H. B. 4656

(By Delegate Boggs, By Request)
[Introduced February 27, 1998; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact section eighteen, article thirteen-a, chapter thirty of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to mandatory notification to adjacent landowners of land survey.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section eighteen, article thirteen-a, chapter thirty of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:

§30-13A-18. Minimum standards for boundary surveys; mandatory notification procedures to adjacent landowners; constructive notice for absentee adjacent landowners.
The purpose of these standards is to establish minimum technical criteria to govern the performance of surveyors when more stringent specifications are not required by other agencies, contract, etc. Further, the purpose is to protect the inhabitants of this state from dishonest or incompetent surveying, and generally to protect the public welfare.
(a) The client discussion prior to the survey should cover the purpose of survey, scope of services, disputes with adjoiners fees and contract.
(b) The record search should include the record description based on current and prior deeds, conveyance from common grantor, or if necessary original survey or grant. It should also include descriptions of adjoining properties, other sources of information or resolution of conflicts in descriptions. All records of information sources used will be retained as a permanent record.
(c) Prior to performing a field survey, all adjacent landowners to the property in question shall be notified that the survey is to occur. Adjacent landowners who are occupying their property, or who are residents of the county in which the land to be surveyed is located shall be notified in person or by certified mail. For adjacent landowners who reside outside the county, or who are not readily ascertainable, constructive notification shall be given by placing a Class II legal advertisement in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the land to be surveyed is located. The advertisement shall run for two consecutive weeks.
(c) (d) The field survey will consist of a field search for controlling evidence, a discussion of evidence with the owner, adjoiners or others having knowledge of the boundaries and the location of evidence by traverse methods. In the case of occupying adjoining landowners, this discussion may take place at the same time as the notification of the survey, as required in subsection (c) above. The surveyor will use methods and equipment suitable for the purpose of the survey and the field notes will be retained as a permanent record.
(d) (e) Distance will be measured in feet or meters, or fractions thereof, and angles will be measured in degrees or parts thereof. These will be measured to a precision that will produce the desired level of accuracy. Areas will be measured to a precision consistent with the purpose of the survey. All measuring devices will be checked periodically for accuracy and condition.
(e) (f) Monumentation is required for all new or reestablished corners, or reference monument for inaccessible corners, and is encouraged at intervisible points between corners. Artificial or set monuments will be made of durable ferrous material and set firmly in the ground. Pipes will have a minimum inside diameter of one inch, while rebars will have a minimum outside diameter of one-half inch and both will have a minimum length of thirty inches. Other markers shall have a minimum cross-sectional area of three-tenths square inch and will be of durable material, identifiable and unique. Natural objects chosen for corners shall be durable, unique and easily identifiable.
(f) (g) A plat will be prepared for all boundary surveys, shall show the results of the field survey and will be delivered to the client. Plats will be to a scale large enough to show significant details. Information on plats will include when applicable north arrows and basis of bearings, date of survey, measured length and direction of each boundary line by distance, bearing and quadrant and evidence of possession on or near the property line.
The description of all corners or reference monuments, and whether found (fd) or set, area of the parcel and of significant parts, including streets, alleys and nonlotted area of subdivision, state, county and district or municipality will be shown on the plat. The subdivision name, lot, block and plat reference will also be shown on subdivision or lot surveys.
The tax map, parcel number, name of current and/or past owners for subject property and adjoiners, current conveyance reference for subject property and adjoiners will be shown. Name, address, license number, signature, seal of surveyor, overlaps and gaps in record lines, former deed or grant lines as needed, ties to significant objects and general location information will also be included.
(g) (h) A description will be prepared for each boundary survey and will include the state, county, district or municipality and watershed or topographic location. Lot and block numbers will be shown for new platted subdivisions, but retracement surveys for lots and other surveys will require a metes and bounds description. The description will also include the point of beginning, the description of monumentation at each corner and objects encountered along the line, the length and direction of each line, and the radius, chord bearing and distance of a curved boundary.
The description will also show the intent with regard to adjoiner, physical evidence or record monument along the line. The area of the parcel, reference to plat and surveyor preparing description and the reference to conveyance by which the current owner claims title, including grantor, grantee, date and place.
(h) (i) The report of survey will be used when the plat and description do not adequately address all matters considered by the surveyor in performing the survey and will be provided to the client with a plat and description.
The report will include all unusual circumstances surrounding the survey, weight given to conflicting evidence and encroachments, overlaps or gaps and how they were resolved, and the names of adjoiners contacted and the information they supplied.
(i) (j) A mortgage/loan inspection survey in which boundaries on a property have not been surveyed in accordance with the methods set forth by the board, then the plat must be stamped "a mortgage inspection survey only, not a boundary survey." The surveyor must notify a landowner or other person commissioning their services if a survey or an inspection was performed.

NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require that surveyors notify adjacent landowners before surveying a neighboring property.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.