My Appreciation of the ARB - A View from the Inside

By Nicholas Simonic, CPA, MAcc, CGMA

 I have been the liaison for the board of the directors to the Architectural Review Board (ARB) for the past 3 years. Prior to that time, I viewed the ARB strictly from a resident’s perspective. I thought, “Those greedy people are just looking for fees for anything I do on my own property.” I also took it upon myself to battle with the ARB on several fronts and unfortunately I lost those battles. As a result, I do not have white rocks in some of my palm tree beds and have not taken down my oak trees.

I went to war with the ARB after they did not approve white rocks in some of my palm beds, and they insisted that our covenants state “natural rocks,” which the covenants do. However, I thought white rocks looked better for my yard. Also, I wanted to take down 2 oak trees in the front of my house. They called the oak trees “beautiful” and refused to let me take them down. I thought, “how dare these people tell me what do.”

Shortly after, I was elected to the board of Deercreek Homeowners’ Association. The chairman of the board asked if I would be liaison to the ARB. I felt, “this is my chance to get even!” At first, when I attended the monthly meetings I thought “how petty can these people be?” As time went by my attitude changed from that of resentment to that of appreciation.

I have come to realize that the ARB is there for our benefit and not ‘their’ benefit. It is not some “old guys sitting around with nothing better to do.” They are all business persons that are dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the community’s status in the city. I now realize that the ARB is really doing things in all of our best interests.

The chairman of the Architectural Review Board is Skip Yauger. Skip has more than 35 years of experience as an architect. The other members of the board are professionals like myself. We review applications for changes that homeowners bring to us on several fronts. One way we look at it is from the standpoint of how it flows with the appearance of the community. Then we look to see if it is practical for the homeowner. We also review an application where a contractor is involved, to determine if the contractor is acting in the best interest of the homeowner. We all know that some contractors can be more concerned with when the project is done and not how the project is done. Many times when we review a project, we find the homeowner really needs the contractor to go back to the drawing board and resolve issues that could be problems for the homeowner down the road. Sometimes a member of the ARB will recommend that the homeowner change landscaping that they intended to plant. The recommendation is not because the plant was not to our liking. But the ARB member knew the plant would not last through the winter and didn’t want the homeowner to waste money.

In summary, I have come to appreciate the Architectural Review Board for its value to our community. I have grown to realize that the ARB is there for our benefit. Each member takes his or her responsibilities seriously and in turn keeps our property values up and keeps our community looking beautiful. They visit properties to determine what the applicant is requesting and see whether it is suitable or not for that homeowner. They sacrifice their time on a regular basis to meet and make decisions for the betterment of our community. The Architectural Review Board is there for you. Come and attend the meetings just to see what takes place. You too will develop an appreciation for what is accomplished for you.