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The ALTA/NSPS Liaison Committee (consisting of both the American Land Title Association and the National Society of Professional Surveyors) has approved modifications to the 2011 version of the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements for ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys. The new version will be referred to as the 2016 Standards.
These standards will be effective on February 23, 2016. Why was this date chosen? In ancient Roman religion, Terminus was the god who protected boundary markers. The name “Terminus” was the Latin word for a boundary marker. On February 23rd, Roman landowners celebrated a festival called the “Terminalia” in honor of Terminus.
This article is intended to provide a broad overview of those changes to the land title survey standards that will be of the most significance to the title insurance industry and real estate practitioners.
A complete copy of the 2016 Standards can be found HERE.
It is suggested that you print out a copy and follow along as the sections are discussed below:
Section 5 Fieldwork
Section 5 of the 2016 Standards generally concerns the fieldwork of the surveyor.
Section 5.B.ii. Rights of Way and Access
Section 5.B.ii. of the 2011 Standards imposed a duty on the surveyor to show the “width and location of the traveled way.” Under the 2016 Standards, this amended section now requires the land surveyor to also show “the location of each edge of the traveled way” unless there is no access from the land to said traveled way. In addition, the 2016 Standards include a reference to divided streets and highways.
The term “traveled way” is a term of art, used in many court decisions. It has been defined as “the portion of the roadway used for movement of through traffic.”
In other words, although a plat of a residential subdivision may indicate that the dedicated roads have a width of 50 feet, the distance from one edge of the surface of the asphalt to the opposite edge of the asphalt may be only 29 feet. The land surveyor will have to show both widths—the width of the dedicated road and also the width of the asphalt—on the plat of survey.
This additional information should be helpful to those trying to determine access to a particular parcel of land, including curb cuts.
Section 5.B.ii. of the 2016 Standards is as follows. The italicized words are new.
The name of any street, highway or other public or private way abutting the surveyed property, together with the width of the traveled way and the location of each edge of the traveled way including on divided streets and highways. If the documents provided to or obtained by the surveyor pursuant to Section 4 indicate no access from the surveyed property to the abutting street or highway, the width and location of the traveled way need not be located.