Re: Architectural Review
From: Dave and Diane (
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005 06:32:29 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Norm,
"Ugly or shoddy" is the least of your worries. I am aware of at least one cohousing community (which shall remain nameless unless they choose to identify themselves) in which a person building a deck almost blew up the community because they hit a gas main while excavating.

Here is the relevant section from our bylaws. We are a very new community, so we have not had
any experience with this yet.

Hope this helps!

JP COHOUSING  617-522-2209
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Section 5.1 Policy

It is the policy of the Association that, while intending to preserve the aesthetic integrity of the architectural design of the Condominium, it respects and values individual choices. Therefore, provision is made to balance these interests.

Section 5.2 General

Subject to the provisions of the Master Deed and this Article, a Unit Owner may make non-structural alterations to the exterior of their Unit or exclusive use space.

Section 5.3 Exclusive Use Spaces

Exclusive use spaces are stoops, balconies, light wells and other areas for which certain Unit Owners have exclusive easements as provided in the Master Deed.

Any construction or attachment of objects (“alteration”) in these spaces, such as trellises, arbors, exterior light fixtures or fences shall be subject to the policy and process for exterior alterations set out in this Article.

Section 5.4 Process and Obligations

If the proposed alteration is reversible without damage to the Condominium and which an Owner is willing and able to reverse if so directed, no prior approval is required for an alteration to the exterior of a Unit. An example is a window box. If another Unit Owner objects to the alteration and no agreement can be reached, the standard conflict resolution process of the Association shall be followed.

b.      For other changes, the process shall be as follows:

A simple proposal may be used to get initial feedback from the
community on proposed alterations, before hiring an architect and getting permits. The Unit Owner shall post a description of the proposed change on the community bulletin board, and by email. A space on the bulletin board will be designated for proposed changes. The final proposal should include a full description of the change, including dimensions; architect’s approval of design for structural changes; legal permits if required; short-term effects on the community during construction, such as noise; possible long-term effects on the community.
A 30-day comment period will follow.  Members may post their
comments alongside the proposal.

        After the 30-day period, if there are no objections, the owner may go
ahead with the change.

If there are objections (objections should not be unreasonable) or
comments, the concerned parties should meet with the owner to try to come to an agreement. If necessary, the Association’s conflict resolution procedure should be followed.

An owner is responsible for cleaning up debris and repairing damage to
the common areas or to other property made during the process of alterations. Maintenance of alterations shall be the responsibility of the Unit Owner. The Association may direct the Owner to remove the alterations if they are not properly maintained. In addition, the owner is responsible for cleaning up debris and repairing the damage to common areas or other property that results from the continued presence of the alteration.

Changing the flooring in second or third story units in such a way as to
materially detract from the prevention of sound transmission to the units immediately below shall constitute an external alteration for purposes of this section.

The Association may modify these procedures from time to time without
the necessity of amending this Declaration.

On Tuesday, October 11, 2005, at 06:16 AM, Norm Gauss wrote:

Our community is wrestling with the requirement in our CC&R's of an
Architectural Committee.  <snip>

Can anyone out there in cohousing land give me some ideas on ways that the community assets can be protected from poorly planned or executed projects
that may end up being ugly or shoddy?

Norm Gauss

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