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Time for Board to enforce California Law 8762?

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elzeballa
(@elzeballa)
10+ posts Member

I am a young surveyor, so I know this is a conversation that has gone on for a long time before me - but the California code section 8762, in regards to when a Record of Survey Map is required, is quite a frustrating code section for me on a lot of accounts.

Many surveyors I know, even respected ones, don't file Record of Survey maps when they are required to.  Some out of laziness, for sure.  Some out of project oversight.  Some because they want to save the client money.  I'm not advocating for trying to get out of filing a record of survey, but it seems to me either the law needs to change, or the enforcement needs to change.

I don't see the law changing, to be sure, but what about the enforcement?  I'm not much into government oversight over private matters, but if we are going to have the law, it has to be enforced.  To me, you either have the wild wild west of unrecorded maps with no filing law, or you keep the law and have it be a hefty fine for when you're caught breaking it.  Especially on the more obvious/clear ones like no record of survey filed for a Deeded lot.  Why not have hefty fines so that everyone is playing by the same rules?

But as a young surveyor I find myself in a difficult spot to navigate through CA law.  Deeded lot - ok, Record of Survey.  Mapped lot - no record of survey unless I find a material discrepancy.  I can't know if their is a material discrepancy unless I survey it; and if I survey it and find it, they say I have to file a map.  So now I'm telling my clients it could be a simple, affordable survey OR it could be a 5,000 survey recorded with the County.  That is quite a potential cost.  I honestly just don't see how we are serving the public or our businesses unless something changes.

Why can't there be something that makes more sense for all parties - something where there is some skin in the game for the surveyor.  If the surveyor does the work and finds the discrepancy, then he notifies the client of the cost - if the client doesn't want to pay for it, then the surveyor can't provide his work and get paid.  This way, at least the Client knows "this will be a Record of Survey" for sure, and alleviates the surveyor from filing a map if the client doesn't want to do it.  Not sure if this makes sense.

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Topic starter Posted : February 17, 2022 5:38 pm
T Ford
(@t-ford)
50+ posts Member

Has the California Board investigated any surveyor for not complying with this Law?  

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Posted : February 17, 2022 6:25 pm
Jim Frame
(@jim-frame)
5,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @t-ford

Has the California Board investigated any surveyor for not complying with this Law?  

Many times.  And it has levied substantial sanctions (fines and/or limitation on or loss of license) many times.  Unfortunately, there are more violators than there are Board funds to enforce.

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Posted : February 17, 2022 6:35 pm
Jp7191 liked

aliquot
(@aliquot)
1,000+ posts Member

One problem in California is the ridiculously high fees for ROS. Requiring recorded surveys is common sense. It's good for the proffesion and good for the public, but states with only a nominal recording fee ($20) to cover recording costs have it right. That way the extra work and cost when a material discrepancy are found is negligible, removing the incentives to either ignore or avoid rhe requirment. 

This post was modified 6 months ago by aliquot
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Posted : February 17, 2022 7:30 pm
Jp7191, BStrand, Ric Moore and 3 people liked
Edward Reading
(@edward-reading)
500+ posts Member

Hey, the Board can't enforce unless someone files a complaint. I've found the Board is very responsive to complaints that are filed. Go here, it's super easy and takes five minutes.

This post was modified 6 months ago 2 times by Edward Reading
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Posted : February 17, 2022 7:53 pm
Ric Moore liked
elzeballa
(@elzeballa)
10+ posts Member

@jim-frame Do you think Cities and Counties should be involved in requiring ROS when, say, improvement plans are submitted with boundary lines on a deeded lot, for example? To me, that seems like the only way solve the problem-as much as I don’t like even more requirements coming from public entities.

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Topic starter Posted : February 17, 2022 8:26 pm

Jim Frame
(@jim-frame)
5,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @elzeballa

Do you think Cities and Counties should be involved in requiring ROS when, say, improvement plans are submitted with boundary lines on a deeded lot, for example?

In an ideal world, sure.  But local agencies, especially the small ones, don't have staff with enough expertise and budget to enforce state law.  I've been battling my home town DPW for years trying to get them to pay attention §8771 (monument preservation) *before* construction starts, with very spotty results.  Even when they make an attempt at identifying monuments imperiled by an upcoming project, most of the time the assigned staffer doesn't have enough (or any!) surveying experience to know where to look, so monuments get knocked out and the surveying community only finds out about it when they go looking for a monument they need only to find a spiffy new handicap ramp where that old nail and tag used to be.

Expecting local agency staff to identify §8762 issues is a bridge too far except in the largest jurisdictions, if you ask me.

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Posted : February 17, 2022 8:59 pm
Jp7191 liked
Edward Reading
(@edward-reading)
500+ posts Member
Posted by: @elzeballa

@jim-frame Do you think Cities and Counties should be involved in requiring ROS when, say, improvement plans are submitted with boundary lines on a deeded lot, for example? To me, that seems like the only way solve the problem-as much as I don’t like even more requirements coming from public entities.

Ok, so this wasn't addressed to me but as a County Surveyor, yes the should be. Hold their feet to the fire. That's the only way to affect change.

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Posted : February 17, 2022 9:18 pm
elzeballa liked
Jim Frame
(@jim-frame)
5,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @edward-reading

Hold their feet to the fire. That's the only way to affect change.

I don't disagree, but it means that private practitioners become the enforcement mechanism (the holders-of-feet-to-fire).  We have to get along with the staffers whose behavior we're trying to change, and that can get tricky if you get a rep as a pain in the rear.  I'm not optimistic that this can be a successful model.

I think I'm probably persona non grata with my County Recorder after siccing the County Counsel on him.  I sure don't want to burn my bridges with the local DPW, with which I have professional services agreement.

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Posted : February 17, 2022 10:01 pm

elzeballa
(@elzeballa)
10+ posts Member

@jim-frame Yes I mean I agree that private practitioners can only try to persuade - not enforce.  It seems to me the board isn't or can't (with their manpower) enforce the law.  If it does, the fees aren't high enough to dissuade surveyors from not preparing ROS maps when they should.  That leaves Cities and Counties to try to require the maps at, for example, the permitting phase.  

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Topic starter Posted : February 17, 2022 10:33 pm
Dave Karoly
(@dave-karoly)
10,000+ posts Member

The punitive enforcement model which the U.S. is addicted to doesn’t work well in anything. It’s impossible to hand out enough speeding tickets when the road is designed for high speed.

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Posted : February 18, 2022 7:32 am
Murphy, dmyhill, Jitterboogie and 1 people liked
K Huerth
(@k-huerth)
50+ posts Member

@elzeballa My local CLSA Chapter has a Professional Practices Committee and last year they got a surveyor to file a few RS's where he should of originally. The PPC is a great way to nudge the offending surveyor to do the right thing, while not elevating it to a Board complaint, local policing if you will. Our Chapter lets people/surveyors anonymously file complaints with them, so there are no hard feelings between colleagues. Get active in your local CLSA Chapter and if they don't have a PPC get one started.

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Posted : February 18, 2022 7:36 am

Kevin Hines
(@kevin-hines)
500+ posts Member

Did I read this thread right?  Local municipalities are charging $5,000 to record a survey?  Are the recording fees established by legislation or subject to the municipality to set the fee? 

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Posted : February 18, 2022 7:42 am
Jim Frame liked
Peter Ehlert
(@peter-ehlert)
1,000+ posts Member
Posted by: @jim-frame
Posted by: @edward-reading

Hold their feet to the fire. That's the only way to affect change.

I don't disagree, but it means that private practitioners become the enforcement mechanism (the holders-of-feet-to-fire).  We have to get along with the staffers whose behavior we're trying to change, and that can get tricky if you get a rep as a pain in the rear.  I'm not optimistic that this can be a successful model.

I think I'm probably persona non grata with my County Recorder after siccing the County Counsel on him.  I sure don't want to burn my bridges with the local DPW, with which I have professional services agreement.

I agree Jim. It's a dance.

It takes a lot of time to gather Facts.
Time is Money.
If we want Enforcement we need to spend that time and money... the Board will not.

We Surveyors gather facts, express out personal Opinions, and then present them for use by others.

The primary focus of the Board of Registration is not Enforcement.
If they have all of the necessary data presented to them Perhaps they will proceeded.
WE need to gather that data for them, and push them to take the next step.

Remember, we are Licensed to protect the Public.
We need to consider (and describe) the actual harm when we gather that case data.

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Posted : February 18, 2022 8:06 am
elzeballa
(@elzeballa)
10+ posts Member

@kevin-hines I should have been more clear, sorry about that.  I'm sort of trying to encompass a rough estimate of a Record of Survey, in total.  For context, Sacramento County charges a $121 recording fee, $500 initial deposit for review fees, and they bill at a T & M rate for review time that goes over the deposit.  Depending on the complexity of the survey, the range could be $500-$1,500 worst case.  And that doesn't include our time in the field or preparing the map, AND also addressing comments through the review phase. 

So, to a private lay person, someone who thinks their property lines are in a computer somewhere, the range of prices depending on what we find in the field is so much.  The way the law is written or the way it is enforced gives way a.) more surveyors willing to skirt the law, or b.) ethical surveyors to lose money or potential jobs.  

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Topic starter Posted : February 18, 2022 8:27 am

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