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We have already had some snowfalls this winter, meaning most of us are already back in the swing of driving in the snow.

Understanding your HOAs contract for snow removal is key to knowing when you can expect your lot and drives to be cleared.

A trigger depth is the minimum amount of accumulation a snow-removal company requires before they will plow the streets. The average trigger depth is between 1-2”, and most contracts say this much snow needs to fall in a single event. A “single event” policy means that the minimum trigger depth must be reached during one snowfall; if you reach the trigger depth in 2-3 snowfalls, they will not plow.

Most snow-removal contracts also specify the timing of snow removal, as well as “open-ups” for heavy snowfalls. Timing is the amount of time the company has after snowfall ends to finish clearing the roads; in most contracts this is between 6 and 12 hours depending on how much snow accumulation there is. Open-ups are single passes plows make through the roads when it is still snowing but accumulation has already hit high levels, which makes it easier for people to get in and out of the HOA community, especially if there is an emergency.