Architectural Review Board (ARB) Approval

Highlights of ARB Ordinance
If you plan on doing anything to your property-- to the yard as well as to the house-- anything that is described on the list below, it is likely that you and it are subject to the ARB approval process.

ARB approval requires you to notify your neighbors of what you plan to do.  The Building Official will provide you with the form and explain its use.
Only a few things require a formal hearing,  Usually the chair of the ARB is able to grant approval without a hearing, but  you must have ARB approval before a city building permit will be issued.

Things That Require ARB Approval

Almost every exterior change to property that is visible to the property's neighbors requires prior approval.  Here is a list of examples:
  • New house or new free standing structure, such as garage or gazebo;                                       
  • Addition or other alteration to a house or to other structure, such as-- porch, deck, stoop, roofing, skylights and solar panels, house doors and garage doors, shutters and awnings windows;                                          
  • Addition or alteration of structures and features, such as-- decorative ornaments, attached or freestanding pet and animal houses and enclosures, flag poles and light poles, sports areas, such as basketball pads or courts play structures and sports equipment that will be visible in the yard, such as basketball goals and trampolines security lights and exterior lighting skylights and solar panels gates railings permanent fire pit or BBQ equipment fences walls, both freestanding and retaining trash barrel enclosure;               
  • Change in the color of house or trim;            
  • Change in the surface finish of house, such as-- siding, stucco, brick, stone, or shingles;
  • Addition or alteration of landscape features, such as-- new trees, plantings, or planted areas removal of mature trees nonliving garden and yard features, such as-- garden storage houses nonliving edging of plantings and walkways ornaments and structures, such as trellises or gazebos compost areas and equipment storage areas artwork and sculpture;
  • Ground surface changes and features, such as-- new yard surfaces, such as brick, pavers, or gravel changes to driveway or its surface changes to steps, walkways, and sidewalks changes to patios, courtyards, and terraces change of grade or fill of portions of yard changes that will affect drainage in your yard; and   
  • Addition or alteration of water features, such as-- swimming and lap pools, whether in ground or above ground fish and plant ponds and fountains.

Minor Alterations
Minor alterations do not require ARB approval; but these are very limited, and the burden is on the homeowner to determine whether his/her project is in fact a "minor alteration" that requires no ARB approval.  If in doubt, check with the Building Official.  Building permits may still be required for the work, however.
Minor alterations are like minor repairs in that they merely restore the previous appearance of an object or property, such as:
  • repainting in the same or a very similar shade of existing color;
  • re-roofing with the same materials;
  • fence repairs that match existing fencing;
  • replacing dead plant material with living;
  • replacing existing doors, windows, and shutters in virtually the same color and style; and
  • resurfacing asphalt driveway with asphalt

There are consequences for failure to get ARB approval in advance:
  1. If the owner proceeds without  approval or the work is constructed at variance to the approval, the city can require him/her to remove or alter the work. 
  2. If the work is done without prior approval but is allowed to stay, a special fee applies.  It is the greater of $500 or 5% of the cost
  3. There are other fines and consequences for failure to comply with the building code, zoning and ARB ordinances.