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Subject: ARC Approval, Roofing docs out of date
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07/28/2021 5:46 PM  
I live in South Florida and serve on the ARC of our subdivision. Our subdivision has NO stipulations about roof replacement so we refer to the Master association covenants. These covenants have not been updated since the late 1990s. Our area is affected by hurricanes almost yearly and as a result many building codes and products have changed since these were written. The covenants are poorly written and misleading in regards to the intent of the statement but reads: All roofs must be replaced with either barrel tile or flat concrete tiles as originally installed on all homes. Only metal roofs may be permitted if the material is substantially similar in appearance of the roof as originally installed. The intent is to retain the look of the roofs that were originally installed.

A home owner has asked for a new product made from a composite that is an impact roof and superior to barrel tile for hurricane protection and insurability. There are 5 members on the ARC, myself an engineer, an actual roofing contractor, and 3 other members with no construction background. The roofing contractor said, "this is state of the art and the way of the future, I would put this on my roof if I needed one." He approved the product as did I. However we were outvoted. The other 3 members said they, "didn't like it and they didn't like the color (brown)" The 2 of us stated that it looks like barrel tile as the intent of the standard stated and no colors are mentioned as to which could be approved or not approved. There are dark gray and mixed brown roofs in our subdivision.

I would like other's opinions as well as guidance. I feel we are not complying with the actual intent of the covenant which is to maintain the "original look." The roofer and I stated that it is in the best interest of the homeowner and his property to have this product approved and that it is not mentioned in the covenants b/c they are so outdated. We pointed out that metal roofs that looked like barrel tile were included b/c they existed at the time of the writing. However, it meets the standards of the covenants b/c it looks like barrel tile. I feel that for the others to say "I don't like it" is making a decision arbitrarily and not objectively based on the covenants.

Also, there is no process for the homeowner to appeal. Is it required for them to have a recourse by law? Is there anything they can do b/c I am outnumbered and don't feel this was a fair decision?

Thank you for any comments and suggestions.


07/28/2021 6:32 PM  
That's the third rail of exterior change committees - decisions may be not be made based on design standards or the CCRs but because some people think the change is "ugly," which is subjective. That said, this is also how democracy works - you and the roofing contractor wanted to approve the request but were outvoted.

Now, it's really up to the homeowner to go to the board and ask for it to review the decision. Although there isn't a formal appeals process (and I agree with you there should be), the board is usually changed with enforcing the CCRs, so if I were on your board, I'd push for an appeal. Advisory committees like your ARC are not the board and can be overruled. Committee members also serve at the board's pleasure, so if your colleagues continue making decisions based on what they like or don't like instead of the CCRs (although they're poorly written), other folks are bound to get mad and demand changes anyway.

Until that happens, you'll have to stay out of it - you were on the committee that made the initial decision, and although you agree with the homeowners, it's inappropriate for you to advocate on their behalf. If the board asks you for your opinion, speak your piece and then let them decide. If they overrule the committee, fine. If not and the homeowner wants to push the issue, a judge or some sort of alternative dispute resolution process will have to sort it out.

Going forward, it would be a good idea to suggest to the board that the CCRs might benefit from an update, as materials and people's tastes do change and you should be able to adapt to newer styles and still maintain the overall look of the community. It will require a fair amount of research, which may be appropriate for another committee, not the ARC. The ARC or the board can work on developing a formal appeals process for CCR violations or exterior change requests that are turned down.


07/29/2021 4:12 PM  
I am not surprised that the governing documents are not updated. This appears to be a common issue seen on this site. As mentioned by another, updating the governing documents to bring your Association into the 21st Century is a massive challenge. I will make an assumption that the Architectural Standards need updating as product lines have vastly improved from the 90's. It is just easier to do nothing. You need to organize the movers and the shakers along with some task oriented owners to do this massive upgrade. Hope you can get the ball rolling. If you have a professional Management company they may be able to assist.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > ARC Approval, Roofing docs out of date

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