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November 2013

Control Corners: When and Where or if EVER

It seems that the most hand written add-ons to plats before recording is that critical statement: “Control Corner”. I reviewed one County’s checklist that gave an example of a granite monument as a control corner but stated that the quality of the corner was not the responsibility of the one completing the checklist. I have not seem a checklist for a plat of an existing parcel or other plats that do not meet the subdivision requirements; but then again those plats were not intended to be subjected to a checklist before recording. The gap between establishing a control corner and labeling a point “Control Corner” has grown to the point of ridicules. I recently saw a recorded plat with the control corners labeled on two irons that were connected to the surveyed property by dashed lines with no bearing or distance relationship. I guess the real question is what purpose does labeling one corner control, on any survey, fulfill; given that relativity to all evidence typically controls. I don’t intend to move lot corners, in established subdivisions, when my measurements don’t match the recorded plat distance from a designated control corner. My reading of the General Status leads me to believe the intent was to add permanency in land development that includes new streets, not control. I am including a copy of the General Status concerning control corners for your ease of reading. Is it time to revisit this issue and unburden surveyors of the responsibility of labeling corners “Control” just to get a plat recorded? I was quite surprised to learn that this requirement began in 1947.

Article 5A.

Control Corners in Real Estate Developments.

§ 39-32.1. Requirement of permanent markers as "control corners."

Whenever any person, firm or corporation shall hereafter divide any parcel of real estate into lots and lay off streets through such real estate development and sell or offer for sale any lot or lots in such real estate development, it shall be the duty of such person, firm or corporation to cause one or more corners of such development to be designated as "control corner" and shall cause two or more street center lines or offset lines within or on the street right-of-way lines to be permanently monumented at intersecting center lines or offset lines, points of curvature or such other control points, which monuments shall also be designated as control corners and to affix or place at such control corner or corners permanent markers which shall be of such material and affixed to the earth in such a manner as to insure as great a degree of permanence as is reasonably practical. (1947, c. 816, s. 1; 1959, c. 1159.)

§ 39-32.2. Control corners fixed at time of recording plat or prior to sale.

Such control corner or corners, as described in G.S. 39-32.1, and such permanent marker or markers, as described in G.S. 39-32.1, must be designated and affixed at the time of recording the plat of said land or prior to the first sale of any lot or lots constituting a part of the real estate development which said person, firm or corporation has caused to be laid off in lots with designated streets. (1947, c. 816, s. 2.)

§ 39-32.3. Recordation of plat showing control corners.

Upon designating a control corner and affixing a permanent marker, said person, firm or corporation shall cause to be filed in the office of the register of deeds of the county in which the real estate development is located a map or plat showing the location of the control corner or corners and permanent marker or markers with adequate and sufficient description to enable a surveyor to locate such control corner or marker. No map or plat of a real estate subdivision or development made after July 1, 1947, shall be certified for recording pursuant to G.S 47-30.2 unless the location of control corners is shown thereon. (1947, c. 816, s. 3; 1997-309, s. 1.)

§ 39-32.4.  Description of land by reference to control corner; use of control corner to fix distances and boundaries prima facie evidence of correct method.

Any lot or lots sold or otherwise transferred at the time of or subsequent to the establishment of a control corner may be described in any conveyance so as to include a reference to the location of said lot or lots which are being conveyed with respect to the control corner. Thereafter the use of the control corner in ascertaining distances so as to establish boundary lines of lots within or originally within such real estate development may be admissible as evidence in any court and shall be prima facie evidence of the correct method of determining the boundaries of any lot or lots within any such real estate development. (1947, c. 816, s. 4.)

June 2013


The Short Sell



There currently is a lot of talk about short sells in the real estate world. Of course the general definition is simply that a mortgage holder will accept less than the loan value to recoup as much as possible before foreclosure. Serving as State Coordinator for Trig Star, the last several years, the number one reason I hear for surveyors not participating in Trig Star is that the smarter students are the only ones that sit for the exam. It angers me when I hear surveyors say that the smarter students don’t have an interest in surveying. Does that not imply that the less than smart, possibly dumb kids look to surveying? I maybe an outlier but most every Professional Surveyor I have been associated with could have been anything they chose, but they chose surveying. Pardon me for opening my autobiography but I chose to sit for the fundamentals of engineering and the Professional Engineers exam eighteen years out of Fayetteville Technical Institute. This surveyor was successful on both counts. This morning I spent a few hours recovering lot corners in an old subdivision because I chose surveying, not that I am less smart but surveying is my passion. Why sell our profession short, see the real value in what is required to perform and sign and seal a survey that meets the standards. I challenge you to visit the website beasurveyor.com and tell me someone less than smart was able to compile such a complex offering for surveyors. Get real friends, if you see yourself as less than smart please be careful not to stereotype everyone in your group. I recall a few years back the craze was that surveyors did not look professional to the world around us. I even remember seeing an article, on surveyor safety, which suggested using a secure tie clasp while using a chainsaw if you were wearing a necktie. Get that image, a surveyor using a chainsaw to clear line getting their tie caught in the chain. My fellow Professionals I am no ways as concerned about how others see us as how we see ourselves. Do we need smart math students to replace surveyors; yes we do, because too many of our smart math students are aging out of the surveying profession. As a Society we need Trig Star, we need smart students to carry the torch but it will never happen as long as we sell ourselves short and convince ourselves that we can be replaced by the less than smart.    

January 2013


Hey man is that a six or an eight?



Anyone who does not work in a County that does not have on-line records can’t fully appreciate the value in records research at your desk. Along with the metal detector and electronic distances measuring devises (I am still not sure which I would give up if required) comes on-line records research. Don’t leave out CADD; I know I would quite if I have to go back to hand lettering or dust off the Leroy Set. The ability to research and print documents onsite is truly a technological advancement that is of untold value to surveyors. My concern and the reason for this writing is the much too often problem of legibility. G. S. 47-30 Section (b) states “The recorded plat must be such that the public may obtain legible copies.” This section allows Register of Deeds to return the original plat to the person indicated on the plat as long as a legible security copy is maintained. We also have Standards of Practice for Land Surveying in North Carolina Section .1602 Subsection (f) that requires the results of a survey be reported in a clear and factual manner. During most every survey I run into a scanned document that I can’t read. The joy of seeing a note, in the description, that the survey is attached scours quickly when you discover that you can’t read a thing on it. Scanned Documents less than a year old that require a trip to the Register of Deeds to obtain a copy of the original should not have been placed online. I am fortunate to work in Counties that retain the original; I understand that some do not. I was visiting another State’s website and learned that they are in the process of requiring legibility at a scanned resolution of 200 d.p.i. I would guess that Counties use different procedures to secure scans for online documents and most probably include some type of quality checks before placing online; however, I think way too many are getting passed through. As surveyors we must produce plats that are legible, after scanning, by using proper lines weights and fonts sizes. I assure you that I will continue going to the Register of Deeds when need be and complain very little, but I know we can do better.   

April 2013


All a buzz in April

I can’t believe I’m sitting here typing our April blog! Time flies! And since it’s April- you know what that means, the North Carolina Society of Surveyors Education foundation’s scholarship committee is happy, happy, happy. I love watching this process unfold, things like, reading over the applicants essays on why they are choosing to be surveyors. There is just something completely inspirational about understanding this board’s history and seeing all the contributions from those by who have graciously severed on this board before me. It just reminds me of exactly what can be accomplished when people join forces and work together. Which lends me to ask, have you ever wondered how you can get involved- It’s so simple-just contact us! In fact if you’re reading this then just hit the button above that says “Contact us”! There are so many opportunities before us that we truly have something for everyone. Also take a minute to check out www.BeaSurveyor.com always new stuff to see there, and our next meeting is coming up in May and I’m really looking forward to it. Also I never want to miss an opportunity to send out a huge “THANK YOU” to everyone who stopped by and saw us at the North Carolina Society of Surveyors Convention, and to all those who have generously supported our cause. Hope your April is Grand!! Catch you next month! 

December 2012

So you want to be a Surveyor….a perspective


I heartily applaud your consideration of being a surveyor. There are so many different choices now you can certainly find something to hold your interest and enthusiasm over a lengthy career. Looking back, surveying has been very good to me and a dream profession for me too. When I started out with that first day on the job, never did I foresee the path I would wander through my years of experiences while providing for a living for my family. OK, so sometimes the dream wasn’t always apparent while I worked a few mundane, boring projects maybe with someone I didn’t really hit it off with. But more of the good stuff! I got to work outside in some very interesting places, doing something different most days. Although the task might be the same, each project had its variances, a different location, different weather conditions, a different approach to the task, etc. Each day somehow involved a different consideration to efficiently complete the assigned project. And think about the people you work with day to day, the people you encounter along the way while completing the project……OMG what a cast of characters.

So at some point you may ask yourself “Do I really want to do this (work as an outside crew person) until I am old and gray?” For many people the answer is yes and I totally understand and respect that choice. Working outside is phenomenal, so many “inside” surveyors look forward to the opportunity to spend a day or many more back in the field. For me however, although I do look forward to my outside days, I felt a strong tug to be inside the office, marketing services, meeting clients, planning projects, working with other professionals and agency representatives. This has led into a whole new perspective, the business side of surveying and I found a whole new aspect of surveying that fuels my fire each morning to get up and at it again.

As I have been working “inside” I have felt another urge, to be involved with our surveying community. This has been a large satisfaction to be involved with teaching classes to new applicants, playing a role in the creation of a new higher education surveying degree and supporting the local and state surveying society including involvement with several committees.

Being involved is absolutely not for everyone and I could certainly be more involved. We each need to look inside of ourselves and answer our calling, whatever it may be. Surveying has been a great enabler for me, to enrich other people and the environment, to support my extended family and to nourish my interest in a solid profession. I hope for your answer to “So you want to be a Surveyor”, you state emphatically YES!

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