About Amerisurv| Contact    
Magazine | Newsletter    
Flickr Photos | Advertise    
HomeNewsNewsletterAmerisurv DirectoryJobsStoreAuthorsHistoryArchivesBlogVideosEvents

Sponsored By

Software Reviews
Continuing Series
An RTN expert provides everything you need to know about network-corrected real-time GNSS observations.
Click Here to begin the series,
or view the Article PDF's Here
76-PageFlip Compilation
of the entire series
Test Yourself

Got Answers?
Test your knowledge with NCEES-level questions.
  Start HERE
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Wow Factor
Sponsored By

Product Reviews
Partner Sites







Spatial Media LLC properties




Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

Vantage Point: One Parcel, Three Views Print E-mail
Written by Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM   
Sunday, 25 March 2018

A 434Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

As surveyors, we encounter tracts of land that have different values depending upon who is making the assessment. Today's example relates to a property (Lot 2) in the rural southern part of New Jersey with limited frontage on a state highway, situated behind a lot that was divided out of it in 1976 (Lot 2A).

One of New Jersey's agencies is interested in acquiring Lot 2 and asked the open space acquisition program within the State's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to look into negotiating a purchase on its behalf. Like any wise purchaser, one of the first steps that DEP takes before acquiring land is to secure a title search to check on possible liens, encumbrances, or other aspects that might affect marketability and/or usability of the intended acquisition. During the one or two days a week that I am in their office, I'm often called on to look through these documents and explain them to the negotiator and the legal team, as well as explain what some of the repercussions might be. While these "non-title" people easily understand the implications of outstanding mortgages or tax liens, other documents attached to the title search and commitment sometimes raise less obvious warning flags--like this time.

The 1976 minor subdivision of Lot 2 into Lots 2 and 2A is reflected on a plat recorded with the deed creating new Lot 2A, although as a bit of a jigsaw puzzle since it is printed in pieces on different pages in the deed book. What it clearly shows, however, are lines and a label along the western line of parent Lot 2 indicating it as the centerline of a 25-foot wide road named "Turnpike Road AKA Old Tuckahoe Road." And that is the centerpiece of the varying views of Lot 2. ("AKA" stands for "Also Known As.")

Title companies mention and exclude roadways from title insurance coverage. But the lengthy schedule of exceptions in this title commitment did not mention this road at all. From this title company's perspective, the road does not exist; therefore it need not be excluded from coverage. That's a plus for any purchaser wanting insurance. This is View Number One of the property's status.

But a purchaser also needs to be aware of any possible claims regarding the right to use a road that crosses the land. Does that road shown on the subdivision plat currently exist? If so, is it a public road or a private road? If it is a public road, what kind of maintenance and liability arise from its presence? If it used to be a public road but no longer is, are there prescriptive rights from long time use by the public or by adjoiners that the purchaser would need to acknowledge and honor? If it never was a public road but was private, who was the beneficiary, and are there any conditions related to the road's presence or use? As a private road or easement, there are all kinds of possible variations regarding exclusive use, shared use, and responsibilities affecting both the dominant and servient estates. The answers to these myriad questions can affect the purchaser's planned use of the land. This is View Number Two of the property's status.

View Number Three is through the seller's eyes. Any road, whether public or private, crossing a property can affect the appraised value of the tract. That can affect the price the purchaser is willing to pay for it. Here is where we get into the difference between insurable title (meaning a title company is willing to issue a policy for coverage) and marketable title (meaning an informed purchaser is willing to acquire the parcel). It is entirely possible for title to be either marketable or insurable but not both.

The road in question does not appear on current tax assessment maps, but was on maps existing at the time of the subdivision. The municipality hasn't been able to find any documents about the road having been vacated or why it was removed from the assessment maps. The county has no records about this road's vacation. Neither does the Department of Transportation.

No one seems to have records about this road's creation, either. Searching old maps in the State's archives has revealed nothing in the area of the curiously disappearing road, so perhaps it was never a public road. Maybe one of the clues lies in one of its names: Turnpike Road. Historically, turnpikes were privately owned roads, chartered by the State to operate and charge fees as any business is. Perhaps this was one that went out of business, or was intended to be a turnpike but never constructed and used.

This is an article about views of title, but here's another piece to the mystery: the physical condition of the land. See the accompanying photograph to decide if you think that this is a road or not.
Wendy Lathrop is licensed as a Professional Land Surveyor in NJ, PA, DE, and MD, and has been involved since 1974 in surveying projects ranging from construction to boundary to environmental land use disputes. She is a Professional Planner in NJ, and a Certified Floodplain Manager through ASFPM.

A 434Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

< Prev

 American Surveyor Recent Articles
Marc Cheves, PS 
Editorial: A Great Year to be a Surveyor
Some magazines have what are called "theme" issues. That is, most of the content is focused on one particular subject. In my 22+ years of survey magazine publishing, my philosophy has always been to have a little bit of everything in each issue, thereby eliminating the possibility that ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Case Examinations: Halverson v. Deerwood Village
Whew! We really beat the snot out of Bryant v. Blevins and practical locations. Well this month we're back on new case that hit the Minnesota Supreme Court's docket in 1982. We've got the familiar gymnastics of jurisprudence featuring an extraordinary array of flying rope stretchers ...
Read the Article
Michel Philips 
Extreme Environment Surveying
A Franco-Chilean team of cave divers used the Nautiz X8 rugged handheld for marine cave surveying, gathering data to classify the inaccessible northern half of Madre de Dios for UNESCO World Heritage. The team of cave divers used the Nautiz X8 ....
Read the Article
Erik Dahlberg 
The Original Green Engineers
Sometimes, it's best just to leave things as you found them. That's the lesson shared by Dr. Richard Miksad and his students at the University of Virginia. As a result of studies covering nearly a decade, Miksad's teams have developed detailed ....
Read the Article
Dave Lindell, PS 
Test Yourself 49: No Dimensions
In square A-C-D-B with side S, C-E is tangent to the semicircle Q1 with diameter B-D. Q2 is the inscribed circle of A-C-E. The tangent to Q1 and Q2 meets the sides of the square at F and H and intersects C-E at t G. Q3 is the inscribed circle of C-G-H. What is the ratio of the radii of circles ....
Read the Article
Jerry Penry, PS 
Discovery on Grizzly Peak
When First Lieutenant Montgomery M. Macomb arrived in Carson City, Nevada, from Washington D.C., on July 28, 1878, his assigned survey crew from the 4th Artillery was waiting and ready for the new field season. At age 25, Macomb was the leader ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Fighting City Hall Over Land
Once upon a time (1989 to be exact) in a place not so far away from where I live, a man (Francis Galdo) bought a home across the street from a vacant parcel owned by the City of Philadelphia. That parcel, along with others, had been acquired by condemnation back in 1974 subsequent to a 1956 ....
Read the Article
Patrick C. Garner, PS 
Book Review: Boundary Retracement: Processes and Procedures
When I was in my mid-twenties and learning the honorable profession of land surveying, I was lucky to be guided by a mentor who would grab a book off his office shelf and say, "Every surveyor should have a copy of this!" The first example he waved at me was Davis, Foote and Kelly's Surveying ....
Read the Article


Amerisurv Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured Amerisurv Events
List Your Event Here
contact Amerisurv


Geneq Introduces
Net20 Pro Receiver

press [at] amerisurv.com
Online Internet Content


News Feeds

Subscribe to Amerisurv news & updates via RSS or get our Feedburn
xml feed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial

Historic Maps

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your GeoJobs career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.


Social Bookmarks

Amerisurv on Facebook 

Amerisurv LinkedIn Group 

Amerisurv Flickr Photos 

Amerisurv videos on YouTube 



The American Surveyor © All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
7820B Wormans Mill Road, #236
Frederick MD 21701
301-695-1538 - fax