Community Snow Removal – Common Practices

Community Snow Removal – Common Practices

Winter’s first snowfall each year triggers many questions: “When will my driveway be clear?” “Has a snow plow come through?” “Why is there still a pile in front of my door?” “Is it safe to walk to my mailbox?”

Without a clear understanding of what triggers snow plows to begin work, and expectations set on when a resident might have a street completely cleared, homeowners’ frustration levels start to rise along with the snow accumulation. Clear communication ahead of time, and updates during a heavy snow, can help people from worrying about whether they’ll make it up their driveways and whether they can get to work the next day. Here are some common approaches for associations.

Snow Removal – Common Practices

An Association’s contract may have varying details; generally, snow removal is based on a certain amount of continuous snow accumulation. Here is a fairly typical arrangement for snow removal:

  • 2-4″ of continuous accumulation – Crews will be dispatched near the end of snowfall and operations will be completed 6-8 hours after snow fall has ended.
  • 4-10″ of accumulation – Crews will be dispatched at approximately 4″ of accumulation with operations to be completed within 6-10 hours.
  • Snowfall in excess of 10″ – Crews will be dispatched at approximately 4-6″ of accumulation. Blizzard and extreme icing conditions will be handled to the best capabilities of the personnel and equipment.

Note that the work will be completed approximately six to ten hours after the snowfall has ceased. For example, if it stops snowing by midnight, residents can expect the work to be completed between 6:00 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.

During heavy snow, the plow driver may remove the excess snow at the bottom of the drive first, and then return to do the rest of the drive later. Snow removal workers generally hand-shovel eighteen inch strips in front of garage doors. After the snow plowing is completed, plows will make a final pass through the entire community to see if any parked cars have been moved. They often return to the property the next business day after 9:00 a.m. to see if any more cars have been removed.


De-icing products are applied to drives and entry walks once after each two inch or more contracted snowfall. Any other applications of salt or ice melt to de-ice areas are accomplished upon request and authorization of the Association’s board of directors, representative, or property manager.

While we all want to have our roads and driveways plowed as soon as possible, please remember that everyone cannot be first. Plow trucks usually alternate starting places so that over the course of the winter, different communities and homes will be the first cleared.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact your property manager at 847-459-0000.


LMS is an award-winning Chicago property management company.