Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Point of Commencement - When to Ignore it...

Every metes and bounds legal description has either a point of commencement or a point of beginning.  In my little part of the world the point of commencement is usually a section corner, 1/4 corner, sixteenth corner.  I am sure most of readers of this blog have seen them.

Well the other day I was working on survey here in the metro Springerville area and it was a good survey day.  GPS was working fine.  My preliminary research was panning out.  It was a good field day.  Typically I gather field data and process it in CAD.  Then I will run in the legal description based upon the control and start to evaluate the record versus the gathered data.  In so doing I have noticed a curious oddity.

On this particular survey the occupation seem the fit the description really well.  All of the occupation appeared harmonious and my contact with the adjoining land owners did not reveal any concerns.  All was well in the neighborhood.  Plus it looked good on paper also.  So I began to enter the deed based on my observed control; in this case a section corner.  The pedigree on this section goes back to the GLO 1875 survey so there is no doubt as to it's location.  Anyway, the deed commences at the section corner and runs west along the section to a point then north to the POB.  Then it runs around the property with only bearing and distance; no descriptive calls at all.  Then it closes back and the math works.

Then it happens.... As I am looking at the boundary by occupation compared to the deed boundary there is a 27 foot ambiguity in departure.  So first I look for fat-finger busts - nope.  Then transposed deed calls - nope the deeds calls generally work with the adjoining deeds.  So then I grip the deed boundary (in CAD) and slide it to the observed boundary and it fit; except for the call to the section corner.  So rather that stake the deed and create havoc.  I ignored the call to the section corner and followed the rest of the deed.

Moral of the story.... Sometimes it is necessary to ignore parts of the legal description to protect the intent of the deed.  My 2 cents anyway.

And to my compadres in the south VIVA LA SALSA!!!


  1. Hi Dan, good call indeed. A very Dear Friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) as well as many court cases, state that “the existing harmony of a subdivision is not to be disrupted”. I trust we’ve all heard the alternative…”creating chaos out of order”…



  2. Yes Dane I could not agree more. However certain technological advancements have made "deed" staking into a profession. I have heard many RLS's say that the deed is the deed and there is no other alternative. As far as intent goes that's true. But I would argue that the bearings and distances are secondary to stronger evidence if that evidence is compelling. Yet I don't really ever hear anyone say that it is o.k. to blow off a commencement call from a controlling monument if it doesn't fit. A bad commencement call in a deed just tells me that they wanted the deed tied to something without really ever knowing where that something was.