Purpose of Site Plan or Survey for ARB Application


A site plan, also known as a "plot plan", is an illustrative drawings showing important structures, dimensions, equipment, widgets, etc. and other informational details. A site plan can be very detailed and extensive as often created by an architect or engineer, but for our purposes within the HOA for most things, it doesn't have to be. Providing a site plan with your ARB application submission, if required and in most cases, doesn't have to be a big ordeal nor does it require the expense of involving a costly surveyor. The requirement of a site plan is when the homeowner intends to build or modify a structure on the exterior of their home which can have an impact on Covenant (and/or City) requirements for "front/back/side setbacks" from the property line. The purpose of the site plan is to show the relationship of the new structure to the homeowner's property line. Homeowners are not authorized to build structures beyond their lot and in some cases the HOA Covenants and/or the City requires the structure to be a certain distance ("setback") from the property line.

While maintenance expenditures such as re-roofing and painting do not require a site plan (they require color swatches, samples, etc.) projects involving installation or modification of a structure require a site plan to ensure adherence to setback requirements. Fences, while being structures, are thought of a bit differently when it comes to setback requirements. For most fence installations, the ARB wants to see a certified professional survey to ensure the following things do not happen: (1) fence is built on the neighbors' property because homeowner did not know precisely where the property line is, and (2) fence is built right on the property line. Technically, a fence built on the property line is jointly owned by both homeowners which could lead to disputes down the road. The only time a fence should be built on a property line is when both adjoining homeowners enter into an written agreement to include splitting the cost of the fence and future maintenance but this practice is discouraged. In a nutshell, the site plan ensures the homeowner is adhering to Covenant rules and minimizes the chances of disputes between homeowners over structure locations.

The best and easiest way to create a site plan is to use an existing survey. Typically, when purchasing a home, the mortgage lender and/or title company requires a current survey and orders the document which is delivered by a contracted licensed surveyor. As a homeowner you likely were given a copy of the survey. A site plan, for purposes of ARB applications, can be created by making a copy of your survey then drawing in the structure you desire to have constructed on your lot. While hand drawn structures will not have precise pinpoint accuracy as documented by a surveyor it will need to show the intent of your structure addition. It is important that you do your best to accurately depict that which you are applying for. Make sure your drawing is appropriately labeled to include measurements such as lengths, widths and other distances. Also include proper descriptive terms for what is being depicted. For example, a fence addition should note the length of each run, note the distances to the property line, show where gates will be installed, describe the type of fencing material to be used, etc. And, for fences it should be noted they should be located more than 0" from the property line whereas a minimum distance of 4" or greater is recommended. You may refer to the ARB Fencing Checklist for the list of things ARB members will look for before they approve your application for a fence. One additional point should be made about fences; even when a new fence is to replace an old dilapidated fence a survey is required to ensure the original fence was not built on your neighbor's property. This has happened in our community in the past so moving forward the HOA would like to avoid this situation and the potential for disputes between neighbors over property rights.

If you can not locate an old survey of your property you may consider using a plot diagram (NOTE: for a property border fence a certified survey is required) as obtained from the Seminole County Property Appraiser (SCPA). While not detailed like a certified survey the plot diagram may be appropriate for many projects you would like to submit to the ARB. An example of a SCPA obtained plot diagram is shown below. The instructions for obtaining SCPA plot diagrams are as follows:
  1. Go to the Seminole County Property Appraiser's Parcel Search engine
  2. In the pop-up window enter your last name in the Owner box and click Search
  3. If more than one property is displayed in a pop-up window select your property otherwise your property should display in the map window
  4. Close the identify box associated with your property by clicking the X
  5. Use the Zoom feature or the +/- buttons or your mouse wheel to adjust the size of the image desired
  6. Print out the image of your lot
  7. Draw in the structure you desire to have constructed on your lot to include dimensions/measurements and a detailed description
NOTE: To create a full page image such as the example below requires a bit of skill and experience. If the image you print out from the SCPA website is too small or if you cannot get an image suitable for purposes of creating a site plan for your ARB submission contact the WebMaster for assistance.