Originally Posted by wahoonc
Machka's description sounds more like HOA (Home Owner's Association) those you have some control over by asking questions and finding a subdivision that either doesn't have one or has one that has requirements that meet with your tastes and approvals.
Sort of ... but the subdivisions are controlled by a developer. A developer makes the decision about what he (or his organisation) would like the subdivision to look like, and when the lots are sold, there is a section in the paperwork regarding the appearance of the dwellings. An architectural firm is hired to ensure that whatever is built meets the developer's wishes, and for some of the features there's a deal where the home owner will pay, say, $400,000 to have the house built, and when they comply with all the developer's wishes, they will get a refund of some of that amount, maybe $10,000. One of the architects goes out and does an inspection to ensure that a fence of the right height is up, the paint is all exactly the right colour, etc.
But yes, each subdivision is different. So if you don't like huge beige and chocolate brown houses, maybe you'd prefer the next subdivision where the slightly smaller houses are sage green and cream.