Bock & Clark 2021 November eNewsletter

Zoning Information: ALTA Survey Table A Item 6(a) and 6(b) 2021 Clarifications

Survey Equipment in a fieldWhen a surveyor presents any type of survey, whether it be a boundary, subdivision, ALTA, or topographic, they are providing their best professional opinion. That opinion is formulated to comply with the corresponding state statutes for engineering and surveying where the surveyor holds their licensure. The surveyor employs all resources necessary to provide the most accurate boundary determination possible within the normal standards of care and the appropriate survey laws. These include but are not limited to record research, field observations, evidence found, and calculations based on both record data and field observation. This allows them to formulate their best professional opinion and present that opinion on a plat and/or descriptions of the surveyed property.

With the adoption of the 2021 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements, Optional Table A Items 6(a) and 6(b) have been modified slightly to clarify the ordering client’s responsibilities in providing zoning information to the surveyor to report on the ALTA survey.

If a client wishes for the zoning information to be included on the survey, then Optional Table A Item 6(a) and/or 6(b) can be requested as a part of the scope.

If 6(a) is included, it is important to note that the client has further responsibility to provide the surveyor with a zoning report or zoning letter that would include the current zoning classification, setback requirements, the height and floor space area restrictions and parking requirements. In 2021, clarification has been added that zoning information can also be provided to the surveyor by the client’s representative. In a typical transaction, multiple parties are involved, and it is common for someone other than the ordering client to provide the surveyor with the needed information. It may be the title company, the lender, the seller, or a zoning report provider that directly supplies the information.

The 2021 requirements have clarified that the provided zoning information must be specific to the surveyed property. Previously, there have been occasions where the surveyor was provided with sections of zoning codes, maps and ordinances and then asked to provide the information applicable to the surveyed property. Asking a surveyor to review zoning codes and requirements would require the surveyor to make legal interpretations regarding classifications, uses and ordinances which is outside of their expertise. The provided zoning report or letter must now contain information specific to the property to be used by the surveyor to report exacting information in a notation on the survey plat or drawing stating the date and source of the information.

Similarly, if 6(b) is negotiated, the surveyor is again looking for the client or their representative to provide a zoning report or letter specific to the surveyed property. If the report or letter states the building setback requirements, the surveyor has the additional responsibility to graphically depict the building setback requirements on the survey plat or drawing.

However, upon the surveyor’s review of the provided information, they may elect NOT to plot the setbacks due to the ambiguity of a definition in the zoning report or letter or due to the configuration of the property. As an example, if the provided information states that the front setback line is 50 feet and the property is on a corner, the surveyor has no way of knowing what the zoning authority recognizes as the front of the property or if both sides fronting along the street are recognized as the front. If the surveyor makes assumptions and incorrectly shows a setback line, the surveyor has attempted to interpret the zoning law or code and could be liable.

When reviewing actual matters on the property, questions may arise as to whether the building is in violation of the zoning building height restriction or whether there are sufficient parking spaces. To address this, additional Table A Items need to be considered. These include:

The inclusion of these items will help determine whether the property is in compliance with the applicable zoning requirements. Transaction parties need to realize that the surveyor cannot make these compliance determinations themselves as in doing so they would be offering an opinion about matters outside of their expertise. With the inclusion of these Table A Items, the surveyor has the responsibility to provide the needed information so that others can make these compliance determinations.

It is true that fifteen years ago surveyors would research and report zoning information as a part of providing an ALTA survey. However, the complexities of definitions within present day zoning requirements make it nearly impossible for a surveyor to interpret the legal intent and report the matters applicable to the surveyed property.

When the 2011 Minimum Standard Detail Requirements were adopted, it was made clear that the zoning information had to be provided to the surveyor if it was necessary to include it on the survey. Transaction parties need to rely on the expertise of a zoning company such as NV5/Bock & Clark Zoning to gather and provide the data. Please visit Bock & Clark’s website for a complete listing and explanation of the services our zoning division can provide.


Update on ASTM E1527 Revision

On November 2, 2021, ASTM International completed its revision process for the standard practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ASTM E1527-21). The revised standard will replace the 2013 version (ASTM E1527-13) and is not expected to be published by ASTM until later this year. As with previous revisions, there will likely be a transition period in formally adopting the new version and therefore ASTM E1572-21 is not currently legally binding.

NV5/Bock & Clark will provide more detailed information on the revision in its January newsletter.

NV5/BOCK & CLARK NEWS & UPCOMING EVENTS

Update on ASTM E1527 RevisionWhen a surveyor presents any type of survey, whether it be a boundary, subdivision, ALTA, or topographic, they are providing their best professional opinion. That opinion is formulated to comply with the corresponding state statutes for engineering and surveying where the surveyor holds their licensure. The surveyor employs all resources necessary to provide the most accurate boundary determination possible within the normal standards of care and the appropriate survey laws. These include but are not limited to record research, field observations, evidence found, and calculations based on both record data and field observation. This allows them to formulate their best professional opinion and present that opinion on a plat and/or descriptions of the surveyed property.

  • NV5 CEO, Dickerson Wright, has committed to CREW Network’s CRE Pledge for Action. The pledge seeks to advance women and DEI in the field of commercial real estate. For more information on the pledge, visit https://crewnetwork.org/cre-pledge-for-action.
  • NV5/Bock & Clark has renewed its Silver-level sponsorship of ACREL, the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, for 2022. We are proud to support the successes of its distinguished members.
  • We wish everyone a very happy holiday season. To allow our team time to spend with their families, our offices will be closed on the following dates: December 24, 27, and 31.