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Subject: Garage extension is being blocked
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RaulR2
(Illinois)

Posts:4


04/23/2021 7:35 AM  
Hello,

We are trying to get a garage extension built on our property but the HOA said "that it would change the silhouette of the house" and that is not allowed. The extension would not change the driveway since it would be attached to the garage as addition storage and not to house a vehicle. We also tried to suggest landscaping and a decorative tree to partially cover but still they said no because of the change in the silhouette of the house. The is no regulation on the size of the garage other than no less than a 2 car garage. I have included an example of what the extension would look like as an attachment below.

My biggest concern is that if this excuse is valid then it restricts homeowners from doing anything to the front of their house. Is there a way to petition for this addition to be allowed since a garage extension would not only match the existing house and roof line but it would also add value to the house and the neighborhood.

Thanks and I appreciate your time in reading and replying back to this.
AugustinD


Posts:300


04/23/2021 7:40 AM  
RaulR2, if you post word-for-word what your covenants say about (1) what changes may be made to a home; and (2) what the powers of the architectural committee/board are, then in my experience this will get you the most intelligent responses by far here. If you don't, then the forum is dealing with a lot of if-thens (if the covenants say this, then X. If the convenants say something else, then Y), and a lot of time is wasted.

You're welcome.
RaulR2
(Illinois)

Posts:4


04/23/2021 7:58 AM  
Section 2. Garages
All dwelling units shall have attached garages for not less than two automobiles.


In reviewing the plans and specifications pertaining to the matters set forth under ARTICLE VI,
Section 2, The Covenantor shall use a variety of criteria, including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) the silhouette and outside elevation of the home, accessory building or other building to be
constructed;
(b) the type of material and color of the exterior of the home, accessory building or other
building to be constructed;
(c) the exterior trim and window treatment of the home, accessory building or other building
to be constructed;
(d) the type of material and color of masonry of the home, accessory building or other building
to be constructed;
(e) the design and use of material used in any porches, garages, patios and retaining walls;
(f) the location and landscaping of the home, accessory building or other building to be
constructed;
(g) attainment of The Covenantor's desire to create a variety in home designs, types and styles
within The Sonatas; and
(h)
Section 10.
the requirements of the Annexation Agreement, if app
AugustinD


Posts:300


04/23/2021 8:20 AM  
RaulR2, thank you for posting what I requested. I have read a lot of case law (a.k.a. appeals court decisions) on HOAs and architectural commitee/board decisions. For HOA lawsuits, I think architectural disputes land in appeals courts more than any other HOA dispute. If your governing documents permit an appeal from say the arch committee to the Board, then you can try this route. Otherwise, there is no question in my mind that you would have to hire an attorney to make your case.

"How the silhouette is affected" may be pretty subjective. In a lot of these cases that get to an appeals court, the court will want to see if the architectural committee/board was simply "reasonable." What "reasonable" is will depend on the facts of each case.

From your description, I personally am not persuaded that the silhouette would not be changed by a noticeable amount.

But of course, all the forum has here are words. Even photos might not be enough. There are questions about how much the extension would change the uniformity of appearance of the neighborhood; whether the HOA has approved other extensions like the one you propose; and more.

If a person buys a house with a vision of what the house could be through some re-modeling, then buying into a HOA is often a mistake.

Mostly I only want to get across that fighting these decisions demands a lot of time and money. Some HOA Boards are prepared to dig in and spend the membership money on attorney fees to fight a lawsuit. Some are not.
RaulR2
(Illinois)

Posts:4


04/23/2021 8:46 AM  
Thank you for your reply.

I have always been very transparent with my HOA with my design plans. I even started talk to the VP who is charge of architectural review about the design a year ago to make sure the location and size would be okay. He said it was fine as long as the city did not have any objections. Then fast forward a year to today and now it is not acceptable and the President of the Board has final decision on the extension. I added the design I sent to them a year ago below.

Submitted Tentative Design a year ago before I hired an architect to do the full design:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1z2tuE6IYgpl62SAYXXZm_mFpydEHdEl6/view?usp=sharing

What the extension would look like from the street with landscaping as well:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CBu29LIxyfy0u8q6KWJxGnfrZNGeNScT/view?usp=sharing
AugustinD


Posts:300


04/23/2021 9:06 AM  
Posted By RaulR2 on 04/23/2021 8:46 AM
I have always been very transparent with my HOA with my design plans. I even started talk to the VP who is charge of architectural review about the design a year ago to make sure the location and size would be okay. He said it was fine as long as the city did not have any objections.
1.5 cents:

If this VP-director (both, I bet) had come to this forum asking if he should say anything to an Owner about an architectural application the Owner was considering or had submitted, the veterans here would unanimously urge silence. Why? Because the VP-director has no lawful authority to make the decision on the application on his own, and offering an opinion is usually going to end up greatly confusing the Owner. Very much like what seems to have happened here.

I recommend never approaching a director or member of an architectural review committee seeking hints on how to proceed. It's not fair to them. If the person is unseasoned, it puts them in a bad position. More.

Sorry to lecture. I hope it's seen as the opinion, based on a lot of experience AFAIC, it is. Keep watching this thread for more opinions. Or keep reading at hoatalk in general, and you will see that disagreements like the one you are having with your HOA happen often. (Not that this disagreement you are having with the HOA is over yet.)

One cent more: I appreciate your being transparent. I bet this includes never starting a modification without first obtaining the HOA's approval. The latter is great. I say this because Owners starting modifications without Board/ARC approval is often a sub-topic of HOA architectural disputes that end up in court.
RaulR2
(Illinois)

Posts:4


04/23/2021 9:56 AM  
Thank you for your advice. We only have 4 Board Members and I was lectured last time I sent an email to the President as opposed to the VP in charge of architectural review, so I was just trying to follow what they asked of me with any possible questions I had.

I want to submit the garage extension formally so that I can have written documentation of their denial and justification for this. So that I can seek legal council or gather a neighborhood petition for their subjective decision on the matter. Everything I have done to my house thus far has added nothing but value to my home and this extension would do the same. Just does not seem right that 4 members can decide what they feel is right when there are no rules stating it is not allowed in the first place.
AugustinD


Posts:300


04/23/2021 10:15 AM  
Posted By RaulR2 on 04/23/2021 9:56 AM
I want to submit the garage extension formally so that I can have written documentation of their denial and justification for this. So that I can seek legal council
If hiring an attorney is an option you want to keep considering, then documenting as you describe is a must. Sending correspondence registered mail, return receipt requested is advisable.

Posted By RaulR2 on 04/23/2021 9:56 AM
or gather a neighborhood petition for their subjective decision on the matter.
Said petition would lack any legal force, in my opinion. In fact, if a Board made architectural decisions solely based on what a majority of Owners wanted, and while blatantly violating the covenants, the Board could get itself and the HOA in a lot of legal trouble.

Posted By RaulR2 on 04/23/2021 9:56 AM
verything I have done to my house thus far has added nothing but value to my home and this extension would do the same.
Are you saying that increasing your home's value will increase other homes' value? If so, I do not think this is a certainty.

Posted By RaulR2 on 04/23/2021 9:56 AM
Just does not seem right that 4 members can decide what they feel is right when there are no rules stating it is not allowed in the first place.
A lack of guidance on what is allowed can indeed get a HOA in trouble in court. Though it's not black-and-white.

It's possible a well-written letter from an attorney you hire will win you the architectural approval you want. Estimate $1000 to $5000 for the attorney's research and writing of the letter.

Does the developer still control the HOA board, with the developer holding a majority of seats? If so, this probably works against you.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Garage extension is being blocked



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