FAQ for ARC

What are the documents governing exterior changes to an Ocean Pines residence?
If you are considering change to your exterior, read the Declaration of Restrictions for your section within Ocean Pines and the approved Architectural Review Guidelines. These documents are available at the Ocean Pines Association (OPA) Administration Building located at 239 Ocean Parkway in north Ocean Pines (CPI Department 410-641-7717, ext. 3013) or simply click on the link below. The CPI Department is on-duty during normal Ocean Pines business hours (M-F, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) to answer your questions.

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What is Declaration of Restrictions (DRs)?
A Declaration of Restrictions is a legal document created by the Developer and approved by the Ocean Pines Association per each section of Ocean Pines. This document, along with the Architectural Review Guidelines, requires that any structure to be erected, or improvement to be made, on a numbered lot in Ocean Pines shall require approval in writing from the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) before any work may begin.

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Why do we have Architectural Guidelines?
The Declaration of Restrictions empowers the Architectural Review Committee (ARC) to establish criteria for architectural changes and property maintenance in addition to those contained in the DRs. The Architectural Guidelines therefore are an amplification and expansion of the Declaration of Restrictions in layman’s terms and are designed to prevent excesses and abuses, while allowing individuals freedom and flexibility in property use. They were developed to keep our community an attractive and desirable place in which we live.

What is the OPA Architectural Review Committee?
The Ocean Pines Architectural Review Committee (ARC), identified in many of our OPA community documents as the Environmental Control Committee (ECC), consists of three residents who volunteer much time to the benefit of our wonderful Ocean Pines community. They are appointed by the OPA Board of Directors and receive no compensation for their many hours of community service.

What does ARC stand for?
ARC is an acronym for Architectural Review Committee (ARC). This committee of three volunteers who are Ocean Pines residents is also referred to as ECC in OPA documentation. ECC stands for Environmental Control Committee. In 2006, please refer to this Board-appointed committee as ARC.

What is the difference between ECC (Environmental Control Committee) and ARC (Architectural Review Committee)?
Nothing. The term ECC is contained in the Declaration of Restrictions. The term ARC was a new name assigned to the ECC by the Board of Directors.

Who is the CPI Department?
CPI is an acronym for Compliance, Permits, & Inspections Department. These are paid employees of the Ocean Pines Association, hired by the General Manager. As staff, these employees assist the Board-appointed Architectural Review Committee with administrative tasks such as archiving records to our personal resident folders, during normal business hours providing guidance for the change process/forms/fees process. The chief inspector oversees the CPI Department staff. Two inspectors (each responsible for North & South Ocean Pines) are actively reviewing Jobs-Change requests approved during the ARC process. They also research a complaint by our neighbor that may eventually be declared as a violation of the OPA Covenants (Declaration of Restrictions for your section or Architectural Guidelines).

What do I need to do if I intend to modify or change the exterior of my house?
First you need to know the Declaration of Restrictions for your section within Ocean Pines and the Architectural Guidelines as approved most recently by the OPA Board of Directors. For details, contact the CPI Department for guidance or review the graphical process chart “Enforcement”. (This document will be available in the next month or two as a result of a recommendation to the OPA Board of Directors from the Ad Hoc Committee on ARC/ECC Procedures in May 2006.)

How does the architectural review process work?
(This process will be outlined in graphical detail in the next month or two as the result of a recommendation to the OPA Board of Directors from the Ad Hoc Committee on ARC/ECC Procedures in May 2006. Process charts will be created to inform our homeowners and ensure that the procedures are fully understood by all parties involved for all types of changes put forth for review and approval: Architectural Review Committee (also referred to as ECC), Compliance, Permits, & Inspections (CPI) Department and all OPA homeowners.)

What if I don’t wait for approval?
Although you proceed with changes to your exterior, or build a completely new house on an Ocean Pines lot, or engage in a home business at your Ocean Pines residence, or park your RV on your Ocean Pines lot permanently without ARC approvals, you are still accountable to OPA covenants accepted by you when you purchased your home in Ocean Pines. Read your Declaration of Restrictions for your section within Ocean Pines and review the Architectural Guidelines. If these documents were not previously available to you at the time of the purchase of your residence, these documents are available at the OPA Administration Building located at the Public Works Department behind the South Side Fire Station in South Ocean Pines (CPI Department-410-641-7425) or simply click on the link below. If you do not seek pre-approval from the ARC, then you need to visit the CPI Department.

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May I appeal the Architectural Review Committee’s decision?
Yes, if your application is not approved, contact the CPI Department for advice, or review the graphical process chart “Appeals” (This process will be available in the next month or two as a result of a recommendation to the OPA Board of Directors from the Ad Hoc Committee on ARC/ECC Procedures in May 2006.)

Is there an appeal process for a variance or exception request that is denied?
The Architectural Review Committee’s denial of a variance or exception request does not mean that you cannot seek an appeal and should be provided information as to what the appeal process is. An owner is given a form explaining that a variance/exception appeal can be made to the ARC if new or different convincing arguments/evidence can be furnished. An owner should be provided specific reasons why the variance/exception request was denied and advised of potential changes that could be made to bring the requested issue into a permit-able situation at the variance/exception appeal hearing.

What is the OPA’s role in the process of a member selling a home or a lot in Ocean Pines?
Complete when Resale Packet is in place: OPA provides the information and documents required by law as a service to its members to ensure the information is correct and up to date. Further, OPA through its CPI Department will conduct an inspection of the exterior of your property and your lot to ensure your property is in compliance with the Declaration of Restrictions of your section and the ARC Guidelines of the Association.

Is it mandatory that members obtain documentation from OPA and have the CPI department conduct an inspection of that member’s property in order to meet the requirements of Maryland law?
No. Members have the legal obligation to provide the purchasers of their property all of the information and documents required by the Maryland Homeowners Association Act. To ensure the information is correct and up to date, OPA normally is the best source to obtain this information and the documents. An inspection of your property is not required by the law; however, to ensure your property is in compliance with all the covenants and restrictions of the Association, an inspection protects both the seller and the buyer.

Does the law require the seller to provide the buyer with Homeowners Association documents?
The Maryland Homeowners Association Act, Section 11B-106(2006 Ed.) requires that the sellers of a lot or home in a homeowners association provide the purchaser with certain information. The information provides the purchaser with what they need to know in order to make an informed decision when purchasing the property. All the rules and regulations to which the purchaser shall be obligated on becoming owners and other information regarding such things as the management, dues, assessments, or other charges against the lot must be provided to the purchaser. Essential to this business transaction and very important for the new homeowner is the Association Disclosure Packet and/or resale certification which is an inspection of the property to certify that any improvements or alterations of the property at the time of sale is in compliance with all restrictions adopted by the Association. There are Ocean Pines fees associated with this documentation and certification. For additional information, visit the CPI office (CPI Department-410-641-7425) or simply click the link below.

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How do I remove a tree?
Live or dead trees cannot be removed from any numbered lot without consent of the ARC. The removal of dead trees from a numbered lot is the property owner’s responsibility. For a tree removal permit contact the CPI Department at 410-641-7425 or simply click the link below.

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