The Hampstead ARC (Architectural Review Committee) oversees the design of all new buildings, as well as alterations to existing buildings, landscaping, and community features. Working with the Town Architect and Andrés Duany of DPZ & Company, the ARC is comprised of experienced practitioners of design and traditional construction methods. The role of the ARC is to preserve and protect the design criteria and value of Hampstead. Anyone interested in custom design plans or modifications to existing structures should read below for information on the necessary steps.

Architectural Plan Design: Review Process

The following outlines the step-by-step ARC Review Process for New Architectural Plans. This is meant to provide a quick view summary of the process. For a more detailed explanation, please contact the Hampstead ARC directly by email. Any and all design, construction, and modifications to property, structures or other improvements in Hampstead must comply with all requirements of the Hampstead Community Documents. The ARC reserves the right to amend this process at any time and without prior notice to any parties. To begin the Architectural Plan Review Process, email us at

Step 1. Preliminary Discussions with Custom Residential or Commercial Prospects

1. Prospect receives from the Hampstead Development Office the appropriate Hampstead Community Documents, including the Hampstead Design Code, Approved Architects List (located here), SmartCode Zoning information, and any other relevant details pertaining to available lot locations.
2. Prospect selects an Approved Architect, or submits additional architect name and necessary information to the ARC for review. The ARC reserves the right to turn down any architect for any reason. Submission of an architect whom is not on the Approved Architects List will generally slow the review process considerably, and incurs a $2,500 Non-Refundable Review Fee. Use of an Approved Architect has a $500 Non-Refundable Review Fee.

Step 2. Conceptual Sketch Review

The Conceptual Sketch Review concentrates on the placement of the home on the lot, the floor plan, and a generalized view of the home’s exterior. This is the first step in most architects’ planning of a new home, and it’s also the first formal step in the Hampstead Design Approval Process. Drawings may be hand sketched or CAD formatted. The Hampstead ARC may be able to make recommendations at this early stage that will improve your design. Also required from the prospect at this time is the non-refundable Review Fee. For Approved Architects, the fee is $500. For newly submitted architects, the fee is $2,500.

Step 3. Schematic Design Review

This review confirms a correct interpretation of the Hampstead Design Code and a satisfactory design direction. Drawings may be hand sketched or CAD formatted. You will be notified concerning approval or any changes that need to be made before the plans can be approved. Once the plans are approved, the Hampstead ARC will sign and date them. Owners and their contractor are responsible for making sure that construction conforms to governmental regulations and all local building codes. If the ARC notes non-compliance, the Owner will be required to make the necessary changes. However, the ARC is not responsible for compliance with governmental requirements.

Step 4. Construction Documents Review

This review checks the construction documents for compliance with the Hampstead Design Code and verifies that recommendations made at the Schematic Design Review have been incorporated. Compliance with applicable local regulations and building codes is the responsibility of architect and builder. Following this review, the ARC may recommend approval. If this occurs, the Owner can proceed to Lot Purchase.

Step 5. Construction Process
If you have not already done so, select a licensed general contractor to construct your home. You may select a contractor from the list of Approved Builders. If you would like to use a different builder, they may submit an application to the Approved Builder Program. There is no guarantee of approval. Although you will be responsible for negotiating your own contract with your builder, we strongly recommend for your own protection that the contract provide that the construction will not be considered complete until approved by the Hampstead ARC.

No clearing, construction or other modification may begin until all construction documents, site plans, and specifications have been approved and all other requirements have been satisfied, as reflected in writing by the ARC to the owner and architect. Your house will be inspected several times during construction by the Hampstead ARC to assure that your home is being constructed in accordance with the plans and specifications approved by the Hampstead ARC. These inspections are solely for the benefit of the Hampstead ARC and are separate from any inspections that Montgomery County may require. If construction defects affecting the safety or structural integrity of the house or failure to comply with governmental building codes are noted, the inspector may require correction by notifying the builder and owner, but the inspector is not liable for failure to note any such defects. The Hampstead ARC will recommend to Hampstead and the Owner that construction be stopped if the contractor is not building in accordance with approved plans

Alterations to Residential & Commercial Buildings

Any alteration to the exterior of a Residential, Commercial or Civic Building must be submitted in writing to the Hampstead Architectural Review Committee as an Application PRIOR to any work commencing. This includes all Landscape, Hardscape, or Fence changes visible from any street. The submittal requires This Completed Form and all necessary details including site plans, dimensioned drawings, photographs, and materials list. Changes must have approval by the Hampstead ARC to ensure the property remains in compliance with the community rules, regulations, and design covenants in place. This includes repainting, re-roofing, and other repairs or changes to an exterior.

The ARC will give written approval to alterations that meet its guidelines. Any work which does not have ARC approval will cause a lien to be placed on the property. The Hampstead ARC has oversight over furnishings and fixtures visible from any street, including outdoor furniture, flags, lighting, umbrellas and others as outlined in the Hampstead Design Standards. Please submit an ARC Application by email for additions.

Hampstead ARC Alteration Submittals

Each submittal for review by the Hampstead ARC requires a fully Completed ARC Application Form (download here). Be sure to read this form in its entirety including the required attachments and fees for administrative costs of the Committee. The ARC will convene to review submittals. Both city Zoning and the Hampstead Design Code will be reviewed for compliance. The ARC will put its response in writing and email to the owner. Responses may include: approval, request for more information, required alterations to the submittal, or denial of request. The ARC is NOT responsible for building code compliance - this is solely the responsibility of the property owner and contractor. Email your completed Application Forms to