The Treasure Valley has faced a series of snow events this winter. The local highway districts are having trouble keeping up with the plowing, especially in the side roads and neighborhoods where our HOA clients predominate. As a result, schools have been closing, and people have had trouble getting cars out of residential neighborhoods.
At least one local government authority, ACHD, has suggested that owners or HOAs could contract privately to have their public roads cleared. ACHD has even gone so far as to waive permitting fees to encourage this private assistance.
While the idea of taking care of snowy roads immediately is appealing to everyone, an HOA-based approach may not work in many communities. An HOA is a creature of specific covenant language found in the CC&Rs for the community. The HOA’s powers granted by the CC&Rs are often based on specific lots of property There are few over-arching powers granted all HOAs by statute in Idaho. Therefore, each HOA should determine if its own CC&Rs permit it to hire snow removal for its public roads. Ideally, this should be supported by an opinion of legal counsel.
There are a number of questions to consider when deciding whether to pursue this approach:
- First, do the CC&Rs permit this type of action by the HOA?
- If it is permitted, will the HOA’s insurance be involved in coverage claims?
- Will a private contractor be available for this size of job? Most experienced contractors are familiar with the permitting process required. Of course, the HOA should require proper insurance.
- Will a private contractor take sufficient measures to avoid flooding when the plowed snow melts?