Planning to upgrade, alter, or make an improvement in your unit? First, you'll want to determine whether a variance approval is needed.
Board approval is required, generally, for any work that will affect the exterior appearance of your unit, or that changes anything structural in your unit. This approval is required before any work begins. You start the approval process by submitting a variance request form (details below).
Work that requires a variance request also often requires a permit from Arlington County. Failure to secure permits can lead to fines and having to restore an area to the previous state and begin the work anew from the start. Here's a starting place for finding out about what kinds of work require an Arlington County permit
Here are common changes that require a variance request:
- Replacing windows or exterior doors
- Knocking down/moving an interior wall
- Finishing the basement
- Installing a satellite dish
- Installing hardwood floors
- Installing brick or pavers over the concrete patio
- Moving existing plumbing/electrical work or installing new plumbing/electrical work
- Installing an egress window
- Installing plants outside your fence (see "Landscape Variance Request" at the bottom of this page).
Common changes that do not require a variance request include:
- Painting the interior rooms
- Replacing appliances
- Replacing interior lighting fixtures
- Refinishing hardwood floors
- Installing a new bathroom vanity in the same location as the old one
- Planting flowers or plants in your patio area
- Replacing interior doors.
NOTE: Policy Resolution 94-2, Architectural Standards
, lists commonly approved modifications that do not require a variance request, as long as the standards specified in the resolution are met.
To make sure the work you want done is acceptable
, read the architectural standards
, complete the variance request form
, and email the form to the community manager. Your request will be added to the agenda at the next board meeting. You are not required to attend the meeting, but if you’re planning a large renovation, it may be a good idea.
With the completed form, you should provide supporting documentation showing the details of your plan. For major architectural changes, this could be a sketch or diagram from the contractor with a description of exactly what’s being done. You should note color, size, style, dimension, materials, finish, and any other details. For changes such a new door or windows, a copy of the brochure or a printed web page with a detailed description is usually sufficient.
Landscape Variance Request
: If you wish to add a perennial, shrub, tree, or other permanent addition to the common area, please use this form
to submit a landscape variance request (with attachments) to the landscape committee chair, Pat Walter, at firstname.lastname@example.org. As a reminder, the common area consists of the entire property other than the individual units and the limited common elements associated with those units (patios, decks, front stairs and portions of the front stoops).