Yes or noPosted by WarrenWard on October 30, 2019 at 3:53 am
A monument established by the first surveyor, acting in good faith. is a property corner, A line where property rights change is a property line. Once established, a property corner or line does not move, but can possibly be vacated.
As a licensed surveyor, I can set my monuments wherever I want, for any reason I want. It’s not my fault that the first surveyor does not meet my standards.
- 21 Replies
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 4:19 am
Yes to the former, no to the latter.
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 6:29 am
I’m not an adherent to the “first surveyor” principle. Not in all cases, anyway. My view is much more nuanced. This is not a simple issue.
In the case of a PLSS corner, or just about any regular aliquot subdivision of a section, the “first surveyor” may be said to be finishing the work of the original surveyor- and in that case the first surveyors monument would be a “plat” monument with all the dignity of original called for PLSS monuments. The Manual discusses this. Possibly the same argument could be extended to include the first surveyors monumentation of any lot of a protracted subdivision plat.
If the monument found is a good faith restoration of an original subdivision plat monument, or of any monument called for in the writings, then such a monument has all the dignity of the original (unless the original itself – or really compelling evidence of it’s alternate location – can be recovered).
But if we are talking about un-called for monuments on an irregular property line then no. Such monuments are just an opinion of a surveyor.
But I’m also not inclined to reject a found monument just because is isn’t in the exact spot I might put it. If there is any interpretation of the legal that might put me on it, or it is anywhere within a conceivable error ellipse, I’ll be happy to honor it.
Finally, a monument placed by a surveyor, even if grossly in error, would be an objective basis for occupation resulting in unwritten transfer of rights. Any improvements made in reliance on such a monument probably aught to be allowed to continue to stand.
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 1:17 pm
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 2:33 pm
Yes to the first paragraph. That is the work we all are to follow, whether we think it meets modern standards or not.
No to the second paragraph when doing retracement. Many may argue this one because THEY MUST match whatever their internal (not statutory) standard expects.
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 3:08 pm
My default position is to accept the monument, there must be compelling reasons not to accept it. The burden to reject is on the retracer.
Numbers controlling? No.
There are some surveyors who would enjoy life more if they could switch their mindset to accepting.
Not accepting leads to silly pincushions.
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 3:13 pm
To the first paragraph, I would say “almost always”. The first surveyor is usually the original surveyor and if done “in good faith” the courts will hold that location (maybe even if it wasn’t established “in good faith”).
If it is determined that the first surveyor is not the original surveyor, there could be some other rare exceptions.
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 3:44 pm
The one considtent rule across jurisdictions is; there is no absolute answer.
Idaho had about 100 years between GLO and the recording requirement. There are lots of monuments ‘not of record’ that we need to honor.
I do avoid using terms from the manual to describe state authority surveyors and surveys. I may end up treating them the same in practical terms but assigning an incorrect identity is a dangerous path. Our worst boundary nightmares usually start there…
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 3:55 pm
Boundary is the correct term, not property line.
The discussion of legal doctrines is found under “boundaries.”
A Deed transfers or creates Title.
A Boundary further defines the location of Title. Title is not being transferred in unwritten (more properly Parol) agreements or by acquiescence, it is being located.
It may seem tedious and nit picky but I think we should be precise in our use of words.
A lot of confusion has been caused by loose use of language by our early authors and wholesale invention of “legal principles” not found in the authorities for convenience and easy understanding.
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 4:27 pm
I performed a survey a few years ago that included a boundary dispute over an existing iron pin at the “center of section”. At that location was an honored 3/8″ rebar and fences that were nearly 50 years old. I would note that the original GLO survey in this area did not monument this corner.
Recently, a surveyor had performed a somewhat difficult boundary of the entire section. This survey placed a ‘new’ center corner some 35′ east and about 20′ south of the existing 3/8″ rebar and fence corners. The corner was located by a bearing-bearing intersection fueled by several chapters in the BLM Manual.
My client produced a copy of a survey of his property (E/2 SW/4) performed in 1959. His father had the property surveyed when purchased at that time. The survey plainly showed that the rebar at the NE Cor. SW/4 was set by running north and perpendicular to the south line of the SW/4 for a distance of 2640.0′. And although the field procedure for locating the center in 1959 was somewhat iffy (at best) the rebar had been relied upon for over 50 years by all the adjoiners.
I discussed this with the surveyor that had performed the recent boundary. He actually had no good reason for setting a new pin except for the fact “the old one was in the wrong place”. Now I didn’t like the way the surveyor in 1959 had established his corner either. But the fact was it had been established in good faith and relied upon by all the parties involved. I supplied the other surveyor a number of State and Federal court rulings concerning the issue for him to ponder. Last I heard no one has yet to file any legal action. And I believe the fences have remained in place.
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 5:22 pm
As the thebionicman pointed out, there were many valuable (and correct) monuments in place long before the advent of the requirement for surveyors to cap/tag their monuments. Youngish surveyors, in particular, need to be reminded of this truth with some regularity.
We tend to get hung up on what is common today. We overlook what was common at the time of the early survey work we are following. That can be a huge mistake.
I remember working with a stiff-legged four-post transit and a fairly small plumb bob (on a breezy day). Add a 100 foot tape over rough ground. Set up time was many times greater than standard set up time today for a total station. The precision was cruder. Area calculation was far rougher. That was only 41 years ago. Imagine 141 years ago in the neighborhood where you are working or much, much deeper into the past. I have seen a letter written by one of the founders of our county seat town. The work in about 1870 was done with a “25-foot pole” and a “grapevine”. I’m not sure how one would standardize the precise length of a grapevine.
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 5:52 pm
An old adage is you can’t be mapped out of title. But it has happened.
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 6:13 pm
The original post sounds like the surveyor equivalent of “Do you still beat your wife?”
- MemberOctober 30, 2019 at 6:26 pm
In case 2, if the monument was SET by the surveyor, but moved by somebody, is it the corner?
- MemberOctober 31, 2019 at 2:09 pm
Yesterday I finished a survey for a boundary along the north line of my client’s property. The deed for this parcel is the S2NE4. The N2NE4 is a subdivision created in the 1950s. Monuments were found for all the lot corners (4 lots), I have all the exterior Sectional corners, only one is an original. The NE corner and the NW corner of my client’s property are existing 3″ aluminum caps, the NE set by proration and the NW set from pins recovered for lot corners. The south line of the subdivision drawn between found monuments (maybe one is original, the others are not) is not a straight line. None of the distances work very well, 1.7′, 3.5′, and 14′.
The existing pins are close to line, the worst is 0.4′.
Do I straighten this line and set new pins, or accept the line as found?
For me it’s a simple question, I’m accepting it, showing it as found, not setting different monuments.
I suppose there are surveyors who would set new monuments, try and “breakdown” the section and make it “perfect”, try to “fix” the distances along the lot lines, but not me.
- MemberOctober 31, 2019 at 2:11 pm
This is pretty much how I do it.
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