Monday, September 24, 2012

Be Firm and Positive

OK so my dealings with the "Peoples Republic of Gila County" has ended on a somewhat positive note.  It appears the plat I sent with the attached letter made an impression as it was recorded the day it was received.  Here is what I did:

1. I sent it, certified mail return receipt requested.  That way I could prove when they received it.
2. I included my check and a letter citing the Arizona Revised Statutes 11-471, 11-477, 11-481.

So I got my point across.  However I want to point something out that we all need to keep in mind.  At no time; even in the height of my anger did I loose my cool and become loud or abusive.  Nor did I use profanity.  We need to keep in mind we are professionals and when should never treat colleagues, clients, government employees or anyone else that may or may noy qualifiy to be a human beings; poorly or with bad manners intentionally.  The only reason I got them to listen to me is because I never got abussive with gesture or language.  This is important.

The County Recorder and Community Development Department are our friends.  Yes they can go astray sometimes but we need a good working relationship with them.  Just as they need us.  I am still pursuing the issue but on much easier terms.  I drove my point home and it stuck.  Now I will set out to make sure other surveyors don't have to do the same.

Viva la SALSA

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gila County Part 3

Sorry for the late update.  Tuesday was a really productive day in my opinion; in dealing with the folks in Gila County Government.  first I want to acknowledge that these are well intentioned and conscientious folks.  It is the methodology that is flawed.

I had an in depth conversation with the Director of Community Development for Gila County and he basically spelled it out.  They want to review every type of survey as a means keeping up with whats going on in Gila County.  I can't argue with that.  What we discussed was simple.  He was in no position to "review" Records of Survey and hinder the recording process.  He agreed in part but was infattic about keeping the process in place.  I suggested that if he reviewed the surveys before they were recorded and sent them back to have "issues" addressed that he was opening himself and the county up to legal action.  He disagreed.  But I think his department is complicit in the blatant violation of ARS 11-477(read it, its juicy).  So as the conversation went on he advised me that the land surveyor(s) in his department review surveys to protect the public.  I responded by saying, in my opinion these individuals may be breaching their ethical responsibility since they have no right to review a Record of Survey BEFORE it is a matter of public record. That made the man think. 

Then I went on to say that I emphatically refused to submit myself to having any of my surveys reviewed.  He came back with my clients won't be issued any permits from the county unless they are reviewed.  To which I replied give me that in writing.  So then I brought up having plats sent out to the communities in Gila County for Review.  He did agree that perhaps this was far reaching but contended that the towns also had the right to stay informed.  I can't argue with that except to say AFTER recordation yes; BEFORE recordation no. 

So basically; here is where I am at.  If the bureaucrats of Gila County continue to obstruct my lawful recordation of Records of Survey then I will have no choice but to seek legal action to stop it. 

At this point APLS needs to get involved with the counties and work to educate them.  I am working on Gila County; So split up and move forward.  My brother's in arms (SALSA) have been working with Pima County.  Regionaly we need to keep the awareness in the fore front.  Otherwise the governing jurisdictions will run over the top of us.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Land Surveying; the Push-Over Profession

The title alone will make some people angry.  Well maybe it should.  I have never been one to be afraid of insighting anger when I have a point to make.  Spirited debate used to be a corner stone of our profession.  That was how we used to address differences of opinion. 

So why are we the push over profession?  Simple, we are cowards in the face of government agencies who assert bureaucratic policies that are not based in law, ordinance, or statute.  We also display timidity in the face rule changes or policies that have a direct effect on us with out our conscent.

A specific example is Gila County.  The recorder's office has a policy that when they receive a record of survey they immediately transfer it down to community development for reveiw and acceptance.  Before we go any further; I am not talking about MINOR LAND SPLITS, LOT LINE ADJUSTMENTS, or SUBDIVISIONS these all have to be reveiwed.  I am talking about a RECORD OF SURVEY.  If the survey falls within the jurisdiction of a municipality then the plat has to submitted to the municipalty's community development department for reveiw and acceptance before the recorder will record it.

THIS IS AGAINST THE LAW.  If the recorder's office receives a document or plat that meets the statutory requirements they have to accept it for recordation.  If they divert the plat to another agency for reveiw; this action alone is in violation of ARS 11-460.  By refusing to accept the document they have done a couple of things.  First, they have obstructed the lawfaul recordation as mandated by the rules and regulations governing the practice of land Surveying.  Second, they have obsolved the surveyor of any responsibility of having to record.

Gila County has been doing this for 20 years.  I don't normally work down there so I had no idea this was going on.  But I know there are at least 12-20 land surveyors who routinely work down there.  Yesterday in a phone conversation with the Town of Payson; I was told I was the first person to ever raise an issue with this practice of reveiwing records of survey.  This floored me.  Why in the world would the surveyor's in Gila County sit back and submit themselves to this over reaching bureaucratic nonsense?  Is this happening anywhere else?  Why hasn't APLS been involved to stop this? 

Look, we have got to get mad.  We have got to get engaged.  We have got to take control of our profession.  Things like the example above should not be allowed to happen.  I can understand why these type of policies are in place.  But these policies don't cure the disease they intended to.  It merely punishes those whom follow the rules.  What these agencies need to do is go after registrants who perpetuate the acts that create these policies.  Not create a broad brush policy that assumes every survey is guilty of some malfeasance.

And where was APLS?  Has APLS gone to the annual Recorder's meeting requested to be on the agenda and discussed any of this stuff with the county recorders?  Why are sticking our heads in the sand? 

Gila County and thier prejudicial treatment of the surveying community has got to stop.  They don't have deeds reveiwed before they are accepted only surveys.  Surveys don't convey title, they don't created parcels; they merely depict existing conditions so why is it necessary to reveiw them?  Oh and the best part; this is what set me off; the town of payson had specific preferences that they wanted to see added to my record of survey.  OH HELL NO.

I am going to fight this with every essence of my being.  You all can jump in any time.  However I fear that most will meekly cheer from the cheap seats.

And For My Commrads in Traverse in the South; VIVA LA SALSA!!!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Over Reaching Bureaucrats

THIS IS A RANT.........

By what divine authority does A County Recorder think they have the right to receive a Record of Survey and not record it?  Yes, the plat meets all of the requirements of ARS 11-481.  So why won't they record it; well it HAS to be reviewed by Community Development.  So today Community Development calls me today to inform me that since my survey falls within the corporate limits of A City; the survey has to be reveiwed by them first.  WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I want to be absolutely clear.  The county recorder; any county recorder  is by statute required to accept any document for recording:

11-461Recording instruments; keeping records; identification; location; social security numbers; definition
A. The recorder shall have custody of and shall keep all records, maps and papers deposited in the recorder's office.
B. The recorder shall record separately, in typewriting, in a legible hand or by use of photostatic or photographic machines or by a system of microphotography, all instruments or writings required or authorized by law to be recorded. In a like manner, the recorder shall record any other instrument offered for recording provided the instruments meet the requirements of section 11-480.

11-480Requirements for form of instruments
A. Only an instrument which upon presentation to a county recorder for recordation fails to meet any of the following conditions may be rejected for recordation at the time of presentation for recordation:
1. Each instrument shall have a caption briefly stating the nature of the instrument, such as warranty deed, release of mortgage and like captions. The county recorder shall have no obligation to index any instrument under any subject index category maintained by the county recorder unless that category is included in the caption to the instrument.
2. Each instrument shall be an original or a copy of the original and shall be sufficiently legible for the recorder to make certified copies from the photographic or micrographic record.
3. Each instrument shall have original signatures except when otherwise provided by law.
4. Each instrument dated and executed on or after January 1, 1991, shall be no larger than eight and one-half inches in width and no longer than fourteen inches and shall have a print size no smaller than ten point type.
B. Each instrument dated and executed on or after January 1, 1991, shall have at least a one-half inch margin across the top, bottom and the left and right sides from the top to the bottom. Any markings, entries or text which are within the one-half inch margin shall be deemed not to impart the notice otherwise imparted by recordation unless such markings, entries or text appear in the reproduction produced under the direction and control of the county recorder. Failure to meet the one-half inch margin requirement of this subsection may affect notice imparted by the document but shall not constitute grounds for rejection for recordation pursuant to subsection A.
C. The first page shall have a top margin of at least two inches which shall be reserved for recording information. The left three and one-half inches of the top margin of the first page or sheet may be used by the public to show the name of the person requesting recording and the name and address to which the document is to be returned following recording. If the first page of the instrument does not comply with the top margin requirements, a separate sheet that meets the requirements and that reflects the title of the document as required by subsection A, paragraph 1 shall be attached to the front of the document by the party requesting recording.
D. Any instrument presented to a county recorder for recordation which modifies in any way the provisions of a previously recorded document must state the date of recordation and the docket and page of the document being modified.
E. Any instrument accepted for recordation is not subject to a later claim of invalidity for failure to comply with the requirements of this section.

11-481Title and size prerequisites for recording maps and plats; recording fee; exception
A. All maps or plats presented for recording shall have a title that at least indicates the type of map or plat, the name of the subdivision or a description of the location of the area by section, township and range, the name of the owner of record of the area being surveyed and a place for the recorder's information and seal block on the sheet.
B. Any map or plat offered for recording that exceeds a size of eight and one-half by fourteen inches shall be the original map legibly drawn on polyester or a copy reproduced on polyester by a photographic silver imaging process or other method that assures archival quality and is subject to the following restrictions:
1. A map or plat of a subdivision shall be on a sheet or sheets measuring twenty-four by thirty-six inches, including a left margin of two inches and be drawn to an accurate scale in at least eleven point type.
2. All other maps or plats shall be on a sheet or sheets measuring eighteen by twenty-four inches or twenty-four by thirty-six inches, including a left margin of two inches and drawn to an accurate scale in at least eleven point type.
C. The fee for recording any map or plat sheet exceeding eight and one-half by fourteen inches shall be twenty dollars and shall be exclusive of the fees for recording any documents to which the map or plat is attached or by which it is accompanied.
D. The fee for recording any map or plat sheet exceeding eight and one-half by fourteen inches when recorded at the request of the United States, this state or a political subdivision of this state is ten dollars and is exclusive of the fees for recording any documents to which the map or plat is attached or by which it is accompanied.
E. The requirements of this section do not apply to any map required to be recorded by the director of water resources under title 45, chapter 2.


When asked for an explanation the recorder's office was they wanted to stop illegal land splits.  OK; surveys don't create land splits; recording DEEDS does.  So are these people also having deeds reviewed to insure that a deeds isn't splitting land illegally?  NO.....

This policy by government agencies are prejudicial and cause an undo expense on our clients and ourselves.  Enforcement on the Surveying community is not the answer to this problem.  This has got to stop.  Yesterday....