Reston Real Estate: Design Review Board 101

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This is a sponsored column by Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. She writes twice weekly on Reston Now.

As a real estate agent, I frequently have conversations with clients and friends about their home renovation plans. I’m always amazed at the interesting ideas people have for improving their homes. However, almost always the conversation turns to how much they dread going through the Reston Association design review process.

This is not something you need to dread! I promise — the DRB application procedures are very easy to follow. And, if you do need help, it’s there for you. The Covenants Advisors are one of Reston homeowners’ greatest resources that many don’t know about.  They are here to help make the design review process the easiest part of your renovation project.

DRB application procedures

The Reston Association website has all the phone numbers and forms you need. Here is a recap of the DRB application procedures.

1. Contact RA to find out who your Covenants Advisor is. They’ll meet with you and advise you on your project and everything you’ll need for your application.

2. Submit your application. The application can be found on the RA website. The application includes the following:

  • A detailed written description of the proposed exterior modification or addition
  • Scale drawings
  • A site plan showing the size and location of project
  • Photographs of the existing condition
  • A brochure, detail sheet or catalog photo of materials
  • Estimated project completion date
  • Signatures of at least three different property owners adjacent to or within view of your alteration or improvement. If your property is located within a Cluster Association, at least one of the signatures must be that of a Cluster Officer.

3. Bring in or mail your application to the Reston Association.

4. Property Visit — RA staff and/or members of the DRB may visit and possibly photograph your property for reference.

5. Attend the DRB review panel meeting —  While not all projects go in front of the DRB review panel, if your project does require it, you should plan on attending the meeting. Your Covenants Advisor can you let you know when it’s on the agenda.

Those are the basic steps. If your application is rejected, you can appeal the decision. Or you can revise the plans to meet RA Design Covenants and Guidelines and resubmit your application.

However, if you work with your Covenants Advisor and follow the RA guidelines, your project should be approved and you are on your way!

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