What is the Homes Association and what does it do?
The Homes Association is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation. The Protective Restrictions provide the authority to:
Who are the members of the Homes Association?
The Owners of record of property within Palos Verdes Estates and Miraleste are members of the Homes Association. Each property is entitled to one vote.
Who is the Board of Directors and how are they selected?
The only qualification required to serve on the Board is to be a property owner of Palos Verdes Estates or Miraleste. Directors are elected annually if a voting quorum is achieved during the annual meeting held in January. The selection is based on the talents needed and availability. The Directors are not compensated.
What does the Art Jury do?
The Art Jury has the authority to review any and all plans that pertain to the external aesthetic appearance of structures and properties. This applies to new construction, remodels, and includes maintenance issues such as repainting, re-roofing and replacing windows and doors. For a complete list, please see the following section: Costs, Materials & Process.
No structure can be built or altered in any way without Art Jury approval.
How are members appointed to the Art Jury?
There are six members on the Art Jury, all of whom are appointed by the Board of Directors of the Homes Association. Each member serves a three-year term, and terms are staggered.
Art Jury members are compensated for the time served during Art Jury meetings
What are the qualifications of the members of the Art Jury?
Three members must be practicing Architects; frequently all members are architects or landscape architects. The members are appointed at the discretion of the Board based on talent and availability.
Why are the Art Jury Meetings not open to the public?
The Art Jury meetings are confidential, as these meetings are a collaborative effort among educated trained experts. Homeowners have an opportunity to express their opinion on a project when the project is presented to the Planning Commission at the City. Members of the Planning Commission are invited to observe the Art Jury meetings. The PVHA Board President is an Ex-Officio member of the Art Jury. The Applicant and his/her Architect are encouraged to request a personal appearance if the project is not approved.
What does the Homes Association/Art Jury do that the City can’t do?
The Art Jury approves the exterior appearance of all structures to meet a standard of “good of its’ kind” to maintain architectural integrity throughout the City. The City approves the way a structure is constructed. The Art Jury cannot approve a building whose construction does not conform to prevailing City codes or ordinances, and the City cannot make any judgment regarding the structure’s architectural appearance. The Homes Association’s authority is derived from the Protective Restrictions, while the City enforces building goals and standards through building codes and ordinances.
I am told that the Homes Associations costs the residents a lot of money. Is that true?
The Homes Association and Art Jury fees are based on a “user pays” system. Only those who submit plans for review pay a fee.
Why do you need that large reserve of money?
There are a number of reasons. When a slowdown in activity occurs, the Association still has to provide a number of basic services. Without related income, reserves are used to fund the shortfall. The Association is also financially prepared to face any legal challenges to the Protective Restrictions.
Why is there the “Neighborhood Compatibility Ordinance” and what is it?
Neighborhood Compatibility is a City policy, not a policy of the Homes Association. Neighbors have a legitimate interest in your property as it impacts the character of their neighborhood, their views, and their privacy. The Neighborhood Compatibility Ordinance has placed additional limitations on the size and height of structures beyond those spelled out in the Protective Restrictions.
The Planning Commission, a committee reporting to the City Council, has the obligation to review all projects that meet the criteria of the Neighborhood Compatibility Ordinance at a public hearing. All Neighbors within a 300’ radius are notified in advance of the hearing and given the opportunity to express their support or opposition to the project. The Planning Commission reviews the project in context of its neighborhood and is sensitive to:
The Planning Commission may approve or reject the project. The applicants or the neighbors have the right to appeal the decision of the Planning Commission to the City Council.
You should contact the City of Palos Verdes Estates Planning Department to see if your project requires Planning Commission Approval.
What are Deed Restrictions?
Deed Restrictions are recorded limitations on the use and improvement of a property. They are legally enforceable. The Basic Protective Restrictions of Palos Verdes Estates were recorded in 1923.
I hear that unless you’re a member of the Art Jury or one of their friends you can’t get their approval
Members of the Art Jury do not review their own projects. They are required to recuse themselves from the meeting, as is the President of the Homes Association. Those who have gone through the process before will acquire a proficiency and avoid issues that they know will be rejected. An architect or homeowner new to the process will have more questions and should start by speaking with staff prior to initiating their application.
A friend wanted to put a domed skylight on his roof and was turned down by the Art Jury, and yet a house down the street has the same thing that he was told he couldn’t have. What’s going on?
One of two things may have happened.
The first is that the owners of the house down the street may have installed the skylight without permission from the Art Jury, which would place them in a condition of non-compliance. There are instances where people are unaware of, ignore or defy the restrictions. Since the Association does not have any field investigators some of these conditions remain undetected. In most cases the situation is resolved at the time of sale when properties are usually required to be brought into compliance by the buyers.
The second thing that may have happened is that the Art Jury approved the skylight down the street and later felt that it made an aesthetic mistake and decided to reject all future submissions. The Art Jury does not feel obligated to repeat its mistakes. In instances such as this, the Art Jury may offer an alternative which they feel is more appropriate given past experience.
Checklist for Building/Remodeling
1/ Replacements and Repairs
Many items of this nature can be given counter approval without going through the Art Jury approval process, if you are making an exact replacement of what had been previously approved. Please visit the office and bring photos, samples, brochures, and paint chips. Often approval can be granted with a nominal fee.
2/ Changing Windows, Doors, Driveway Surfaces and Roofing Materials, Etc.
Please visit the Homes Association Office to determine what is currently approved and what is not approved. Selection of Approved items can be authorized at the counter. Custom items will require Art Jury approval. If door and or window sizes change, the request for approval must be accompanied with elevation studies. An elevation study is an architectural term referring to a drawing of a vertical surface.
3/ Minor Additions: Pushing Out a Wall to Expand a Kitchen, Bath, Etc.
When exterior walls are moved, the project becomes more complex aesthetically, as well as mechanically.
While you are not required to engage an architect for a minor structural change, you should have some assistance in preparing a competent plan drawn to the standards of the industry. The Art Jury must be able to determine from your plan that the results of the project will be consistent with the deed restriction requirements and will be architecturally balanced. Many times, your contractor can provide an acceptable plan for submission to the Art Jury. The plan must show elevations and floor plans in relation to the existing structure and property setbacks. Keep in mind that no encroachment into the side yard setback is permitted. Contact the City of Palos Verdes Estates Planning Department to see if your plan requires Planning Commission approval.
4/ Major Additions and New Construction
Before embarking on a potentially costly and important endeavor, we encourage you to hire experienced professionals such as an architect and contractor.
A Framing inspection is required by the Homes Association to ensure the project is proceeding in accordance with approved plans. A final inspection is required as well, after which a certificate of completion and compliance will be issued as proof that the structure was built according to the approved plans.
The City has its own inspection requirements. Please check with the City to understand the requirements for a successful completion and Certificate of Occupancy.