Property line boundary determination 

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Posts: 1

Joined: 6/10/2009
Topic  Property line boundary determination       Flag »  Reply »
I have a copy of the official registration of my property with others along part of my street by the surveyor of record at the time the survey for the plan was registered.  The boundary between my property and my neighbor's is specified as: N 43 deg 25 min 28 sec E.  I have figured out that this specification is not a latitude both because the property line is not W-E, and using the Web, my (lat, long) coordinates are different.  The best I can reckon is that is an angle of rotation from geographic North to East.

Is that the property line specification in angular terminology, i.e. is my reckoning correct?  If not, then what is it, and what does it mean?

The second question I have is that since I know what the property frontages are on all of the properties on my block (for the part on my map), exactly how do surveyors determine where the property boundary point (between the properties) at the front of the property lies, i.e. it could make a big difference in the survey result unless I am mistaken?  Do they start at either end of the block and measure the footage to make that determination - i.e. what data do they need to determine the starting point of the survey?  Do they look for survey markers of the original survey, if any still exist?  As I understand it these days, surveyors use Survey GPS, because recreational, resource and/or topological GPS is not accurate enough.  The original survey was recorded on August 5, 1965.

The reason for my post is that a week ago the neighbor knocked on my door about the dead (probably) cedar tree in the front yard - his front yard as I see it.  He and his wife are concerned that it might fall down in the direction of their property (maybe, as the tree has two spires which probably contributed to its demise if is is either now dead or in the process of dying).  I have always reckoned that the property boundary more or less started at (certainly very close to) the telephone pole in the front of our properties, and ran in a straight line (it does according to the map) from there - and the tree clearly is on their property as I see it but, without really knowing exactly and precisely where the property line (as specified) starts and ends between our respective properties.

Knowing the information from the official document would save a surveyor time and effort from doing a records search as I understand it.  From that point of view, is it likely that a surveyor can be negotiated down from what would be considered a full blown property boundary survey to a minimal survey to simply mark the boundary between our respective properties (with markers), and set a reasonable price for services for which my neighbor and I could share the cost.  What would be a reasonable cost for that effort?

Currently, my neighbor has asked me to undertake sharing half the cost of removing the tree before it falls, and I won't be convinced that I have any responsibility for that undertaking if and until the tree is proven to be either on my side of the property boundary, or the tree somehow is in the middle of the property boundary in which case we would have to negotiate sharing the cost somehow.  It currently looks like the tree is totally on their property if I am correct that the property boundary proves to be at the telephone pole.

What say you professionals?  Any and all advice appreciated.


-- Tom

  Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:58:06 PM
Thomas LaCorte
Posts: 62

Joined: 10/17/2008
Reply  Re: Property line boundary determination Flag »  Reply »
Tom.....Let me give you my advice as I have been involved in many of these " Is the tree on my lot or his " surveys in the past. The bottom line Tom is that you want to do what costs you the least amount of money. Get three written estimates as to what it would cost to remove the tree. Estimates are free. Get them yourself or at least look at his written estimates. You must have written estimates so you know your not getting ripped off on half the price. I was once asked to pay for half a tree removal and it turned out I payed for all the tree removal so please work with written estimates. Once you have these tree estimates get estimates from local surveyors for the price of a "Specific Purpose Survey" for only the one line. This is not an uncommon request. Compare the the two estimates and go with whatever is cheaper. If they are the same or close to the same then you have a decision to make. But let me tell you that as a homeowner and a surveyor I would pay for half the tree removal but that is just me. I have seen these "tree" surveys turn into long ugly and very costly court battles that should have been settled at the onset. Airspace and root systems could be brought into the picture and it just gets crazy.  But on the other hand if you feel that there is "no way" that the tree is on your property then show him why you believe it is his tree and tell him to pay for the survey and if the survey shows that it is on both lots then you could offer to pay for half.
In fact the more I think about it since he is the one making the monetary request from you and it does appear to be on his property then have him get the survey done and then take it from there. Just dont let this get out of hand....stay is to short to have to live with an angry neighbor over a tree.....just my advice Tom take it or leave it.
PS telephone poles are not property markers and should never be counted on to be as such. 
  Friday, June 12, 2009 at 11:53:14 AM
Posts: 42
Location: Gonzales, La USA

Joined: 10/20/2008
Reply  Re: Property line boundary determination Flag »  Reply »
    Look at the survey that was done for your lot when you purchased it?  If all you have is a plat showing all the lots, not just your individual lot, note what markers were set as the lot corners (ie. 1/2" pipes, iron rods, stones etc).  Look for, with a shovel, these markers.  If none are noted on the plat, call up the surveyor who did the plat and ask him what was set.
    If you did not have an individual survey done at the time of acquisition, you really don't have a rational reason to complain that you don't know where the boundary is now.  Sharing the cost of removing the tree is, by far, the least costly way to go.  
    Other wise you will wind up paying for the cost of a survey, (which you should have had performed in the first place) half of the cost of removing the tree, and you would have ruined your relationship with the people living next door.
    Like Tom, I have witnessed many a petty boundary dispute that became costly and hate-filled battles.  Find the corners, share the cost and live in peace with your neighbor.
  Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 8:42:51 AM

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