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The general rule is any changes, which can be viewed front the street, must be approved. The exception would be changing the color of your plants. In the backyard, pools and structures, taller than the fence, must be approved.
This depends on the season and the complexity of the request. The Architectural Control Committee (ACC) has 30 days to rule on a request and with every update of information, another 30 days is allowed. Spring is our busiest time of the year so there may be long waits for approval during this time. Complex plans or multiple requests on one ACC request form can slow down your approvals. Breaking multiple requests into smaller applications may speed up approval time.
The association looks at distance of the water from the property line as well as potential drainage issues. Large amounts of decking can cause drainage to move to a neighbor's yard. Adequate planning for drainage must be included in the plans.
First, you risk putting in an improvement that could have to be removed at a later date. This is wasted time and money on your part. If your improvement does not meet the standards of the ACC or is against any rule in the documents, the ACC can expect you to have to remove it.
Second, any unapproved item added to the exterior of your home can slow down the sale of your home at a later date. When staff is notified that your home is under contract, a site inspection of the home is completed. If you did a project without approval, it will be noticed at that time. The buyer will be notified and will, most likely, want you to go through the approval process. This will not be expedited for the sake of the sale and could cause delays in closing the home.