Twenty years ago this past February, perhaps President Clinton’s third most cryptic saying following only: “It depends on what the meaning of the word is … is” and “I didn’t inhale” became military policy.
Specifically, Clinton enacted the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Though scoffed at by many on the left and hated both then and still now by many on the right, this narrow wedge no doubt has had a significant impact for the advancement of the LGBT community.
Regardless of your view of that law – although linguistically reversed – a similar construct offers a very apt approach for surveyors and the residential real property owners who hire them to adopt in order to prevent a boundary dispute from erupting between adjoining neighbors.
WAC 332-120-030 forbids Washington State surveyors from pulling a survey monument without first obtaining a permit.
Surveyors place a high degree of pride in their accuracy and precision. Yet, far unlike attorneys for which the general public, despite its general opprobrium, considers best of breed to be those bulldogs which salivate at the mere thought of litigation, most surveyors do not enjoy conflict.
These and several other factors converge to create what Alabama surveyor and attorney Jeff Lucas has carefully documented in his treatise titled: The Pincushion Effect: Multiple monument Dilemma in American Land Surveying found at the bottom of this linked page.
[Hat tip to Dietz Surveying Inc. in Maryland for this pictorial illustration purloined from their site.]
So here’s the question: If professional surveyors – these are guys and gals who have had a mix of education and experience exceeding 8 years before they can sit for their licenses – don’t have the right to pull survey markers, WHY THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE THAT RIGHT?
Answer: YOU DON’T HAVE A VALID REASON!
What’s more if you this, you’ve committed a gross misdemeanor per RCW 58.04.015.
Very much akin to what this summer’s raunchy comedy Neighbors star Seth Rogen had to say about the futility of arresting him for smoking the wacky tobaccy on a California beach – found here at at Harris Moure Canna Law Blog; police are not going to be asking prosecutors to in turn go to judges for search warrants so they can kick down the back door to your garage with the hopes of finding a wayward rebar stake with a telltale plastic “Surv-Cap” upon it. No, Non, Nyet!
Even so, don’t pull it!
All that does is start a silent game of tit-for-tat which is going to fast track you to a situation in which you too ask: “Is Adverse Possession Litigation worth “The Horror! … The Horror!” If you are on the precipice of war with your neighbor, I urge you to first read that post.
Likewise, let’s look at the first part: “Don’t Set” it … or allow your surveyor to when it is beyond an apparent boundary. What’s an Apparent Boundary?’ Certainly a fence is an apparent boundary, but so too would be a hedge, or the edge of a lawn or garden. While your surveyor knows what’s what, you too have common sense to have a pretty good sense of this too.
So, if your surveyor calculates a portion – even if merely inches – beyond an apparent boundary, your best approach is to ask him or her to hold off on driving that survey monument into the ground until after you have had a conversation with your neighbor hopefully after you have had a chance to get a good chance to understand the operation of adverse possession.
Here the law comes back into play. RCW 58.09.040(1) requires “within ninety days after the establishment, reestablishment, or restoration of a corner on the boundary of two or more ownerships … a land surveyor shall file with the county auditor in the county … a record of … survey.”
Though you may not have realized it, but that action will very well serve to spark Armageddon between you and your neighbor! If you have read this post beforehand. Cheers to you!