SECTION 12 – DESIGN REVIEW PROCESS (Amended April 29, 2022)
12.1 The Design Review Process.
The rules and regulations of the Master Condominium require that any new construction, renovation, modification, any change to Common Areas of the Master Condominium or Common Areas of a Subregime, or structural change to the exterior or interior of a building have Design Review Committee approval. This review is intended to ensure that the community of Loreto Bay continues to develop within the vision and expectation of owners and residents, as outlined in the Design Guidelines for building on residential, commercial, and mixed-use property and within the Common Areas.
No construction work including a minor renovation or other structural improvement may commence without written approval from the Design Review Committee; nor may there be any addition to or change to any residence or other structure or improvement upon a Private Unit, Sub-condominium Unit, Master or Subregime common area, landscaping, grading or drainage thereof, except in compliance with drawings and specifications that have been submitted to and approved by the Design Review Committee. Interior design features such as floor tiles or paint colors do not require approval. Other items may or may not require approval by the Design Review Committee. In such cased Owners should consult with Design Review Technical Support for appropriate direction.
Work on any construction, renovation, or modification that is subject to these Design Guidelines may not commence until the Owner or applicant has received notification in writing that the application has been approved as submitted or as submitted with Design Review Committee stipulations which have been accepted by the Owner.
Where the proposed project is composed of multiple units, large mixed-use structures, or commercial operations, the Master Assembly, Design Review Committee, or their designate, may require the applicant to furnish additional details. Such additional details may include, but are not limited to, evidence of financial responsibility; the general suitability of the project within the location; estimates of usage loads on utilities and common areas; environmental sustainability; flood control; sight overlooks; occupancy limits; the ability to comply with applicable governmental laws and regulations, Master Rules, and Administrative Rules; or any variances that may be requested for the project.
In the event that such additional details are required, a decision on the application may eitherbe:
a) withheld by the Design Review Committee until it receives such additional details; or,
b) issued with stipulations that require submission of the additional details prior to any work commencing.
12.2 Minor Renovations
Adding or removing a structure, such as a pergola on the ground or second level of a home, adding different material to the exterior of the home, such as rock or tile, adding eyebrows over doors or windows, or an “open” metal staircase to a third floor, changing the exterior color scheme, or changing an exterior door, window, or garden gate are deemed minor renovations for purposes of the Design Review Process. At the discretion of the Design Review Committee, similar renovations not specifically identified here may also be deemed minor renovations.
12.3 Major Renovations
Adding or removing a structure, such as a room in any patio or garden or a “solid” staircase, such as a concrete staircase to access a third floor, adding a third-floor pergola or viewing tower, are deemed a major renovation for purposes of the Design Review Process. At the discretion of the Design Review Committee, similar renovations not specifically identified here may also be deemed major renovations.
12.4 Interior Modifications
Installation, removal, or modification of any interior walls, plumbing, sewer connections, wiring, electrical outlets, switches, or fuse boxes, must comply with all rules and regulations of the Master Condominium and any affected Subregimes, as well as all applicable local and state building codes and inspection requirements.
12.5 Variances to Design Guidelines
Construction, renovation, or modification that does not comply with the Design Guidelines, or use of a product or design that varies from those specifically approved in the Design Guidelines may not be incorporated into any construction or remodeling project, unless a variance is obtained from the Design Review Committee. An applicant must request approval of a variance in the application submittal package.
A variance will be granted only when it is demonstrated that the requested variance is in keeping with the Spanish Colonial spirit and architectural theme of the Design Guidelines and does not impact any rights of affected property Owners.
When a variance request is approved or denied, the approval or denial shall reference the applicable Design Guidelines and state the reasons for the approval or denial. When any variance or exception to the Design Guidelines is approved or denied, such approval or denial is unique to the property, and such approval or denial does not establish any precedent for future decisions of the Design Review Committee.
12.6 Plan Submission
An application must be completed and submitted to Design Review Technical Support as part of the applicant’s submittal package. Application categories are Non-Engineered and Engineered, and may include construction of Village Homes, Custom Homes, and Mixed-Use Properties, structures in Common Areas, and all renovations, or modifications. The application package must provide the Design Review Committee with the necessary contact information for the Owner and Applicant, if different from the Owner, and contractor, as well as the complete scope of work to be performed, including any demolition, renovation, or new construction. Owners are responsible for ensuring that all required documentation as directed by the Design Review Committee or its designate is submitted along with an application. No application will be considered for approval if such application provides for any encroachment into the Federal Zone, the beach, or the Golf Course.
For the purposes of these guidelines:
a) a “Non-Engineered structure” is a structure built without the benefit of engineering or architectural guidance and the design and building process does not account for component loads or actual component strengths.
b) an “Engineered structure” is a structure built according to engineered and architecturally designed plans and one in which the structural component interactions are properly accounted for during the design and structural analysis process.
Applications may be obtained online or from the Managing Agent and must be submitted electronically in the format specified by the Managing Agent.
12.6.2 Plan Submittals
The application package must include a complete set of the plans to be used for the construction, renovation, or modification, and any variance requests required. Upon completion of the review process a notice shall be provided to the applicant and added by the Design Review Committee to the application indicating that the application has been either “Approved as Submitted”, “Approved with Stipulations”, or “Denied”. If any changes are proposed during the construction process, the Owner must submit a Change Order request to the Design Review Committee. The Change Order request will become part of the application package. No proposed changes may commence without the prior approval of the Design Review Committee.
The entire application package, including any additional details that have been required and submitted, any documents created by the Master Assembly or the Design Review Committee, and the notice of approval, with or without stipulations, or the notice of denial of the application will become a permanent record and part of the file retained by the Loreto Owner’s Association AC. and available for viewing, but not copying or republication, by any Owner.
If an applicant wishes any portion of the application package, or any additional or subsequent material submitted, to remain confidential, then the applicant must identify that portion and make that request at the time of submission of the material. If the Design Review Committee agrees to the request for confidentiality, then the confidential material may be reviewed only by Design Review Technical Support, the Design Review Committee, any Affected Owners, the Chair of the Subregime within which the property is located, an Appeal Panel, and the Master Assembly for the purposes of considering or responding to the application. The material shall be kept in confidence by those parties and those parties may be required by the applicant to sign a nondisclosure agreement prior to receiving the confidential material.
The required application fee must be submitted with the application, the required plans and specifications, and other required submittals. Payment must be made as directed by the Managing Agent, or their designate, before the review process may begin.
12.7 Review Process and Timelines
12.7.1 Application Review.
Upon submittal, the Managing Agent, or their designate, will review the application to ensure that the application is complete. The applicant will be notified within five business days if additional information or documentation is required to complete the application.
When the application is complete, Design Review Technical Support will review it for consistency with the Design Guidelines and to identify any needed clarification of project objectives and construction plans. At the completion of this review and a site visit, and within five business days of receipt from the Managing Agent, Design Review Technical Support will forward the application to the Design Review Committee, along with relevant comments. The applicant will be notified of the date the Design Review Committee receives the completed application package and the response deadline.
Upon receipt of an Owner’s completed application, the Managing Agent, or their designate, will notify the Chair of the Master Surveillance Committee, the Chair of the applicable Subregime Surveillance Committee, and Owners of affected properties, including, at a minimum, those properties immediately adjacent to the proposed project and any properties that might experience potential impact. When there is any question whether a neighboring property should be notified of a pending application the Design Review Committee must broaden rather than narrow the scope of notification.
If any of these committees or affected Owners wish to make any objection or other submission on the application, based on compliance with the Design Guidelines, such objection or other submission must reference the applicable section or sections of the Design Guidelines on which the objection or other submission is based and must be provided to the Managing Agent within ten business days from the date the committee or affected Owner received notice of the application from the Managing Agent. If an objection or other submission is received by the Managing Agent, the Managing Agent shall provide a copy of the objection or submission to the applicant Owner within five days of its receipt.
If, after reviewing the objection or submission, the applicant Owner wishes to amend their application, they shall notify the Managing Agent and submit a revised application for consideration. A new review period will begin and the applicant Owner and affected Owner will be notified of the decision of the Design Review Committee accordingly.
Design Review Technical Support will log dates for each step of the application process and log the deliberation and votes of the Design Review Committee members when they have completed the review process.
12.7.2 Decision Classifications
Approval as Submitted.
An application is approved as submitted when the plans, specifications, and other submittal material have been reviewed, deemed adequate, and approved as submitted by the Design Review Committee. The Owner will receive email notification of such approval and construction work may begin.
Approval with Stipulations.
An application is conditionally approved when it has been found not to be in compliance with the Design Guidelines and email notification has been provided to the Owner with stipulations from the Design Review Committee as to how compliance may be achieved, and approval granted.
Upon receipt the Owner may:
a) Accept and adopt the stipulations: The Owner may inform the Design Review Committee that the stipulations are accepted. The stipulations then become part of the application. The Owner will be granted approval based on acceptance of the stipulations, a notice of approval will be issued, and construction may begin.
b) Not accept the stipulations: The Owner may suggest changes to the design or materials to be used and submit modified plans, specifications, and other application materials to the Design Review Committee for reconsideration. A new review period will begin, and the Owner will be notified of the decision of the Design Review Committee accordingly.
c) Withdraw from the review process and not proceed with construction.
The Owner must give email notice to the Design Review Technical Support stating which option they adopt. If the Owner fails to provide such notice within fifteen business days, the Owner’s application will be deemed denied.
Denial. The Owners application will be denied when the submitted plans and specifications are found not to be in compliance with the Design Guidelines and the Design Review Committee does not tender stipulations for compliance to the Owner. The Design Review Committee may advise the Owner on possible means to bring the submittal into compliance, but the responsibility to do so and to resubmit the application is the Owners. An application submitted after denial will be treated as a new application and fees must be paid as required for a new application, unless such fees are waived by the Administrators for good cause.
12.7.3 Review Periods
For Engineered Projects, except for Extra-ordinary Projects, the Design Review Committee will have a review period not to exceed twenty business days from the receipt of the completed Application to make a decision as to whether the application is approved as submitted, approved with stipulations, or denied, at which time this decision will be conveyed to the Owner or their agent. For Non-engineered Projects, the Design Review Committee will have a review period of five business days from the date of the receipt of the completed Application by the Committee. Revised or amended applications must be re-submitted to the Design Review Committee, dated with a new submittal date, and the review period will start again from the new submittal date. Every effort will be made by the Design Review Committee to review plans and specifications as quickly as possible, but the Design Review Committee may not be held liable for any delays or penalties incurred by the Owner or their agents due to the review process timeline or any deviation from same.
12.7.4 Notice of Decision
The applicant Owner, the Chair of the Master Surveillance Committee, the Chair of the applicable Subregime Surveillance Committee, and any affected Owner who has been given notice of the application and submitted an objection or other submission with regard to the Application will be notified of the decision of the Design Review Committee by email directed to the email address submitted with their application, objection or submission, and the email address of the Chair of the Master Surveillance Committee, and the Chair of the affected Subregime Surveillance Committee.
a) Application Approved: When an application is Approved as submitted without objection or submission from an affected Owner, the Design Review Committee need not provide reasons for the approval, however a check list of compliance with the requirements of the application process shall be attached to the Approval. The Design Review Committee may, in its discretion, provide written reasons for the approval if it believes the reasons would be of assistance to subsequent applicants in making a similar application.
b) Application approved after an objection or submission: When an application is Approved and there has been one or more objections or submissions from affected Owners, the Design Review Committee must provide written reasons for granting the approval including responses to the objections or submissions filed.
c) Application for Variance or Change Order: When an application for a Variance or a Change Order is approved or denied, the approval or denial shall reference the applicable Design Guidelines and state the reasons for the approval or denial.
d) Application approved with Stipulations: When an application is Approved with Stipulations, whether or not there is an objection or submission from an affected Owner, the Design Review Committee must provide written reasons for the Approval and each of the Stipulations and must include responses to the objections or submissions filed.
e) Application Denied: When an application is denied, the Design Review Committee must provide written reasons for the denial including the specific Design Guidelines the application has failed to meet. If an objection or submission has been submitted by an affected Owner or Owners and the reason for the denial is based wholly or in part on an objection or submission, that objection or submission must be referenced in the reasons for the denial.
If the Design Review Committee fails to provide the check list of compliance or reasons for the approval, no construction shall commence until such time as the check list or reasons are provided and no appeal period shall commence until the check list or reasons are provided.
12.7.5 Compliance, Effects and Limitations on Approval
No construction may commence except in compliance with drawings and specifications that have been submitted to, and approved by, the Design Review Committee. Upon approval a Project Approval document will be issued to the applicant and this document, along with any other permits required by other authorities, will be displayed at the work site throughout the entire course of construction.
Throughout construction the Design Review Committee or Design Review Technical Support may review progress and any overlook situation and direct adjustments be made including adjustments to viewing towers, no-walk zones, and privacy walls to ensure reasonable privacy to neighboring properties is maintained.
12.7.6 Inspection and Compliance Review
When construction is substantially complete, including landscaping within the boundaries of the property, the Owner or contractor must request a compliance inspection. At this time, Design Review Technical Support, and, at the discretion of the Design Review Committee, one or more of its members, will inspect the project for compliance with the approved plans. If the project is not in compliance with the approved Application, then the Owner and builder will receive a notice from the Design Review Committee or Design Review Technical Support stating all noted deviations from the approved plans and notice that they must be brought into compliance. When the project is in compliance, the Design Review Committee or Design Review Technical Support will provide the Owner with email confirmation that the project has been completed as required by the Design Review Committee. If the project is not brought into compliance, the Administrators will take appropriate action pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Master Condominium.
An approved application is valid for two years from the time of approval. If construction has not been substantially completed in accordance with the approved plans within this period of time, approval of the Application will expire, unless extended by the Design Review Committee. Once an approved application has expired, and if no extension has been granted by the Design Review Committee, construction may not resume prior to approval of a new application and issuance of the required building permits.
An Owner may apply to the Design Review Committee for an extension of an approved application. The application for extension must be made at least thirty days prior to the expiration of the existing approved application. Applications for extension may not be made after an approved application has expired. The application for extension must state the reasons why the construction has not been substantially completed within two years from the time of approval of the original application. The decision to grant an extension, including the length of the extension, is discretionary to the Design Review Committee.
For the purposes of this section, construction is deemed to be substantially complete when all the work described in the application and shown on the construction drawings is done, with only minor items needed to fully complete the work. Once construction is substantially complete the applicant may occupy the building or use the project for its intended purpose.
12.7.7 Changes to Approved Designs
Any changes to approved plans must be approved by the Design Review Committee prior to construction or implementation of such changes. In the event the applicant desires to change the approved structure or drawings during construction, the applicant must submit a Change Order or Variance Request along with drawings and other documentation clarifying the proposed changes, as required by the Design Review Committee. There will be no additional fee for minor changes to approved designs, following initial approval; however, major changes are subject to additional charges.
If changes are made without prior written approval from the Design Review Committee, the Administrators have the right to assess penalties and require the applicant to build according to the approved submittal or return the property to its original condition at the Owner’s expense. The Administrators, in their discretion, may also ban any contractor, builder, supplier, and any of their employees from accessing the property until such time as the Change Order or Variance Request has been approved.
12.8 Non-Approved Work
Owners are responsible for the cost of removal or remediation of all non-approved work, as well as all fines, costs, and other penalties provided for in the Design Review Process or any other rules and regulations of the Master Condominium. The Administrators, in their discretion, may also ban any contractor, builder, supplier, and any of their employees from accessing the property.
12.9 Fines and Penalties
If an Owner is not in compliance with the Master Rules and Regulations, the Design Guidelines, or the requirements and conditions of the application approval process, at any time during construction or modification of property, the Administrators may send a warning notice to the Owner. The notice must state the nature of violation, what must be done to correct the violation, and the date by which the violation must be corrected.
If the non-compliance is not corrected within the time frame specified in the warning notice, the Administrators may impose a fine and specify an additional time period for the Owner to effect compliance. Fines will be treated as unpaid assessments and will result in the loss of voting rights until paid. In addition, pursuant to the Master Condominium rules and regulations, the Owner will be responsible for reimbursement of damages, attorney fees, expenses, and costs.
The Administrators, in their discretion, may also deny any contractor, builder, supplier, or their employees access the property until the non-compliance is corrected.
12.10 Appeals Process
12.10.1 Permitted Appeals
a) Decisions of the Administrator: An Owner may appeal to the Master Surveillance committee a decision of the Administrator to impose either:
• a penalty under the Design Guidelines; or
• the time period for the Owner to effect compliance with the Design Guidelines. If a penalty or a time period for compliance is upheld, it shall become final upon issuance of the decision of the Master Surveillance Committee.
b) Decisions of the Design Review Committee: Applicants, Owners of affected properties, and the Sub- Condominium Surveillance Committee for the Sub Condominium in which the property is located may appeal decisions of the Design Review Committee to the Master Surveillance Committee.
12.10.2 Appeal Procedures:
An Appeal must be submitted in writing to the Administrator, together with a filing fee of $100 if it is an appeal from a decision of the Administrator or an appeal from a decision of the Design Review Committee on an application for a non-engineered structure or a filing fee of $500 if it is an appeal from a decision of the Design Review Committee on an application for an engineered structure. The Administrator will provide copies of the appeal to the Chair of the Master Surveillance Committee, the Chair of the Sub-Regime Surveillance Committee within which the property is located, the Chair of the Design Review Committee, the Applicant, Affected Owners, and such other persons as may be determined by the Chair of the Master Surveillance Committee, within fifteen days of notification of either the Administrator’s or Design Review Committee’s decision. The Appeal must be entitled “Appeal of Design Review Committee/Administrator’s Decision Regarding ____________ (property address)”, and must include a statement of the following:
a) appellant’s name, Loreto Bay address, email address, and telephone number, as well as the Appellant’s contact information for purposes of the Appeal if different than the Loreto Bay information;
b) the issue(s) on appeal;
c) the impact of the decision on the appellant’s property;
d) the reason that the determination is incorrect, including a reference to each provision of the Design Guidelines relevant to the issues on appeal; and
e) a statement as to what the correct determination of the Appeal should be, including a reference to each provision of the Design Guidelines relevant to the issues on appeal.
Where relevant, an Appeal should include drawings or photos illustrating the relevant portions of the project and issues on appeal, relevant portions of the site plan, floor plan, building section, elevations, photos, or renderings relevant to the matters in dispute, including colors and materials, and any other pertinent information.
Makeup: The number of members of the Appeal Panel shall be determined by the Master Surveillance Committee however the Appeal Panel must consist of no less than three members of the Master Surveillance Committee, and there must always be an odd number of members on the Appeal Panel.
If the Master Surveillance Committee lacks a sufficient number of members to form an Appeal Panel, members of the Rules and Policies Committee may be added by the Master Surveillance Committee to complete the Appeal Panel. A member of the Master Surveillance Committee, or appointed member from the Rules and Policies Committee, who is an Owner of an affected property or in a conflict of interest relative to the issues on appeal may not serve on the Appeal Panel. Any dispute concerning membership of the Appeal Panel shall be resolved by the remaining independent members of the Master Surveillance Committee.
The Appeal Panel must appoint a Chair of the Panel from its members. The Chair of the Appeal Panel shall:• Consider if mediation may assist in resolving the appeal and request the parties to the appeal to attempt mediation;
Time Period: Upon receipt of an Appeal and all necessary information required by the Appeal Panel, the Appeal Panel will examine the decision of the Design Review Committee or the decision of the Administrator and within seven days from receipt of the Appeal or all necessary information, notify the Appellant, the Administrator, the Chair of the Sub-Regime Surveillance Committee within which the subject property is located, the Design Review Committee, the Applicant, and the Affected Owners of the date for the hearing of the appeal. The Appeal hearing must be held within fourteen days of the Chair of the Appeal Panel providing notice of the date for the hearing of the appeal.
At the request of any party or at the direction of the Appeal Panel, a preliminary conference may be conducted with the parties to address any issues related to the exchange of information, procedures, scheduling, or other matters as may be suggested by the parties or the Appeal Panel.
The Design Review Committee shall appoint one or more of the members of the committee who made the decision on the application to attend at the appeal hearing and to respond to the issues raised in the appeal.
Upon hearing the Appeal, the Appeal Panel will consider the statements of the parties, the relevant information submitted in support of or opposition to the appeal, the submissions of the Design Review Committee, and any other relevant information requested by the Appeal Panel and must determine whether an error has occurred in the decision of the Design Review Committee.
Decision: Within fifteen days of the hearing the Appeal Panel must issue a written decision including the basis upon which the decision is founded. If the Appeal Panel determines that no error has occurred, the original decision of the Administrator or the Design Review Committee is final and binding on all parties.
In the event the Appeal Panel determines that the Administrator has erred, it may reduce or revoke the fine imposed by the Administrator or provide a revised period for compliance.
If the Appeal Panel determines an error has occurred in the decision of the Design Review Committee, it must identify the error, recommend how the error may be corrected, and return the matter to the Design Review Committee for reconsideration of the Application. In reconsidering the Application, the Design Review Committee may affirm or vary their original decision and must provide a written response with justifications, to the recommendations of the Appeal Panel.
Petition for Review: After the Appeal Panel decision, and any further determination by the Design Review Committee, the appellant or any Affected Owner who was party to the appeal may petition the Master Assembly for review of the decision within twenty days of the date of the decision. The petition must be submitted to the Administrator and be entitled “Petition to Master Assembly for Review of Master Surveillance Committee’s Appeal Panel/Design Review Committee’s/Administrator’s Decision Regarding ____________ (property address)”, and must include a statement of the following:
The petition for review shall be delivered by the Administrator within five days of filing to all other parties to the Appeal including the Design Review Committee. All other parties to the Appeal, including the Design Review Committee, shall have twenty days to respond to the Petition. No further submissions shall be allowed. The Master Assembly may consider the Petition for Review, any Responses filed by the other parties, the initial decision of the Design Review Committee, the Notice of Appeal, the decision of the Appeal Panel, further determination of the Design Review Committee, or any other material that forms part of the existing record and issue a decision as soon as reasonably possible. The Master Assembly will not consider any new issue or material that does not form part of the existing record ending at the time of the Design Review Committee issued any further determination. The Master Assembly may decide the issues on review with or without a hearing. The Master Assembly may affirm the decision of the Appeal Panel or the Design Review Committee, as the case may be, without further reasons. If the Master Assembly determines to revise or the reverse the prior decision, the Master Assembly must provide written reasons for the revision or reversal of the decision, with reference to each provision of the Design Guidelines relevant to the issues upon which the revision or reversal is based.
The decision of the Master Assembly on the petition for review shall be final and no further proceedings may be taken before the Design Review Committee, Master Surveillance Committee, Administrator, or the Master Assembly.
If the Appeal Panel is of the opinion that the original decision of the Design Review Committee included matters beyond the jurisdiction of the Design Review Committee, the Appeal Panel may, with written reasons, refer those matters to the Master Assembly for direction with or without reconsideration by the Design Review Committee.
The Appeal Fee may be refunded and fines or penalties may be rescinded by the Appeal Panel only if the appeal is successful.
Many issues eligible for appeal can be resolved informally and quickly through the mediation process by discussion, negotiation, or compromise. Upon agreement of the appellant and the applicant or Affected Owners who may be party to the appeal, to participate in mediation, the Master Surveillance Committee will, as soon as reasonably practicable, appoint a mediator agreeable to the parties from the list of volunteer Owner mediators maintained by the Administrators for the purpose of attempting to reach an agreement to resolve the issues on appeal. If no Owner mediators on the list are available or agreeable to the parties, the Chair of the Appeal Panel may retain a third-party mediator agreeable to the parties. Any costs or fees relating to a third-party mediator shall be shared equally between the parties to the appeal unless otherwise agreed by the parties during the course of the mediation.
The mediator may not be a member of either the Master Surveillance Committee or the Design Review Committee, an Owner of an affected property, or a person with a conflict of interest relative to the issues on appeal.
If the appeal is from a decision of the Administrators, the parties to the mediation must include the appellant and a member of the Administrators.
If the appeal is from a decision of the Design Review Committee, the parties to the mediation must include the appellant/applicant, a member of the Design Review Committee who was one of the members of the committee that considered the application, and any affected Owner who has filed an objection or submission to the application if, in the opinion of the Chair of the Appeal Panel, that Owner is a necessary party to achieve a mediated resolution of the issue on appeal.
If the appellant is an Affected Owner the parties to the mediation must include the appellant/Affected Owner, a member of the Design Review Committee who was one of the members of the committee that considered the application, and the applicant.
If an applicant or Affected Owner refuses to participate in mediation, the appeal shall proceed pursuant to the appeals process.
If the appeal is from a decision of the Design Review Committee and the appellant, be they the applicant or an Affected Owner, wishes to proceed with mediation, one of the members of the Design Review Committee that considered the application must participate in the mediation.
Any agreement reached as a result of mediation must conform with the Design Guidelines or a variance granted pursuant to the Design Guidelines. If the Parties reach agreement through mediation, the mediator will submit the agreement to the Appeal Panel for review and, if the Appeal Panel determines that the agreement conforms to the Design Guidelines or provides for a variance allowable under the Design Guidelines, the Appeal Panel will finalize the decision in accord with the mediation agreement.
During the mediation process the time periods for the appeal process specified in this section will be suspended. If the appeal is resolved by mediation, the fee payable to file the appeal will be refunded.