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What are cluster standards?
They are design specifications for certain exterior elements of the cluster architecture that usually define basic requirements or limitations. Often they describe an acceptable solution which will allow the applicant to proceed with staff approval, but they do not preclude Design Review Board (DRB) review of alternative solutions.
Why can't the cluster board review design alterations for its own residents?
Because the Covenants don't grant that authority to the clusters. Only the DRB is empowered to review and approve exterior alterations and additions.
Why are cluster standards important?
In a planned community such as Reston, with areas of closely spaced housing, a degree of consistency and continuity in the appearance of cluster housing enhances its overall appearance and maintains individual property values. Predetermined cluster standards can help to mitigate the physical impact of changes upon neighboring properties
How do a cluster's standards originate? Where is the information kept? Is it available to the public?
The builder must submit the essential exterior elements of the project for DRB review and approval at the time of construction. Records of initial approvals for colors and materials, doors, fences, decks, light fixtures, etc. are kept by RA.
This information, and any subsequent changes, is assembled in notebooks for reference by cluster residents. Clusters are encouraged to review their standards files regularly to be sure their information agrees with RA's records, and that all product information is correct and the products are still available.
Can new standards be developed or the existing ones changed? How?
Any new or modified standard must be in the form of a specific DRB decision, so that there is a clear record and mutual understanding of its terms. Although the DRB may have approved certain items by specific applications from individual cluster residents, those approvals do not constitute a cluster standard.
Generally, new standards are proposed, or existing ones modified, by an application from the cluster, signed by at least three cluster board officers. Such applications are initiated in several ways:
The cluster board or a designated committee drafts the standard, assembling any appropriate supplementary information, and submits its request to the DRB on a regular application form. The form should be signed by at least three officers of the cluster board, to verify that the proposal comes with the knowledge and agreement of the cluster association. For complex standards, the cluster may wish to bring in a draft of the standard for preliminary review by DRB or staff. Staff also can assist in providing information and guidance for this process and can share examples of other clusters' standards.
The relationship between cluster and DRB is a cooperative one, with mutual benefits. Generally, the DRB will not establish a cluster standard, or modify one, without first notifying the cluster and seeking input from the board. If the cluster does not respond, however, the DRB may, on its own volition, take action to develop and approve a cluster standard.
The cluster's input provides the DRB valuable information and insight from the residents' perspective. The DRB carefully considers these comments, together with its own observation and analysis, and evaluates all aspects of the matter within the context of its established policies of design review. This cooperative process results in standards that meet the unique needs of the individual cluster, and are compatible with the community's overall design.
In most cases, the DRB will not approve a proposed cluster standard that violates a Design Guideline. If the proposed standard is unusually restrictive, the cluster must show that there is strong general support among its residents. However, the approved cluster standard will take precedence over the Design Guideline in matters of design review and enforcement.
How are cluster standards used?
By RA staff
By the DRB
By the Cluster
By the Cluster resident
Residents will know:
To contact your property advisor, please visit our Covenants Team & Appointments page.