (and probably will) dictate the size (footprint, wall height, overall height as well as roof pitch) and location of the building on your property. Going even beyond this – they will tell you what types of roofing and siding materials you may use, as well as styles of doors….even what colors they deem as appropriate!

Often times, an ARB can make your life miserable if you don’t comply. So, if your property is under the auspices of an Architectural Review Board – satisfy their requirements first. Once you do, most everything thereafter involving your property change will seem easy.

2 thoughts on “Architectural Review Board: The Dreaded ARB

  1. I’m a member on our neighborhood ARB Board in about a 500 home community. The board recently changed the wording about LV pool string lights above swimming pool. The change enclouded that the LV pool string lights can’t be installed on pool screen cage unless it meets the 12ft clearance. They can be installed around the outside perimeter of the screen enclosure. There are many already installed string lights above pool on screening throughout the neighborhood. Is there any liabilities that the ARB could incur against the board? Just trying to help out a neighbor who would like to put up some lighting just like the neighbor down the street.


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