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Subject: ARC Meetings
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ArtB1
(Florida)

Posts:24


01/09/2021 6:44 AM  
We are a Florida HOA of approximately 125 single family homes.

Our covenants only mention an Architectural Reviewer (singular). However we have used a committee for the past year when turnover occurred.

On a practical matter, and especially with Covid, we are challenged to get a committee meeting together and have it open to the public.

The question has been raised as to whether the ARC can review and approve (or deny) ARC applications via email.

There is no requirements in our covenants for a meeting (open or not) of ARC.

Searching the Florida statutes has not given me an exact answer.

Searching this forum did not give me an answer for Florida. I did see a post for another State where it said if ARC reviews are held via email, then the vote must be 100%.

So the question to my peers, must the ARC hold open public meetings when reviewing ARC applications? Or can we review the applications, get consensus for the ARC members and then approve, deny or ask for more information via email?

Thanks for your input.





AugustinD


Posts:0


01/09/2021 7:10 AM  
Posted By ArtB1 on 01/09/2021 6:44 AM
Our covenants only mention an Architectural Reviewer (singular). However we have used a committee for the past year when turnover occurred.
FWIW, as long as the governing documents do not indicate this "architectural reviewer" has to be one person, I think what your HOA did, when it appointed a committee to serve as the "architectural reviewer," is fine, legally.

On the subject of open meetings for this committee, I think this is relevant, from FS 720.303 (2) (a):
"Members of the board of administration may use e-mail as a means of communication but may not cast a vote on an association matter via e-mail. A meeting of the board of directors of an association occurs whenever a quorum of the board gathers to conduct association business. Meetings of the board must be open to all members, except for meetings between the board and its attorney with respect to proposed or pending litigation where the contents of the discussion would otherwise be governed by the attorney-client privilege. A meeting of the board must be held at a location that is accessible to a physically handicapped person if requested by a physically handicapped person who has a right to attend the meeting. The provisions of this subsection shall also apply to the meetings of any committee or other similar body when a final decision will be made regarding the expenditure of association funds and to meetings of any body vested with the power to approve or disapprove architectural decisions with respect to a specific parcel of residential property owned by a member of the community."

I believe "subsection" means all of 720.303 (2).
The question has been raised as to whether the ARC can review and approve (or deny) ARC applications via email.
In my opinion, and pursuant to 720.303 (2), no.
I did see a post for another State where it said if ARC reviews are held via email, then the vote must be 100%.
I suggest never trusting that what is true in another state is true in your state.
So the question to my peers, must the ARC hold open public meetings when reviewing ARC applications?
Per what I quote above, holding meetings by email, without having a vote, might be legally allowed but I do not advise it. If a vote is to occur, it must happen via a meeting open to the HOA's membership.

Use google meet. I loathe Microsoft and friends, but so far, I have found Google Meet to be relatively easy for meetings. Lots here use Zoom as well. Be strong.


Or can we review the applications, get consensus for the ARC members and then approve, deny or ask for more information via email?
I suggest distributing applications by email but resisting discussion until the open meeting. Certainly voting should only take place at the open meeting.
Thanks for your input.
You are welcome.


JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10607


01/09/2021 10:53 AM  
I have never heard of ARC Committee meetings that were open to the public. I know of owners that requested and had a meeting if a request was turned down. I know of owners being invited to attend to explain their request. In one situation at my last HOA we had multi meetings, including one on the site, with one owner concerning a garage/driveway he wanted to add.
JohnC77
(California)

Posts:560


01/09/2021 12:57 PM  
I have handled over 120 associations in 12 years. Not one had a ARC after turnover from the developer. I had one formed for one community and it lasted a whole month, maybe less. Typically the rules are for open meetings of the Board, not the committees, UNLESS a majority of the Board are taking over as the ARC.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3792


01/09/2021 1:09 PM  
My current and last community had ARCs, both made up of three bodies - from CCRs written by developers.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4276


01/09/2021 10:49 PM  
I think AugustinD is exactly right with respect to the State of Florida and ARC committees. Such committees must comply with FS 720 which reqires an ARC committee to hold noticed meetings that are open to the membership.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3805


01/10/2021 9:29 AM  
You could do it, and as a few others have said, you might be required to make the meeting open. Everything else is being done via zoom or another virtual meeting platform, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Ultimately the board should have the final say in approving the ARC request anyway, so why not have the meeting to review the application and vote to make a recommendation for approval or not? That's what I think advisory committees should do anyway. They cut down the board time by doing the initial review and as the homeowner to submit additional information, if needed before the committee votes on a recommendation.

If they do their month properly, the board might not have to do much else beyond agreeing with the recommendations of not. After that notify the homeowner. If the request was denied, that's where the appeal rights kick in and the homeowner can appeal directly to the board.

As part of that appeal process, the committee chair would have to explain why the committee made its recommendation and then the homeowner would have to present his or her argument for approval. This could end with a compromise, the board agreeing or disagreeing with the original recommendation. Document all this in writing!

If the homeowner loses again, offer alternative dispute resolution, where both sides split the costs and agree to comply with the decision. The losing side has to reimburse the winner for that half of the expense. Hopefully that keeps everyone out of court
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