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5/28/2020 at 4:47:41 PM GMT
Posts: 4
Property Line Adjustments

Hope everyone is doing well and staying busy. Wanted to get feedback from other surveyors about an issue I am sure we all deal with, since 2017. So a property owner wants to quit claim a strip of land in order to clear up an encroachment. I tell them that the survey will need to be reviewed by the applicable city/county before I can sign it. The client or attorney tells me they are not planning to submit the survey. I tell them my only option is to use certification (i) and put a note to the effect of "draft - issued for review...". That is kind of where I am at now. So then what will probably happen is that the attorney will write a deed based off of my "draft" of a survey. So then let's say hypothetically that they come back to me once the deed is recorded and ask me to sign the survey. Now I can technically use certification (iii) for a retracement, since I am following the current deeds of record. Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone? How do you handle situations like these?



6/19/2020 at 2:48:08 PM GMT
Posts: 39

          In Chatham County and other counties there is a type of subdivision called a “Recombination.”  In this scenario, the lot lines of two or more lots under one ownership or under different ownerships are reconfigured such that there are the same or fewer total number of lots, and the outer boundaries of the lots so resubdivided do not change.  All the resulting lots have to meet the general requirements for minimum sizes, easements, setback lines, etc.  I am not sure of all the details, but the plan has to be reviewed by the county engineer or planning commission through an expedited process that does not require jumping through as many hoops as regular subdivisions require.

          I don’t know the procedure, or if a Recombination can get approved, if it would leave one or more lots substandard in size or otherwise fail to meet the general requirements.  We were involved with a situation one time in which we were doing the design work for a tract of land that was being developed.  A small lot, which was substandard in size but grandfathered in, had a house on it that encroached several feet on to the tract being developed.  We did a Recombination of the tract being developed, and the small lot, in which the two landowners swapped equal areas of land so as to add the area encroached on to the lot with the house.  This went through the approval process and was approved.  One of the consequences was a restriction was put on the lot that had the house specifying a maximum floor area of all structures on that lot and imposing some setback lines.

          Usually the simplest way to deal with encroachments, provided the parties are amenable, is for the landowner encroached on to convey an easement to the adjoining landowner for the area encroached on.  The deed can specify that the purpose of the easement is for the encroachment only and for no other purposes, that the encroaching structure cannot be enlarged within the easement, and if the encroaching structure is ever removed for any reason, the easement ceases to exist.

          As a matter of ethics, I would say that if a surveyor takes measurements or makes any type of drawing that he/she knows will be used for title purposes, that is, for example, in a deed description, the thing should be drawn up in the form of a plat that meets all the technical requirements and the surveyor should put their seal and signature on it.  There are too many instances in our profession in which clients request surveys, the surveyor doesn’t really perform a survey but makes a drawing that does not conform to the standards, they do not put their seal on it and otherwise leave off certain essentials, and they represent that to the client as a survey for which the client pays for believing they have received a survey.

          You might take a look at the previous posts "Ethics Question", July 20, 2018; and “Subdivision by Deed”, July 22, 2019; for further insights.

Farris Cadle

Last edited Friday, June 19, 2020
6/26/2020 at 10:14:43 PM GMT
Posts: 19
The plat act, as of the 2017 change, allows for addressing title issues within the realm of a Retracement Survey. Thus, your survey can be e-filed without local review or approval.  Read the law

Last edited Friday, June 26, 2020
7/2/2020 at 3:11:11 PM GMT
Posts: 4
Thanks Mark. I did not realize that was the case. I was hung up on the verbiage in certification "iii" about not making any changes to real property boundaries.

8/21/2020 at 6:31:36 PM GMT
Posts: 4
Mark do you think maybe certification iv would be appropriate? That way I am not certifying that no changes were made to the boundaries, when in fact I am making changes to the boundaries. But I would just be saying that this type of plat does not have to be reviewed. Have another client wanting to sell a small strip of land to the neighbor, and they were allegedly told by the City of Atlanta that the plat would not need to be reviewed.
Thanks again.

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