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Article IV Architecture and Landscaping
 
4.1. General. No structure or thing shall be placed, erected, or installed upon any Unit within the Properties and no improvements or other work (including staking, clearing, excavation, grading and other site work, exterior alterations of existing improvements, or planting or removal of landscaping) shall take place within the Properties, except in compliance with this Article, the Residential Design Guidelines adopted pursuant to this Declaration.
 
Approval of the PIC shall not be required to repaint the exterior of a structure, if in accordance with the originally approved color scheme, or to rebuild in accordance with originally approved plans and specifications. Any Owner may remodel, paint, or redecorate the interior of his or her Unit without approval, provided that the work performed complies with all laws applicable to the Local Jurisdiction. However, modifications to the interior of screened porches, patios, and similar portions of a Unit visible from outside the structure and modifications to enclose garages as living space shall be subject to approval.
 

All dwellings constructed on any portion of the Properties shall be designed by and built in accordance with the plans and specifications of a licensed architect or licensed building designer unless otherwise approved by Declarant or Declarant's designee, in its sole discretion. This Article shall not apply to Declarant's activities, nor to the Association's activities during the Class "B" Control Period.

4.2. Design Review.

  1. By Declarants. Each Owner, by accepting a deed or other instrument conveying any interest in any portion of the Properties, acknowledges that Declarant has a substantial interest in ensuring that the improvements within the Properties enhance Declarant's reputation as a community developer and do not impair Declarant's ability to market, sell, or lease their property. Therefore, each Owner agrees that no activity within the scope of this Article ("Work") shall be commenced on such Owner's Unit unless and until Declarant or Declarant's designee has given its prior written approval for such Work, which approval may be granted or withheld in Declarant's or Declarant's designee's sole discretion.

    In reviewing and acting upon any request for approval, Declarant or its designee shall be acting solely in Declarant's interest and shall owe no duty to any other Person. Declarant's rights reserved under this Article shall continue so long as Declarant owns any portion of the Properties or any real property described in Exhibit A, unless earlier terminated in a written instrument executed and Recorded by Declarant. Declarant may, in its sole discretion, designate one or more Persons from time to time to act on Declarant's behalf in reviewing applications hereunder.

    Declarant may from time to time, but shall not be obligated to, delegate all or a portion of the Declarant's reserved rights under this Article to (i) a Property Improvement Committee appointed by the Association's Board of Directors (the "PIC"), or (ii) a committee comprised of architects, engineers, or other persons who may or may not be Members of the Association. Any such delegation shall be in writing, specifying the scope of responsibilities delegated, and shall be subject to (i) Declarant's right to revoke such delegation at any time and reassume jurisdiction over the matters previously delegated; and (ii) Declarants right to veto any decision which Declarant determines, in Declarant's sole discretion, to be inappropriate or inadvisable for any reason. So long as Declarant has any rights under this Article, the jurisdiction of the foregoing entities shall be limited to matters specifically delegated by Declarant.

  2. Property Improvement Committee. Upon delegation by Declarant or upon expiration or termination of Declarant's rights under this Article, the Association, acting through the PIC, shall assume jurisdiction over design, property modification and architectural matters in the Property. The PIC, when appointed, shall consist of at least three, but not more than seven, persons who shall serve and may be removed and replaced in the Board's discretion. The members of the PIC need not be Members of the Association, the Board, or representatives of Members, and may, but need not, include architects, engineers, or similar professionals, whose compensation, if any, shall be established from time to time by the Board. If the PIC is not formed, or is determined to lack authority to exercise the powers assigned to it for any reason, the Board shall act as the PIC and may delegate any portion of the PIC's duties to any person, subject to final approval or ratification by the Board. The PIC may be broken into or may form subcommittees to preside over particular areas of review (e.g., a new construction subcommittee and a modifications subcommittee.) Any reference herein to the PIC should be deemed to include a reference to any such subcommittee.

    Unless and until such time as Declarant delegates all or a portion of its reserved rights to the PIC or Declarant's rights under this Article terminate, the Association shall have no jurisdiction over architectural matters. For purposes of this article, the entity having jurisdiction in a particular case shall be referred to as the "Reviewer."

  3. Reviewer Fees: Assistance. The Reviewer may establish and charge reasonable fees for review of applications hereunder and may require such fees to be paid in full prior to review of any application. Such fees may include the reasonable costs incurred in having any application reviewed by architects, engineers, or other professionals. Declarant and the Association may employ architects, engineers, or other persons as deemed necessary to perform the review. The Board may include the compensation of such persons in the Association's annual operating budget as a Common Expense.
4.3. Guidelines and Procedures.
  1. Residential Design Guidelines. Declarant may prepare the initial Residential Design Guidelines, which may contain general provisions applicable to all of the Properties as well as specific provisions which vary from area to area within the community. The Residential Design Guidelines are not the exclusive basis for decisions of the Reviewer and compliance with the Residential Design Guidelines does not guarantee approval of any application. Absence of adopted Residential Design Guidelines shall not limit the PIC's ability to exercise its powers; however, when disapproving an application for permission to perform Work, the PIC shall describe the basis for its decision if it is unable to refer to adopted Residential Design Guidelines as the reason for its election to disapprove an application.

    Declarant shall have sole and full authority to amend the Residential Design Guidelines in a manner consistent with the Permits as long as the Declarant owns any portion of the Properties or has a right to expand the Properties pursuant to Section 9.1, notwithstanding a delegation of reviewing authority to the PIC, unless Declarant also delegates the power to amend to the PIC. Upon termination or delegation of Declarant's right to amend, the PIC shall have the authority to amend the Residential Design Guidelines in a manner consistent with the Permits, with the consent of the Board. Any amendments to the Residential Design Guidelines shall be prospective only and shall not apply to require modifications to or removal of structures previously approved once the approved construction or modification has commenced. Except for conditions of the Permits, there shall be no limitation on the scope of amendments to the Residential Design Guidelines, and such amendments may remove requirements previously imposed or otherwise make the Residential Design Guidelines less restrictive.

    The Reviewer shall make the Residential Design Guidelines available to Owners and Builders who seek to engage in development or construction within the Properties. In Declarant's discretion, such Residential Design Guidelines may be Recorded, in which event the Recorded version, as it may unilaterally be amended from time to time, shall control in the event of any dispute as to which version of the Residential Design Guidelines was in effect at any particular time.

  2. Procedures. No Work shall commence on any portion of the Properties until an application for approval has been submitted to and approved by the Reviewer. Such application shall include plans and specifications ("Plans") showing site layout, structural design, exterior elevations, exterior materials and colors, landscaping, drainage, exterior lighting, irrigation, and other features of proposed construction, as applicable. The Residential Design Guidelines and the Reviewer may require the submission of such additional information as may be reasonably necessary to consider any application.

    In reviewing each submission, the Reviewer may consider any factors it deems relevant, including, without limitation, harmony of external design with surrounding structures and environment. Decisions may be based on purely aesthetic considerations. Each Owner acknowledges that determinations as to such matters are purely subjective and opinions may vary as to the desirability and/or attractiveness of particular improvements.

    The Reviewer shall respond in writing to the applicant at the address specified in the application. The response may (i) approve the application, with or without conditions; (ii) approve a portion of the application and disapprove other portions; or (iii) disapprove the application. The Reviewer may, but shall not be obligated to, specify the reasons for any objections and/or offer suggestions for curing any objections.

    In the event that the Reviewer fails to respond in a timely manner (as provided in the Residential Design Guidelines), approval shall be deemed to have been given, subject to Declarant's right to veto approval by the PIC pursuant to this Section. However, no approval, whether expressly granted or deemed granted pursuant to the foregoing, shall be inconsistent with the Residential Design Guidelines unless a differing design proposal has been approved pursuant to Section 4.5. Notice shall be deemed to have been given at the time the envelope containing the response is deposited with the U. S. Postal Service. Personal delivery of such written notice shall, however, be sufficient and shall be deemed to have been given at the time of delivery to the applicant. The Board may also adopt other methods for providing notice, by promulgation of Rules describing such notice procedures.

    Until expiration of Declarant's rights under this Article, the PIC shall notify Declarant in writing within three business days after the PIC has approved any application relating to proposed Work within the scope of matters delegated to the PIC by Declarant. The notice shall be accompanied by a copy of the application and any additional information which Declarant may require. Declarant shall have 10 days after receipt of such notice to veto any such action, in its sole discretion, by notice to the PIC and the applicant.

    If construction does not commence on a project for which Plans have been approved within one year after the date of approval, such approval shall be deemed withdrawn and it shall be necessary for the Owner to reapply for approval before commencing the proposed Work. Once construction is commenced, it shall be diligently pursued to completion_ All Work shall be completed within one year of commencement unless otherwise specified in the notice of approval or unless the Reviewer grants an extension in writing, which it shall not be obligated to do. If approved Work is not completed within the required time, it shall be considered nonconforming and shall be subject to- enforcement action by the Association, Declarant or any aggrieved Owner.

    The Reviewer may, by resolution, exempt certain activities from the application and approval requirements of this Article, provided such activities are undertaken in strict compliance with the requirements of such resolution.
4.4. No Waiver of Future Approvals. Each Owner acknowledges that the persons reviewing applications under this Article will change from time to time and that opinions on aesthetic matters, as well as interpretation and application of the Residential Design Guidelines, may vary accordingly. In addition, each Owner acknowledges that it may not always be possible to identify objectionable features of proposed Work until the Work is completed, in which case it may be unreasonable to require changes to the improvements involved, but the Reviewer may refuse to approve similar proposals in the future. Approval of applications or Plans for any Work done or proposed, or in connection with any other matter requiring approval, shall not be deemed to constitute a waiver of the right to withhold approval as to any similar applications, Plans, or other matters subsequently or additionally submitted for approval.

4.5. Variances. The Reviewer may authorize variances from compliance with any of its guidelines and procedures when circumstances such as topography, natural obstructions, hardship, or aesthetic or environmental considerations require, but only in accordance with the laws of the Local Jurisdiction. Such variances may only be granted, however, when unique circumstances dictate and no variance shall (a) be effective unless in writing; (b) be contrary to this Declaration; or (c) estop the Reviewer from denying a variance in other circumstances. For purposes of this Section, the inability to obtain approval of any governmental agency, the issuance of any permit, or the terms of any financing shall not be considered a hardship warranting a variance.
 
4.6. Limitation of Liability. The standards and procedures established by this Article are intended as a mechanism for maintaining and enhancing the overall aesthetics of the Properties; they do not create any duty to any Person. Review and approval of any application pursuant to this Article is made on the basis of aesthetic considerations only and the Reviewer shall not bear any responsibility for ensuring the structural integrity or soundness of approved construction or modifications, nor for ensuring compliance with building codes and other governmental requirements, nor for ensuring that all dwelling are of comparable quality, value, or size or of similar design. Declarant, the Association, the Board, any committee, or member of any of the foregoing shall not be held liable for soil conditions, drainage or other general site work, any defects in plans revised or approved hereunder, or any injury, damages, or loss arising out of the manner or quality of approved construction on or modifications to any Unit. In all matters, Declarant, the Board, the PIC, and any members thereof shall be defended and indemnified by the Association as provided in Section 7.6.
 
4.7. Certificate of Approval. Any Owner may request that the Reviewer issue a certificate of approval certifying that there are no known violations on his or her Unit of this Article or the Residential Design Guidelines. The Association shall either grant or deny such request within 30 days after receipt of a written request and may charge a reasonable administrative fee for issuing such certificates. Issuance of such a certificate shall estop the Association from taking enforcement action with respect to any condition as to which the Association had notice as of the date of such certificate.