Surveyor to Recorder

Surveyor to Recorder

Poll ended at Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:25 pm

I want Direct to Recorder
27
13%
I want the existing County Surveyor review
42
20%
I am in private practice
50
24%
I am in government
22
11%
I am a member of CLSA
59
29%
I am NOT a member of CLSA
6
3%
 
Total votes: 206

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David Kendall
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby David Kendall » Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:14 pm

Edward M Reading wrote:I'm not seeing how posting poor maps is an indictment on having a CS review maps. Your logic is a little fuzzy. Are you saying that there is no value in having a CS review maps? It is more beneficial to have un-reviewed crappy maps recorded?


I can make it plain for you. Take the example of the parcel closure calculations. I kind of get happy when I find a deed or map that doesn't close because it is often an indicator of a sloppy survey.

When the old map or deed doesn't close by a few feet, I know that the survey is probably not top quality before I retrace it

Unfortunately it doesn't work like that anymore. Every survey closes perfectly. They call it 'mathematical accuracy' or some BS.....

Or else it doesn't get filed. Even if it is a thousand acre parcel, they all close within 0.01'

That is a lie, which to me is the opposite of "mathematical accuracy". But the county surveyors will not file the map without a perfect closure.

Essentially they clean up all of the garbage in the name of "protecting the public" and enable the sloppy surveys to get filed but the thing is they don't look so bad once the county surveyor reviews and comments and spell checks and cajoles them into a polished product.

I believe the point is that if the sloppy surveys were filed as is then it would be easier to identify a sloppy survey and over time the pattern would cause the community to take action against the sloppy surveyors. And it would not cost an arm and a leg (which causes less surveys to get filed)

Even if they were never reviewed or filed, both of the surveys he posted show set corner monuments. These maps established property corners.

One of us will have to deal with it someday

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Ian Wilson
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Ian Wilson » Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:07 am

Edward M Reading wrote:I'm not seeing how posting poor maps is an indictment on having a CS review maps.


I think the idea is that the maps then become documentary evidence of incompetence, giving BPELSG opportunity to cite the mapper.

While it does little to protect the public damaged by the bad map, it does serve as a dose of chlorine to remove the miscreants from the Survey Pool.

And, yes, in the counties that do not have cost recovery, the RS checking fee is often far below the cost of time spent in-house reviewing the map.
Ian Wilson, P.L.S. (CA / NV / CO)
Alameda County Surveyor

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Ian Wilson
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Ian Wilson » Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:21 am

removed for editing purposses
Last edited by Ian Wilson on Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Ian Wilson, P.L.S. (CA / NV / CO)
Alameda County Surveyor

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Ian Wilson
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Ian Wilson » Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:23 am

David Kendall wrote:Unfortunately it doesn't work like that anymore. Every survey closes perfectly. They call it 'mathematical accuracy' or some BS.....

Or else it doesn't get filed. Even if it is a thousand acre parcel, they all close within 0.01'

That is a lie, which to me is the opposite of "mathematical accuracy". But the county surveyors will not file the map without a perfect closure.

Essentially they clean up all of the garbage in the name of "protecting the public" and enable the sloppy surveys to get filed but the thing is they don't look so bad once the county surveyor reviews and comments and spell checks and cajoles them into a polished product.


David, the perfect math is something I have always bristled against. Requiring the same closure number whether the parcel is a 25' x 75' city parcel or a 160 acre rural parcel is absurd. The relative accuracy of the first might be completely unacceptable while the later is beyond mortal possibility.

It is not my job to make sure your boundary is perfect. It IS my job to make sure that you have documented it properly.

If you choose to do a poor job on your survey and slap a boundary together that is laughable, put a note on the map that says something like "I only took time to find two monuments three streets over from my client's parcel. Even though the two points I found were only 35' apart, I went ahead and set all four corners of the parcel, even though one of them was in the middle of the driveway and the other was in the pool deck in the back yard." That, at least, tells everyone exactly what you did.And, it provides solid evidence that should make Phil happy, too.
Ian Wilson, P.L.S. (CA / NV / CO)
Alameda County Surveyor

Edward M Reading
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Edward M Reading » Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:27 am

So what your saying is; that in some cases the CS is putting lipstick on a pig. Guess what? You can still tell that it's a pig.
Edward M. Reading, PLS (ID, WY, CA)
San Luis Obispo

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Ian Wilson
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Ian Wilson » Wed Sep 25, 2019 6:48 am

Edward M Reading wrote:So what your saying is; that in some cases the CS is putting lipstick on a pig. Guess what? You can still tell that it's a pig.


Not really. If the surveyor wants to put up a picture of a pig, I just want to make sure that they put up a proper drawing of the pig. I'm not asking for lipstick on the pig. I want to make sure that you've put enough notes on your map that no one will ever mistake your stick drawing for a drawing of an aardvark.If you have to say "This is a drawing of a pig." to do that, then do that.

I often base my surveys on maps and evidence that is nearly a hundred years old. The maps recorded today will still be used a hundred years form now. You won't be around to answer questions directly. That's why the information needs to be on the map.

If you're willing to take on the liability for a line on your boundary survey based on one point and record angles off it, say so. I was taught to put the information on the map. "FD 1" IP tagged LS XYZ, DN 0.2'. Accepted as Northeast corner of Lot A of 46 PM 21. Established northerly line of parcel by following trail of ants to approximate location of northwest corner." Not my call to tell you that is an unacceptable survey procedure. I might send a copy of the map to the Board. It IS their job to do that; not mine, though.

I'm betting that the surveyors 100 years from now will be able to look at the map and declare it to be fine fish wrapping.
Ian Wilson, P.L.S. (CA / NV / CO)
Alameda County Surveyor

Edward M Reading
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Edward M Reading » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:06 am

Ian Wilson wrote:
Edward M Reading wrote:So what your saying is; that in some cases the CS is putting lipstick on a pig. Guess what? You can still tell that it's a pig.


Not really. If the surveyor wants to put up a picture of a pig, I just want to make sure that they put up a proper drawing of the pig. I'm not asking for lipstick on the pig. I want to make sure that you've put enough notes on your map that no one will ever mistake your stick drawing for a drawing of an aardvark.If you have to say "This is a drawing of a pig." to do that, then do that.

I often base my surveys on maps and evidence that is nearly a hundred years old. The maps recorded today will still be used a hundred years form now. You won't be around to answer questions directly. That's why the information needs to be on the map.

If you're willing to take on the liability for a line on your boundary survey based on one point and record angles off it, say so. I was taught to put the information on the map. "FD 1" IP tagged LS XYZ, DN 0.2'. Accepted as Northeast corner of Lot A of 46 PM 21. Established northerly line of parcel by following trail of ants to approximate location of northwest corner." Not my call to tell you that is an unacceptable survey procedure. I might send a copy of the map to the Board. It IS their job to do that; not mine, though.

I'm betting that the surveyors 100 years from now will be able to look at the map and declare it to be fine fish wrapping.


Ian, I'm not saying that I agree with that, just summarizing his position. I've worked more of my career in states without a CS than I have in states with one. I see the value of having a CS. Many maps end up materially better after comments from a thoughtful CS. I see it all of the time.
Edward M. Reading, PLS (ID, WY, CA)
San Luis Obispo

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Steve Martin
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Steve Martin » Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:38 pm

Many years ago, I check a Record of Survey where the Surveyor set the North and South 1/4 corners on line and midway between the section corners in Section 6.

Being a young LSIT way back then, I was nervous about having to tell him about proportionate distance per the GLO plat, but the answer I got back was very thankful that I had caught the dumb oversite he or his staff had made before it was memorialized for all eternity. You could almost hear the facepalm in his response. It was very plain once I pointed it out.

From my experience, I believe there is a lot of value in an independent review. It was never a revenue generator back then, the County lost money on the checks. Most of the Surveyors really appreciated getting the benefit of the main Record of Survey map checker's vast local knowledge back then (he looked over the few I checked too).

I would vote for better training for the public map checkers (and contractors), and am against no review or the buddy system.

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David Kendall
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby David Kendall » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:06 am

Edward M Reading wrote:So what your saying is; that in some cases the CS is putting lipstick on a pig. Guess what? You can still tell that it's a pig.

I'm not seeing how posting poor maps is an indictment on having a CS review maps.


What I see is that the CS endorsement is making erroneous, negligent, poorly explained or poorly researched boundary investigations legitimate. It is unfortunately much worse then putting lipstick on a pig. It is giving the pig a gun and a badge and authority and entitlement. County Surveyors, please consider that every surveyor whose backside you wipe today is enabled to go out tomorrow and damage the private property of another citizen.

Sure, I can tell it's a pig. Most of the time. Some are better than others with the lipstick. The problem for you to consider is that the client doesn't know that their bargain record of survey just created a legal battle with the neighbor and the neighbor may not realize it for ten or twenty years. How do you wipe a bad record of survey off of the record? It is endorsed by he County Surveyor after all!

In my opinion, the only way for a County Surveyor to stay relevant going forward is through liberal application of the "Notation of Matters Not Agreed Upon" in Section 8768. This is extremely underused and I find it disgraceful. Most of the County Surveyors I know are either stamping everything that comes across their desk, or they are talking the thing to death with goofy redline comments over meaningless features on the maps (like commas, apostrophes and 'mathematical accuracy') or they are applying so much lipstick to the pig that the thing is unrecognizable, then they endorse it. I can count on one hand the number of CS notes I have seen. I find them very helpful. If the submitting surveyor doesn't say "It's a pig" on the map then the reviewing surveyor ought to say it

When the deregulation wave rolls through California and the County Surveyor review is as large a percentage of the cost of a survey and it has as much or less value as it does now in "protecting the public" then guess who will be the first one to get the axe. Any County Surveyor or member of the Board of Professional Land Surveyors in Texas can tell you that is truth.

I would prefer to see the first review of every record of survey come back with a stamp or a carefully crafted and ready to file CS note stating the difference of opinion. This is something I can work with. This $1000 back and forth nonsense is a waste of time.

And all of you guys that survey for only one client or are exempt from review fees, I appreciate your perspective but please understand that it doesn't count for much in this conversation.

We either need to slaughter the pigs or put them on up the state flag and fly it proudly.

Or maybe land surveying really is just grifting. I can play that game too but let us not be so self-righteous and formal about it then

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E_Page
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby E_Page » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:01 am

Overall, as I've stated previously, I believe that having a CS review is a good thing. But there is no question that in CA, there are some problems with how that review is performed and administered. IMO, that doesn't mean that it should be done away with. It means that efforts should be made to address the real and perceived problems.

Some of the problems I've seen or have often heard others lament about are:

1. Review fees. These range from no fee to exorbitant, depending upon county, their internal financing structure and level of review. It would be good if there were more consistency, but I don't see the counties working with each other to solve it. Nor do I know if there is a legislative answer that can directly help this situation. Perhaps there are legislative solutions that can address other matters to provide more consistency in the performance of reviews across all counties that could have an indirect effect on review fees.

2. As David Kendall pointed out, the signature of the CS is often taken as and sometimes presented as an endorsement of the correctness and quality of the survey. To some extent, that may be true in some (very few if any) counties, but based on my experience and on the maps I've seen from nearly every county in the State, correctness and quality of the results of the survey are not part of the review. At best, some counties perform a level of review as Ian described - the correctness and quality is fully on the surveyor of record while the CS just ensures that, aside from the technical drafting requirements, the surveyor of record has sufficiently explained what they did so that it is either easy for following surveyors to follow, or the surveyor of record provides enough info to hang themselves given an honest and competent review by BPELSG.

Personally, I think that a reviewing surveyor necessarily has limitations that prevent him or her from fully knowing if the results are completely reasonable as the reviewing surveyor has little way of knowing how thorough the research and field work were performed. The results might appear to depict reasonable conclusions based on diligent efforts in the field and office, but without reperforming the survey, the reviewer has no way of knowing whether there is additional field evidence which should have been considered, court judgments, wills or unfiled documentation which is relevant, etc.

Often, the info on the map makes it clear that the effort was so deficient or the conclusions so off base that it's clear that a poor or bad survey was performed. I've seen several, particularly in the Bay area that are much like Ian described (survey based on 2 mons, 35' apart, 2 blocks away). Those instances are ones in which a note by the CS should be required.

Beyond that, perhaps the CS Statement should be legislatively altered to make it clear that the signature that a review occurred does not constitute an endorsement of the results or quality of the work in performing the survey.

3. Inconsistent level of review. I've seen inconsistency within a county, but that's an internal thing and not the larger problem I'm identifying here. It has registered with me for many years that some CS offices perform more rigorous reviews than others, but it really stuck home when I attended a CS Panel Discussion at a CLSA Annual Conference a few years back. When asked about the level of review, particularly with regard to apparent diligence of the survey effort and reasonableness of the conclusions, the 3-person panel ran the full gamut.

A CS from a Southern CA county said that his office does look closely at each map for those issues and will work with the surveyor for them to provide a map that reflects a survey performed and analyzed to the proper standard of care or will ad a CS note if that effort fails. The 2nd CS, also from somewhere in Southern CA, IIRC, described a review process much as Ian described, stating that if it's really obvious that the map reflects a poor survey, they will suggest the surveyor fix the procedural deficiencies and that they might add a note. The 3rd, a former CS of a Bay area county said that her office didn't look at those matters at all but limited their review to only the technical drafting requirements outlined in the PLSA. She said that she limited the review to encourage surveyors to file maps and assumed that if her review was more stringent, many surveyors would knowingly and purposely violate the PLSA by not filing when required.

The root of this inconsistency, I think - I mean beyond a work ethic that makes excuses for essentially not performing any meaningful review at all - is the vague wording of 8764(g). "Any information necessary..." leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Some CSs read that as requiring, or at least authorizing them to review whether the efforts, methods and conclusions appear reasonable (and I think there is room for that interpretation), while others think that depicting a few found and set monument positions that have bearings and distances between them that reflect the closure report is sufficient (IMO, there is room for this interpretation for instances where the survey is very straightforward and appropriate control was found and used, i.e. an interior lot in a subdivision for which controlling monumentation is abundant). But some apply that last interpretation to all survey maps and, IMO, there is not room for that lax an interpretation. If that is to be the extent of review, then it is utterly useless.

I believe that language could be tightened up without dictating methods as some state's MTS seem to get into. Something to the effect that the various elements of survey be fully explained, from the control used (why limited to the 2 mons, 2 blocks away and 35' apart) and how a lack of better control (when applicable) has potentially affected results, to the reasoning behind the establishment of each point and line. That doesn't dictate to the surveyor what control must be used or what evidence and reasoning must be followed, but would provide info for others to better assess the effort and results and provide the side benefit of encouraging some marginal practitioners to be a little more diligent when they realize that having to provide the explanation makes it more difficult to hide the corners they cut in performance of the survey.

There may be other issues that some have with the review process, but I think if #2 & #3 could be effectively dealt with through legislation, that would help with #1 to some extent. It would also make it easier to subsequently look for potential solutions to a somewhat simplified matter of inconsistent review fees.
Evan Page, PLS
A Certain Forum Essayist

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btaylor
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby btaylor » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:25 pm

E_Page wrote:Beyond that, perhaps the CS Statement should be legislatively altered to make it clear that the signature that a review occurred does not constitute an endorsement of the results or quality of the work in performing the survey.


This is an idea I've bandied about as well. I think the public impression is that the CS is in essence "endorsing" the survey, and I believe some County Surveyors believe this to be the case. I think the statement needs to clearly reflect that it does not constitute an endorsement of the work.

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hellsangle
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby hellsangle » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:56 pm

I appreciate all that has been said . . .

When the County Surveyor records his/her Survey . . . isn't that what Crazy Phil's it proposing for the rest of us? Surveyor to Recorder. Who reviews the County survey?

So much of this textual debate could be eliminated if Surveyor to Recorder were enacted! Keep it simple.

(I personally believe there are County Surveyors that would rather be performing work that is a tangible benefit to its citizenry . . . rather than reviewing surveys.)

And . . . well said, Kendall.

Crazy Phil - Surveyor to Recorder

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hellsangle
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby hellsangle » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:57 pm

Oh! And since July we've had two more "converts"

Edward M Reading
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Edward M Reading » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:09 pm

People that think that the CS is endorsing the survey do not understand the CS statement on an RS. It is not an endorsement or certification, it clearly states what the review entails:

This map has been examined in accordance with Section 8766 of the Professional
Land Surveyors’ Act this _____day of ________, 20 ____.
Edward M. Reading, PLS (ID, WY, CA)
San Luis Obispo

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E_Page
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby E_Page » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:14 pm

Ed,

You've graded the exam and have reviewed enough maps to realize that less than half of our licensees have any familiarity with the laws we practice by, and that estimate is probably very generous.

How much less for nonsurveyors. In court or license disciplinary hearings, even the judges aren't likely to go beyond whatever the expert witnesses have to say about it.

Even Ric has alluded to a signed CS Statement as a form of endorsement in justifying his opinion that any ancient (by legal std) unfiled map is of little to no evidentiary value compared to any filed map.

That statement may be clear to you, and it may be clear to nearly every CS in the State, but I am certain that each of those very clear interpretations impart several different meanings. Because 8766 ties back to 8764, the whole body of code sections related to CS review is practically the definition of an ambiguous statute.
Evan Page, PLS
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Peter Ehlert
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Peter Ehlert » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:25 pm

Is it time yet for some of you to revise your responses?
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8283
Peter Ehlert

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hellsangle
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby hellsangle » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:37 am

HIGHER EDUCATION:

"Californians are building the workforce of the future by pursuing educational
opportunities, forming regional partnerships, and establishing innovative
companies. Higher education represents a key pathway for Californians to access
education and training opportunities, develop the skills needed to meet the state’s
ever-changing workforce needs, and to improve their upward economic mobility.
Enabling current and future students to successfully meet their higher education goals
and achieve upward economic mobility is critical to creating a California for all.
Building upon last year’s investments, the Budget proposes continued investments in the
state’s universities and colleges, enabling them to further increase access to higher
education, improve student success and timely degree completion, and close student
achievement gaps." Governor's budget for Higher Education (Page 87)

The above budget-item has great "value" to our State.

If the Record of Survey review had such a "great value" to Californians - I would suspect the Legislature would fund the cost to review a Record of Survey! Period.

(Okay: opponents of Surveyor to Recorder . . . consider writing a budgetary item that we can propose to the legislature . . . which they would be elated to make law . . . and we, too, would happily abide by the status quo.)

Yep. Crazy Phil, again.
Surveyor to Recorder!

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Warren Smith
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby Warren Smith » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:10 am

The legislature creates many unfunded mandates. While the social impact may be positive, it is left to local agencies to determine how to fund such activities. A cost recovery fee is the usual route, but some agencies balance a General Fund contribution based on perceived value to the overall population. Sort of a pro rata share.

Certainly, subdivision maps are generally a for-profit endeavor, and the local regulations are rife with opportunity to ensure orderly development. Accordingly, review fees are a cost recovery calculation.

Records of Survey and corner records are more value driven in terms of conveying information to the citizenry at large in a community, and are more subsidized to encourage compliance with filing. The spectrum throughout the State indicates philosophic differences in this area.
Warren D. Smith, LS 4842
County Surveyor
Tuolumne County

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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby DaveRyan » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:50 pm

There is an implicit endorsement in that the County Surveyor reviews the RS at all. For the 2000 or so RS's I signed as Deputy or County Surveyor, if I ever felt that I had no skin in the game, I would have set a $25 fee, checked for a north area and scale, stamped it, signed it and sent it off to the Recorder. 8766 requires reviewing several relevant sections. Once the County Surveyor was added to the process (which occurred in the second LS Act, 1907), what's the point of having a licensed professional review something a a non-surveying clerk could review? I don't believe that was the intent of the law.

I say the County Surveyor is either "all out" or "all in", because that's what the public's perception is when his signature and stamp is on there. Evan, you propose a well intended compromise here: "Beyond that, perhaps the CS Statement should be legislatively altered to make it clear that the signature that a review occurred does not constitute an endorsement of the results or quality of the work in performing the survey". But sorry, this won't fly. That statement waters it down to a non-review. Or at least no purpose or function for the person reviewing it to have any expertise or responsibility.

This discussion is nothing new. I took part in a series of workshops more than 25 years ago involving a travelling RS committee. Same discussion. Same issues. Unless something radical happens, I suspect this discussion will be around another 25 years.

Phil's not so crazy.

Dave Ryan,
Arcata, Ca.

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hellsangle
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby hellsangle » Thu Jan 30, 2020 7:41 pm

Thank you St. Dave!

And your two cents too, Warren.

Have a good weekend all.

Crazy Phil

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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby kwilson » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:12 am

I apologize because i did not read all of the above posts but when is the last time the "GOVERNMENT" ever made something simpler than before?

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E_Page
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Re: Surveyor to Recorder

Postby E_Page » Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:52 pm

Dave,

Not surprised that you took the review responsibility seriously. However, in several other counties, random review of filed maps indicates that not all County Surveyors shared your sense of responsibility. In fact, one former CS from a Bay Area county stated publicly (at a CLSA Annual Conference CS Panel Discussion) that review under that person's direction was essentially limited to checking for proper margins, presence of statutorily required statements, north arrow and little else. That former CS said that they did not review results of the survey other than ensuring that dimensions matched the closure report. The reasoning for the nearly non-review was that this former CS did not want to discourage filing.

Whether or not the CS review constitutes an endorsement of the survey varies county to county. Many would like to view it that way, but as long as the law remains such that the extent of review is open to wide interpretation, the signed CS statement cannot be taken as an endorsement unless the CS expressly states it to be so.

If the CS statement were able to be taken as an endorsement of the survey results, it would also be a significant liability problem for counties. Since the CS review does not involve any field work by the CS, unless there is another recent survey of a nearby parcel, the reviewer is totally reliant on the field work performed by the surveyor of record and has little ability to determine how thoroughly that work was performed. Same goes for research. Unless the subject parcel is a lot of a filed subdivision, the CS review budget likely does not allow for complete research for each review and thus the reviewer has no feasible means of determining whether the research by the surveyor of record was completely thorough.

Also, expressly in the law, the CS has no authority to dictate any changes in methods or reasoning applied, or to refuse to file due to either of those things. The CS does have the ability to add notes of disagreement in such cases, but not to withhold his or her signature on the review statement. In cases where the CS disagrees with methods or reasoning, yet signs and completes filing of the map as required by law, I don't think any CS would want their signature to be viewed as an endorsement. Including a note of disagreement would certainly clarify that the CS is not endorsing the results of the survey, but the stamp and signature and the CS review statement are the same either way. There is no "except as otherwise stated" provision in that statement and legally, none can be added to it.

The best description of the CS review in CA that I've heard/read was stated by Ian Wilson. Aside from the statutory statements, drafting matters, etc. mentioned in the PLSA, the CS review is to ensure, not that the survey is correct or that the CS agrees with the results, but that the surveyor of record included all the info, whether graphically, by notation, or narrative to make it clear to anyone reading the map what the surveyor found, whether and how they considered it relevant to the survey, and what their reasoning was for the establishment or reestablishment of the points and lines shown. In short, is it clear by the map what they did and why they did it. If the methods or reasoning apparent on the map are so egregiously contrary to established boundary principles and/or survey methods, add a note.

I suspect that since you took your review responsibilities seriously, that this description is probably very close to how you approached your reviews. Unless you either were able to essentially re-perform the survey yourself or had a very high level of confidence in the surveyor of record for any given map you reviewed, you might want to reconsider whether you actually consider your signature on the CS statement to be an endorsement of the survey. That's a very high standard that could come back to bite you and the county if any of those 2000+ surveys were ever to have been determined to include acts of negligence or incompetence.

Additionally, I know of only one case where a CS was cited for inadequate review of maps, but he was not held responsible for any negligence or incompetence demonstrated by the surveyor(s) of record of those maps, only for inadequate review. To my knowledge, no CS has ever been held responsible for any negligence or incompetence demonstrated in the underlying surveys where the surveyor of record was cited or charged. If the signing of the CS statement were actually an endorsement of the underlying survey, then in most of those cases, the CS would necessarily need to be cited or charged with the same causes of action that were filed against the surveyor of record.

Ideally, I would like to see the sections covering CS review clarified so that all County Surveyors would clearly understand their signature does not necessarily indicate agreement with the results, but that they have a duty to ensure that methods and reasoning are clearly and fully indicated on the map. I don't think that will ever happen however because 1) I doubt that there will ever be enough agreement among County Surveyors as to what a clear and common standard should be, so CEAC will always oppose any attempt to clarify those sections of the PLSA; 2) BPELSG (IMO) prefers ambiguous wording in the sections where standards of care or practice could be clarified so that they can move the target to achieve a desired outcome in individual cases; and 3) CLSA leadership lacks the spine to do anything meaningful to define and endorse any kinds of practice standards, which is a basic and essential function of a profession.

I believe that we are more likely to see the complete deregulation of land surveying in California before we see any meaningful progress to clearly define some basic standard practices for map review or any other aspect of survey practice. And it's the unwillingness of the professional societies to step up to lead in this very basic aspect of a profession, and of our regulating board to cooperate with the professional societies to recognize and clarify what standard practices are and/or should be that leads to the degradation of practice and may very likely lead to deregulation.
Evan Page, PLS
A Certain Forum Essayist


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