What is an ARC or ACC in HOA?
Most basically an ACC (Architectural Control Committee) | ARC (Architectural Review Committee) is An Architectural Control Committee (ACC) is a standing committee within the HOA, of people appointed by the HOA Board, who sit in judgment of modifications that owners want to make to their homes. The ACC serves at the pleasure of the HOA board.
Most people are aware of the importance of the HOA's bylaws but also a large part of the governing element of most homeowners associations is their CC&Rs(Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions). These CC&Rs are the rules which govern the members of the HOA with regards to the requirements and restrictions on the use of their property. In order to enforce these regulations, the HOA creates a committee often referred to as the ACC or the ARC; there are several other variations used by HOAs. The ACC or ARC's must use the community's CC&Rs as their basis to enforce its guidelines in maintaining the HOA's values and missions as set forth in the CC&Rs.
The Responsibilities of the ARC or ACC
It is the responsibility and role of the ACC or ARC to review proposals for any construction or modifications that will be done to a homeowner's property. Based on the guidelines set forth within the community's CC&Rs the committee must then approve or deny the homeowner's requests. It is important to note that members of the ACC or ARC are independent of the HOA's board of directors. The committee members that serve on the ACC or ARC are volunteers and must often hold meetings to review pending requests and possible issues within the community as a whole as it relates to the community's CC&Rs.
The Purpose of the ARC or ACC
Ultimately the purpose of the creation of the ACC or ARC in a community is to enforce the CC&Rs established by the HOA. Their mission is to abide by the guidelines set forth in the CC&Rs with the goal of maintaining the community's aesthetic by assuring each property owner is following the rules set forth within the document. Oftentimes, the process of approval or denial through an ARC or ACC is frustrating for the homeowner members of the HOA. It is understandable that homeowners may feel inconvenienced or burdened by the need to conform to the community's CC&Rs in this manner. However, the ACC or ARC plays a critical role within the HOA, these volunteer committee members are in charge of making sure the community retains its appeal, uniformity, and overall property value which ultimately benefits all of the homeowners.
The ARC or ACC With Regards to Local Law
The ACC or ARC must meet regularly to review applications for homeowner's changes and modification requests to their property. The decision set forth by the ARC or ACC must conform with the CC&Rs created by the HOA. However, an issue that commonly arises is whether the ARC or ACC must also abide by and enforce local building codes or laws. The short answer is "no". An ARC or ACC has no legal authority to approve or deny local laws with regards to building codes and regulations. After all, these ARC or ACC members are volunteers that are not required to hold any kind of specialized knowledge in construction, zoning, or licensing. The ARC or ACC members are not building inspectors, they are simply a volunteer committee often appointed by the HOA board of directors, designed with the purpose of enforcing a community's CC&Rs. Most CC&Rs have caveats that in addition to all rules set forth in the document, homeowners must also make sure to comply with any and all local regulations with regards to their property.
Diving deeper into the issue of local law; a further question arises of whether an ARC or ACC must notify a homeowner if they are aware the homeowner is non-compliant with a local building or property code. It is not the responsibility of the members of the ARC or ACC to do so. Although it would be good form to notify a homeowner if they are aware of something that may become a problem down the line with regards to local laws they are not required to do so. Most approvals of a request by the ACC or ARC include specific wording that the burden lies on the homeowner to ensure that they are in compliance with any local laws.