Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Snow Removal 2011

Enclave's snow removal policy calls for removal of snow and ice from sidewalks, driveways, and a path to the front door after 3" of snow. Streets will be plowed when depths reach 4". Since measuring snow depth can be an inexact science, the board and management company typically spend significant time determining when snow removal will be provided. We consider the length and intensity of the storm, the temperature forecast, and the time of day when making the decision.

Once the threshold is met, a decision must be made as to the timing of services. For example, if we reach 3 inches and the forecast calls for snow to taper off and only another inch or two is expected, should we (a) dispatch removal crews, knowing that once they finish, it is likely that additional snow will have covered the walks (thereby meaning a decision must be made to dispatch again at additional cost, or live with the additional coverage, or (b) wait for the snow to end.

Thank all of you who contacted our office after this last (first) snowstorm. For the most part, the removal went according to plan. As always, there is room for improvement. We have considered and acted upon the following suggestions:

(1) Use of ice melt - we will no longer automatically put down ice melt. Although it has not been formally approved by the Board, the following policy will be considered at the January board meeting:

"Ice melt will not be provided for driveways or courtyards. Ice melt may be used as necessary on sidewalks and streets as conditions merit use. Please notify management of any possible icy conditions that might impact the safety of our residents.. Decisions on the use of ice melt will be made by the Board of Directors."

(2) Staging of personnel - in most cases we will be providing services beginning with those driveways that face to the north in order to try to minimize ice problems associated with lack of direct sunlight in the winter time. We will normally adhere to this schedule, but adjustments can always be made by the board should conditions warrant a change.

(3) Number of personnel - there are 122 houses plus the clubhouse in the Enclave. We cannot provide a shoveler and snow blower operator for each house, so there will always be someone waiting for service. We believe the optimum service level to be 10-16 personnel on site. This allows for proper supervision while servicing multiple houses at the same time. The first time out we may not have met that criterion, but we are taking steps to try to meet it in future storms.

(4) Timing of services - during the past storm, we reached the threshold for sidewalks and courtyards sometime during the night on December 30. At that time the decision was made by management to postpone dispatching until morning based on the forecast saying that the additional accumulation would be minimal. We also considered that the following day was a "holiday" of sorts, with many people taking New Years' Day off. If we had dispatched at night, there would have been additional snow on the sidewalks, and with the likelihood of people entertaining on New Years Eve we likely would have had to bring the removal people in again so that walks would be clear that night. We were borderline on whether the 4" threshold had been met for the streets. Right or wrong, the decision was made not to spend the money on the streets.

There is no objective measurement for us to use when determining when/if to provide snow removal services. We will continue to do the best we can given the information available. We appreciate those that have provided input, and we welcome your continued communication regarding the process.

Thank you for your support, and Happy New Year to everyone.