Re: architectural review
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 2005 10:58:18 -0700 (PDT)
At RW, Architectural Review has two components, advisory, and 

At a minimum, we need to have a meeting with the AR committee and any 
interested community members, with floor plans, site plan, elevations 
(exterior view plans), parking plan, and the footprint staked out on the 
site with stakes and string or flagging tape. 

Preferably, also a pre-meeting, when plans are still in draft form, to 
give some guidance when it's not so much a done deal. This has proven 


We review the home site boundaries, legal setback requirements for 
structures, propane tank; how it fits in with the parking plan -  how 
many spaces on the home site, plus how many and where, on the adjacent 
street or commons areas. We make sure they know where the appropriate 
utility stubs are located .

We review the rules about responsibilty: the owner is ultimately 
responsible for the actions of their contractors and sub contractors, 
regarding any damage to commons, any problematic loose dogs, etc. 

If any adjacent common land will be needed for staging construction 
materials, or for vehicle or equipment access to the site (concrete 
trucks, bulldozers, delivery trucks), this needs to be agreed upon ahead 
of time, and any impact restored after completion. We point out any 
vulnerable areas of plantings, underground utilities, etc, which need to 
be safeguarded. 

Any other aspects of the house plan are simply governed by city, fire, 
and building codes.

We ensure that people have consulted with their near neighbors about 
matters that might concern them. Informal discussion and consideration 
are the only requirements there. 

A valuable component of the AR is the opportunity for input from others. 
Some of our members are in construction trades "You know, if you make 
your house one foot wider, you can save money by using standard roof 
trusses..." or have built houses before "We found it really useful to 
have a hose bib and an exterior outlet on each side of the building." 
Some advice, I just said "thanks, but that's not what I'd want" (spiral 
staircase), but other advice I took and was glad (little porch off my 
kitchen for trash can, compost, garden tools). Plans are posted in the 
Common House ahead of time; before we had a CH, we'd make drawings and 
descriptions and mail them to members. 

Even if advice isn't taken, it helps to have a 
"speak-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace" opportunity. I was motivated to 
start the AR committee and process after someone built a somewhat 
controversial house and I got really tired of hearing people gossiping 
about it: "Can you believe they built THAT.....?" My own house was next 
to be  built, and I wanted it OUT if anyone had issues with it! So I was 
the first guinea pig and it has worked well ever since. 

Some vagueness about what auxiliary structures need AR- garages, cabins, 
storage sheds? Some run it by us all, some don't.


Lynn Nadeau, RoseWind Cohousing
Port Townsend Washington (Victorian seaport, music, art, nature) (very active peace movement here- see our 

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