Reston Real Estate: Submitting an Application to RA’s Design Review Board

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

Working with Reston Association’s Design Review Board can be intimidating to new home owners, but the process is really very easy — and everyone at RA willing to help you through it. I shared the basic process of working with the DRB in January. This month, I’ll take you through submitting your design review application. All of the forms can be found on the RA website.

You are responsible for having your project reviewed and approved. RA’s staff and the DRB are more than willing to work with you and your contractor. In fact, many contractors that work in Reston are fantastic resources for navigating the design review process — and for designing improvements that the DRB will approve. Ultimately, though, you are responsible for ensuring your property complies with the Design Covenants and Guidelines.

One of the biggest reason an application gets rejected is because the homeowner hasn’t provided all of the required information. It may take a while to pull this information together, but it will save time in the long run. If you are confused about any of it, your RA Covenants Advisor is a great resource. Call RA (703-435-6530) to connect with your advisor.

What the application must include

As a reminder, if you are a member of Reston Association, you need to submit an application to the DRB if you want to make a change to the exterior of your home. If you’re renovating your kitchens or bathroom, you don’t need to go through this process. However, if it’s happening on the outside of your home, here is what the DRB wants to see (taken from the RA website):

  1. A detailed written description of the proposed exterior modification or addition
  2. Scale drawings
  3. A site plan showing size and location of project
  4. Photographs of the existing condition
  5. A brochure, detail sheet, or catalog photo of materials
  6. Estimated project completion date(s) (projects must be started within six (6) months of the date of approval and completed within eighteen (18) months of the date of approval)
  7. The signatures of at least three different property owners adjacent to or within view of the applicant’s alteration or improvement.
  8. In addition, if your property is located within a Cluster Association at least one of the signatures must be that of a Cluster Officer.  Please note, the neighbors’ acknowledgment is neither an approval nor disapproval of your application.
  9. At the discretion of the DRB, applications that the DRB determines to have a wider impact on the community may be required to provide additional notice beyond the signatory requirements of this provision.

When you’re done collecting all of this information, you can drop your application off in person, fax it to 703-673-2040, email it to your Covenants Advisor as an attachment, or mail it to: Reston Association, Covenants Administration, 12001 Sunrise Valley Dr., Reston, VA 20191-3404

After RA receives your application, staff and/or members of the DRB may visit your property, and possibly photograph it, for reference.

That’s it for the application. To learn more about the entire application process, visit the RA website.

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