Understanding the ASC



Your ASC was created when Semiahmoo was formed “In order to preserve the natural setting and beauty of the Property, to establish and preserve a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing design for the Property, and to protect and promote the value of the Property”. (CC&R Article 10.01)

The ASC was established by the CC&Rs to enforce the rules designed to accomplish that purpose. They require that all “improvements” in Semiahmoo comply with the restrictions stated in Article 10. (“10.03 Approval of Improvements. No improvements of any nature whatsoever shall be constructed, altered, added to, or maintained upon any Site or any part of the Property, except (a) such improvements as are approved by the ASC in accordance with this Article X, or (b) improvements which pursuant to this Article X do not require the consent of the ASC.”)

“Improvements” include building a home, landscaping the grounds around the home, remodeling or updating the exterior of the home, substantial re-landscaping (more than 25% of lot outside the footprint of the home) and any other change to the lot or exterior of the home that has an impact on its appearance or function that could affect the rest of the community.

Our Goals

Within the limits prescribed by the CC&Rs, your ASC attempts to make the process of home building, landscaping, remodeling and updating the exterior of residential buildings and their grounds as homeowner-friendly as we can. This means friendly to all homeowners in Semiahmoo, not just to the homeowner who is making an improvement.

We are required to administer the rules fairly and equitably and the best way to accomplish this is to enforce them in the same way for everyone.

Where Are These Rules

Copies of the SRA CC&Rs, Bylaws and Community Rules are on the SRA website (https://www.semiahmooresortassociation.com/?page_id=111).

Copies of the Standards for Residential Construction, Multi-Family Construction and Landscaping along with policies on approved paint colors, approved roof and building materials, tree management, approved mailboxes, signs, the View Control Plan, Hot Tubs and Heavy Equipment, are on the SRA website (https://www.semiahmooresortassociation.com/?page_id=109).

Standards for Maintenance of Developed Lots and Guidelines for Maintenance of Undeveloped Lots are also on the website (https://www.semiahmooresortassociation.com/?page_id=109).

The curb ramp policy is in a different section of the website (https://www.semiahmooresortassociation.com/?page_id=5878).

Who Made These Rules?

The CC&Rs were written by the developer of Semiahmoo. They can be amended by a vote of the entire SRA membership. They have been amended many times, primarily to add new neighborhoods but sometimes to change the language or add new important elements to them. These documents are available on the SRA website.

The CC&Rs created the ASC, which has been functioning since the start of Semiahmoo. They authorize the ASC to create Standards, rules, policies, and procedures that implement the general and specific concepts of the CC&Rs relative to architectural and landscaping within Semiahmoo. The Standards and rules are generally approved by the Board of Directors, although there is no explicit requirement for this in the CC&Rs. Policies and procedures of the ASC are developed by the ASC staff and the Committee in order to standardize the functions of the ASC. They are approved by the Committee.

The Standards, rules, policies, and procedures evolve over time. Because the ASC is a volunteer committee, there is regular turnover. New members may introduce new ideas, revise, or eliminate existing ones. Therefore, the Standards, rules, policies, and procedures that the ASC works with are the product of many volunteer members of the community and the various people who have held staff positions with the ASC responding to the needs of the community and situations that arise during the regular business of the ASC over the more than 30 years that Semiahmoo has existed. In short, the current ASC didn’t make most of the rules, the community did.

How Are the Rules Enforced?

For purposes of brevity, CC&Rs, Standards, Rules, policies, and procedures will all be referred to as Rules going forward. Ultimately, the Board of Directors has the responsibility for enforcing the rules that derive from the CC&Rs. The rules for architectural and landscaping standards are managed by the ASC Administrator (the only full-time job related to the ASC). Rules enforcement of ASC related issues happens in four ways:

  1. New home construction, including condominium construction, cannot occur without ASC approval. Both the ASC and the City of Blaine must issue construction permits before the construction of any new building can occur in Semiahmoo. The owners and builders go through a rigorous process to get approval of their plans. This includes making them aware of the rules regarding construction and landscaping. The Construction Compliance Consultant (the only other SRA employee working with the ASC, who is part time) plays an important role in reviewing the construction plans for compliance with the CC&Rs and Standards for Residential or Multifamily Construction and monitors the project until it passes a final inspection. The ASC administrator and the Construction Compliance Consultant, therefore, have an important role in identifying violations of the rules. The ASC Administrator then begins the enforcement process.
  2. For projects (called “improvements” in the CC&Rs) that SRA members may wish to undertake that require notification or approval by the ASC, forms are available on the website (Architectural Standards Forms and Policies) to communicate the request. Certain projects require only notification. These are limited to simple repair, refinishing or replacement with identical materials such as repainting a house with the same color, replacing a roof with materials on the approved roofing materials list (Preapproved Materials), replacing a deck with the same material and color as it originally had without changing its shape or size, etc. Other projects require approval by the committee and a description of the project along with examples of materials, colors, etc. must be submitted. The ASC Administrator reviews these submissions and may contact the member for more information to ensure that the request is complete when the committee reviews it for compliance with the rules. This is the second largest source of potential violation issues that the ASC deals with. Fortunately, the approval process prevents many actual violations, making the projects of the members go more smoothly.
  3. SRA staff and ASC committee members are frequently out in the community. They may identify violations of ASC related rules and bring them to the attention of the ASC administrator who will investigate and act when appropriate.
  4. Community member who witnesses a violation can (and often do) report this to the SRA office. It is then forwarded to the correct staff person for investigation and, when appropriate, initiation of enforcement actions.

The SRA does not currently have an employee whose job it is to identify violations and initiate enforcement actions. The community’s role in identification and reporting is very important.

When an actual violation is identified, the CC&Rs require that a violation notice be sent to the SRA member responsible for the violation. Responsibility lies with the SRA member, even if the violation is done by a contractor hired by the member or a guest of a member. The SRA has authority only over its members. The notice of violation gives the member 14 days to either refute or fix the violation. If neither occurs, the ASC may refer the matter to the Board for enforcement. Typically, in violations of ASC rules fines are levied. A schedule of fines for common violations is published on the SRA website along with the list of Community Rules.

We should note here that the list of Community Rules contains a number of rules not related to architectural or landscaping standards (such as rules for pets, noise, parking, etc.). The CC&Rs do not establish a specific mechanism for enforcing these rules (which have been formulated by the Board). Only the Board has the authority to enforce them. The absence of an administrative structure for enforcement of the Community Rules has meant that various members of the staff are involved in the process. Over time, because the ASC Administrator has the most experience with the enforcement procedures, many of the non-ASC enforcement issues have landed in his/her lap, the lack of a specific administrative responsibility for enforcing these rules is a major reason that the Board proposes to hire a Compliance Officer.

What Things Are NOT in the Jurisdiction of the ASC

The ASC does not enforce the ordinances of the City of Blaine.

There are areas of overlap, and every effort is made to be sure that the Rules of Semiahmoo are consistent with those of the City. The SRA cannot have rules that are less restrictive than those of the City. However, the SRA is allowed to have rules that are more restrictive, so long as they apply only to the SRA and property within it. A good example are the rules for construction. All City of Blaine rules for construction must be followed and that is why the City issues a Building Permit and does inspections. All Rules for construction in Semiahmoo must also be followed. That is why the SRA issues a Building permit and conducts inspections.

  • The ASC has no authority to alter setbacks
  • The ASC has no authority to alter lot lines

The ASC and the SRA do not have a formal role in the writing or approval of Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) or the CC&Rs of new neighborhoods within Semiahmoo until a building is actually proposed.

It was quite distressing to learn this in dealing with the development of Carnoustie and SeaSmoke. Developers vary in the amount of input they request from the SRA and ASC. Developments within Semiahmoo are subject to the Resort Semiahmoo Master Plan as adopted by the City of Blaine (available on their website at http://www.cityofblaine.com/564/Resort-Semiahmoo-Master-Plan). This makes them subject to the SRA CC&Rs. However, negotiations between the developers and the City can lead to exemptions from or alterations of requirements in the Master Plan. In fact, some of the CC&Rs written by developers specifically exempt their building projects from ASC review before building. They are subject to review and enforcement actions after completion if they are not in compliance, but this would often require lengthy and expensive legal action by the SRA to enforce compliance.

The ASC is not assigned to monitor or enforce rules not related to architectural or landscaping standards by the CC&Rs or the Bylaws of the SRA.

The lack of any formal compliance identification and enforcement structure other than the Board of Directors has led to many non-ASC compliance duties being taken on by the ASC Administrator over time. As the number of homes under construction, remodeling and refinishing has grown, the time demand on the ASC Administrator to do non-ASC related compliance issues has become a problem.

The ASC does not have authority to referee or resolve disputes between members of the SRA that are not related to architectural or landscaping issues that are within its jurisdiction.

Lot line disputes, City, County or State easement disputes, aesthetic issues that do not involve a violation of the Rules of the ASC guidance documents are not the province of the ASC.

The ASC may, if it becomes aware of a potential issue with City, County or State ordinances, point out this possibility to a member. It is the member’s responsibility, however, to be compliant with such ordinances and work with the appropriate authorities to resolve any problems.

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