Purpose of the FUOA Architectural Review Committee (ARC):

The ARC was established according to our Covenants, Section 24, to review all Unit Owner plans for improvements and landscaping.  Its procedures and guidelines are set forth in our Design Guidelines.  The committee’s mission is to help Unit Owners adhere to these guidelines, which are subject to all applicable Federal, State and Jefferson County statutes and regulations, as well as all applicable zoning and subdivision regulations and building codes.  The goal of the guidelines is to provide a basis for maintaining the original consistency of our development, a custom home community, while respecting the natural setting and allowing for the individual taste and expression.   

Homeowners are encouraged to seek the assistance of a qualified design professional with skills appropriate to the project being submitted for review, such as an architect, landscape architect, civil engineer, surveyor, etc. 

All new Unit Owners should have received FUOA documentation including the Design Guidelines at their closing if not prior.  The Welcome Committee also ensures new members receive these documents. All landlords are responsible for conveying at a minimum the Covenants and Restrictions to their renters.   

This document represents merely highlights of the ARC review process and does not replace a careful review of the Design Guidelines and Design Review Process document in its entirety.

 Why the ARC is Important?

As Shepherdstown and its surrounding areas provides an excellent model for architectural styles drawn from Colonial, Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian, the committee endeavors to maintain a level of consistency in the interpretation of these traditional styles.  “Scale, massing, windows, doors, dormers, trim work and finishes are interrelated ingredients that must be properly executed.” (p. 8, “Design Guidelines”)

  • Time-honored architectural proportion is unassuming when it’s done correctly, but very noticeable when it’s wrong.  Beauty is not always “in the eye” of the beholder.
  • The review process is a collaborative effort to bring out the best in the visual appearance of every new custom home and project integrated with the dreams of the home owner.
  • The ARC is even more important now as we are finishing up the development with the last lots. 

When Do You Call on the ARC for Approvals?

Section 24.5 of the Covenants states that “No Unit Owner shall construct any improvement or install any landscaping plans on any Unit without first obtaining the written consent of the Review Committee.”  Here are two illustrative lists that will help on a decision as to whether to call on the committee or not.

 Approvals Needed

  • New construction of large and small projects
  • Exterior building additions and renovations
  • Changes in any exterior paint color whether trim, siding, porch, doors or decking
  • Additions or extensions to decks, patios or hard surfaces
  • Installation of awnings
  • Removal of live trees larger than 4 inches in diameter
  • Major additions or changes to the original landscaping plan including new beds, changes to the existing ones and/or the planting of new trees
  • Installation of satellite dishes
  • Installation of any fencing or screening

 When changes are made without approval, it does show a disregard for the community.  When a Unit Owner proceeds without approval, the Board will give notice to the Unit Owner and a hearing will be scheduled.  According to the Covenants, a $25.00/day fine may be levied against a property.

No Approvals Needed

  • Removal of dead trees Tree Service Contractors
  • Removal of live trees less than 4 inches in diameter
  • Interior only renovations
  • Installation of black wrought iron railing on villa units
  • Replacement of trees/shrubs in established landscaping beds Recommended Plant List
  • Exterior paint colors which are the same as the original ones approved

Plan Ahead…And Other Reminders about the ARC Process

  • PLAN AHEAD! Depending on the project, approvals can take a minimum of one to two months.  A one month time frame could happen only if every step works like clockwork.  Below are some of the steps requiring time and scheduling.
  • Projects such as new construction, additions, renovations and hardscapes require a professional review.  The guidelines require 15 days notice for the reviewer.
  • These same projects require a 5 day posting of a sign to give neighbors notice of the review hearing date.
  • Reviews may require a site visit on the part of all members.  Digital pictures help.
  • Reviews require a vote of a quorum of members. Depending on the professional’s review, the home owner may also wish to have the presence of their contractor or architect.  This all means a coordination of schedules.
  • A project may not get approved with an initial presentation or it may get approved with conditions.
  • Any project, including new home construction, requiring a professional review will incur a fee from $25 to $500.  The fee is based on the cost of the project.  Please see the fee schedule on the Second Addendum to the Design Guidelines and Design Review Process. 
  • Construction requires the posting of a $1,000 bond that is refundable upon the determination of no damages to the swale and the road with project completion.
  • Approvals come from a majority vote of the ARC only.