If you live in Palos Verdes Estates you know that dealing with the Art Jury can be rough. But it doesn't have to be. I want to share some tips that I've learned in my 20 years of experience down here in the peninsula. They'll help you 'navigate the waters' when dealing with the Palos Verdes Art Jury and plan checkers.
How to Pull Permits and Deal with the Palos Verdes Estates Art Jury
If you are planning on remodeling your home and you live in the Palos Verdes Estates or Miraleste area of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, you will have to deal with the Palos Verdes Homes Association (or PVHA) and Art Jury. In this article, I will cover important information that homeowners need to know if they are planning a major remodel of their house.
The PVHA & Art Jury have authority over all of Palos Verdes Estates, and the Miraleste neighborhood of RPV (the original planned city)
As a general contractor in the South Bay, I have been performing major home remodels throughout the last 17 years; dealing with the Art Jury is just a part of construction in Palos Verdes Estates.
Pulling permits in Palos Verdes Estates is a 2 -step process...
- First. You must get Art Jury approval on any work that impacts the exterior of the house such as roofing, windows, stucco or siding repair, landscaping with hardscape, home additions, or new construction.
- Second. You'll need a full set of plans. Engineering and structural drawings must be submitted to the Palos Verdes Estates Office of Building and Safety for approval.
IMPORTANT TIP: I recommend you get the architectural drawings approved by the Art Jury first so you don’t have to pay an engineer to redo work in the event that corrections cause a change to the structure.
Plan check fees will be paid separately to the City, and Art Jury. There is a series of fees paid to the Art Jury that are different from the fees paid to the City of Palos Verde Estates. Depending on the size of your project, fees can range from $1,000 to $15,000. This is not part of the construction cost or architectural cost. Homeowners are responsible for paying these fees.
Art Jury Q&A
1. What type of work requires an Art Jury review?
Any exterior work that impacts the look of the home, or the landscaping. In most cases, you will need site plans and wall elevations detailing the proposed work. Have pictures of the area handy in order to explain the totality of the work you’re proposing.
Are you making any exterior alterations? You'll need Art Jury approval for that!
2. What should know about Palos Verdes Estates Art Jury?
- The Art Jury keeps detailed records on every house and structure in the Home Owners Associations. They have all the original blueprints and construction drawings. They have better records than any other municipality out here in Southern California. The quality of the drawings and the level of detail work is bar-none.
- Fact: They also have pictures of all angles of the house. It is part of their archives.
- The deed restriction on your property gives them the authority to set architectural and other aesthetic requirements.
- The Art Jury meets every Tuesday to review plans submitted for minor projects (closed to public). The Last day to sneak in and submit plans for review is Monday 1:00 pm (not always guaranteed). They certainly review all plans submitted from the prior week. Full reviews (for major projects) take place on the 1st & 3rd Monday of each month.
- Once the plans are approved the construction must match the plans exactly! Any deviation requires Art Jury approval. Do not build something permanent without getting approved first. You may have to knock it down. It will cause massive delays and major expenses.
- New home buyers are completely liable for any and all non-compliance issues that are existing at the time of sale. New home buyers should check in with the Art Jury and see if the property has any open violations.
- Architectural Design style approved the standard that the Art Jury uses to evaluate a project, “high standard of artistic result and attractiveness in exterior and physical appearance of said property and improvements.”:
- Spanish Colonial
- Post and Beam Modern
3. What are some tips to avoid pitfalls?
Try and work with a single person, don’t bounce around with different plan checkers. Pick one and ask to speak with them consistently through the plan check process.
Do not turn in incomplete plans. They will just 'red ink' them to death and it shows that you are not an “A” player. They can smell inexperience from a mile away.
Never lose your cool and disrespect anyone at the counter. It will only make things worse. You may get frustrated because you don’t have to meet these requirements anywhere else (means absolutely squat to them) but people put up with it for a reason...the peninsula is a beautiful place to live.
4. What can you do to cut down the time it takes to get plans approved?
Detailed Plans. Your set of plans should include a site plan and supporting elevations of exterior walls. Take pictures of the areas to be remodeled. The plans will need to have tremendous amounts of detail. Detailed drawings and detailed notations will be required.
Plan submission to the Art Jury will likely require 3-4x more drafting time than any other municipality. Do the work at the drafting table to avoid lost time, and engage in plan check reviews.
You will need to include details of window installations, roof tile installations supported with clear notations explaining the plans.
Request all corrections 'in writing': Once you have corrections, make an appointment with the plan checker and get them to completely explain the nature of the corrections so that you can provide the details they are looking for.
The goal is to get only 1 or 2 rounds of corrections, not 5 or 6. This only can only be achieved if you have a clear list of what needs to be addressed from the start. Oftentimes, the corrections will be short and unclear in specificity. A quick 20-minute conversation with the plan checker will prevent countless hours of frustration down the road.
The PV Art Jury in 1927. Courtesy of Daily Breeze.
Yes, dealing with the Art Jury can be frustrating at times, but I think it is important to maintain perspective; when it comes to architecture, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Dealing with the Art Jury doesn’t have to be an adversarial endeavor. Ultimately, people like living in Palos Verdes Estates because of its beauty. Regarding the Art Jury, love them or hate them, Palos Verdes is a beautiful place in many ways because of their efforts. They have been the guardian of ‘good taste’ since 1924.
Our goal is to provide our clients with the best information so that they know what they are buying.