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R.A. Smith National, Inc. Knowledge Blog

2016 Land Title Survey Standards

by John Casucci 1. October 2015 07:50

What you need to know about the new ALTA Survey standards.

The revised ALTA Survey specifications are scheduled to take effect February 2016.  The below commentary itemizes the significant changes to survey specifications, responsibilities and requirements.

1. The Survey will be known as an ALTA/NSPS LAND TITLE SURVEY. The title has been revised to reflect the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), which is the legal successor organization to the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). All references to ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys must be changed to ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys.

Revisions affecting Table A

2. Complete revision to Item 11 – depicting evidence of the location of utilities.

a. Table A, Item 11A – Observed evidence – has been eliminated and is now written into the specifications as Item 5E(ii)-5E(v). All ALTA/NSPS Land Title Surveys are required to depict surface indications of underground utilities, including ditches, manholes, vents, valves, pedestals, utility poles, etc. 

b. Table A, Item 11 has been revised to: utilities existing on or serving the surveyed property as determined by:

• Observed evidence
• Evidence from plans...
• Markings from utility locate

c. Additional narrative has been added, acknowledging that surveyors must rely on third party locating services (Diggers Hotline), which routinely ignores, or provides inadequate, utility marking. In these cases, the surveyor will note as such on the survey and the client is advised that excavation or a private utility locating request may be necessary.

3. Table A, Item 6 – Zoning classifications and setback requirements have been revised and rewritten to require a zoning letter or report be provided to the surveyor as a condition of depicting the information on the survey.

4. Table A, Item 8 – has been revised to include the depiction of substantial features and uses, including substantial areas of refuse.

5. Table A, Item 18 – Observed evidence of site use as a solid waste dump, sump or sanitary landfill has been eliminated.

6. Table A, Item 18 has been rewritten to identify the location of wetland delineation flags, if a delineation has been conducted. If a delineation has not been conducted, a note stating that no flags were observed shall be noted on the survey.

7. Table A, Item 19 has been changed to depict any plottable offsite easement or servitudes disclosed in record documents.

8. The requirement of setting monuments at the corners of the offsite easements or servitudes has been eliminated.

Revisions referenced in the Specifications

9. Per Section 5 (B)(ii) of the specifications: for abutting public or private roads, the width and location of each edge of the traveled way, including divided streets, must be depicted unless the recorded documents disclose there is no access to the road(s).

10. Per Section 5 (C)(ii) of the specifications: the location of trees, bushes, shrubs or other natural vegetation does not need to be located unless they are deemed by the surveyor to be evidence of possession.

11. Per Section 5 (G)(i) of the specifications: the location of springs, ponds, lakes, streams, ditches, swamps, etc. running through or outside, but within 5 feet of the boundary of the surveyed property, must be depicted. 

12. Per Section 6 (B)(x): the survey must note if there are any areas on the boundaries of the surveyed property where physical access within five feet was restricted.

The 2016 specifications continue the revisions of 2011, which state the survey shall bear only the specified certification and preparing a new legal description is to be avoided unless deemed appropriate by the surveyor and insurer.

Please note that the above is a partial list, and may not reflect the final version scheduled to become effective February 2016. Please contact John Casucci at john.casucci@rasmithnational.com with any questions or for an update on the status of the revised ALTA Survey specifications.

 

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Surveying

2015 Road Construction Safety Tips

by Benjie Hayek 12. June 2015 11:27

Another year has passed and this year’s construction season is
off to a busy start! The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
has published a brochure titled "Creating Safer Work Zones: Improving Operations on Both Sides of the Barrel." This brochure provides safety tips and useful information to navigate safely through road construction work zones. Print out a copy below to share with others.

Main topics covered:

  • Stay alert and minimize distractions
  • Keep your headlights on
  • Pay attention
  • Merge into the proper lane
  • Don’t tailgate
  • Obey posted speed limit signs
  • Change lanes safely
  • Follow instructions from flag persons
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Be patient!
  • 

2015 Road Construction Safety Tips.pdf (300.63 kb)

Construction Safety Tips

Courtesy Federal Highway Administration

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Construction Services

Delavan Lake Sanitary District Sees Value in Mobile Apps to View GIS Data

by Kyle Belott 26. April 2013 06:28

The Delavan Lake Sanitary District is employing a mobile application configured by R.A. Smith National to view GIS datasets and access digital documents in the field. Whether it’s information on their sanitary sewer pipes, manholes, or laterals, the mobile application is helping this sanitary district do their work better and faster. The mobile GIS viewer (ArcGIS App for iOS) is easily accessed in the field using iPads. While Delavan Lake is one of the first sanitary districts in Wisconsin to jump into the world of mobile, it won’t be long before others see the value.

 

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GIS

Seasonal Wetlands Provide Critical Habitat for Wildlife

by Heather Patti 24. April 2013 07:25

Scattered across the Upper Midwest are thousands of small seasonally wet areas that may only be saturated or hold water from late fall to late spring or early summer. Seasonal wetlands (also known as “vernal ponds”) result from winter snowmelt and spring rains, and typically occur in depressional areas in woods and open fields. By mid-summer, most seasonal wetlands have dried out or are just barely moist. Some are almost indiscernible across the landscape.

Although many of these seasonal wetlands may be less than an acre or even a half-acre in size, they provide an important food source for migratory birds, waterfowl, breeding and feeding areas for amphibians and reptiles, and critical winter food supplies for turkey, deer and other birds and mammals.

There are many different types of seasonal wetlands including seasonally flooded basins, farmed depressions, hardwood swamps, springs and seeps, and lake plain prairies. If you are lucky enough to own any of these seasonal wetlands, you will notice they are used by a wide variety of wildlife.  Seasonal wetlands are gaining recognition as important habitats because of their unique role in the landscape, their valuable wetland function, and the critical habitat they provide for wildlife.

If you have any questions about seasonal wetlands, wetland delineation or the current wetland permitting process, the ecologists at R.A. Smith National can provide the assistance you need.  Please contact Heather Patti at (262) 317-3361 or Tina Myers at (262) 317-3389.
   

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Ecology

WDNR Puts Online Permit System In Place

by Heather Patti 2. August 2012 04:54

The Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources is setting up a new online permit system for some state water-related permits. WDNR water officials state that the new system will reduce paperwork and deliver quicker and more consistent permit decisions, while protecting lakes, rivers and wetlands. 

The online permit system has several different parts that are being phased in over the next year, so check back often as the system will be updated periodically. For the first time, applicants can now find 72 of the nearly 100 water-related permit applications on the same web page.

And, applicants for three of the most popular permit types can now fill out their applications, pay fees and track the progress of their applications online! The three permit types which are now ready for online processing are:  individual permits for wetland and waterway projects, permit applications for wastewater pit trench de-watering, and permit applications for aquatic plant management on private ponds. Several more are soon to come! These include wetland and waterway general permits, storm water construction site and Confined Animal Waste Operation (CAFO) permits.  More details are available in DNR’s media release.

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Ecology

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