From the Editor: Pin Cushion Corners

I recently saw a social media post showing an image of an emerging pin cushion. It’s a “two of a kind working on a full house” scenario. So barely a pin cushion on the old Jeff-Luc-ometer. Of course, everyone has their own opinion based on a single photograph as to which pin is better. The debate and camaraderie were thought-provoking, so I broke editorial code and chipped in my two cents. The underlying question is what binds us to calling any particular object evidence? I like to think I rely on evidence that will lead to facts supporting the original grant. Thus, I need an authoritative basis for accepting evidence. All of you old dogs know this. I’m willing to assume that you understand because you were mentored. Our profession is working if our folks can say they earned this wisdom through mentoring rather than hard knocks. The mentoring process is designed to pass second-hand knowledge so that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel or take any lumps to the forehead. The artful craft of sorting evidence is learned through experience. Retracing and substantiating the authoritative grant should keep us from stabbing that pincushion like a worn-out voodoo doll and lead us to the real egg in the basket. There may be a path to cleaning up the other fiddle sticks but we’re gonna have put on the mommy/daddy pants and be willing to communicate with the owners and lawn archers. Can we measure, document and remove foul markers under the authority a boundary agreement? If you think so, then would you be willing to yank your foul corners under the terms of a boundary agreement? Sounds counterintuitive to remove marks but the end result is a single point of notice under a documented agreement. I’d need to see some really strong “before, during, and after” documentation of this rigid and abrupt event. There could very well be some conveyancing involved too. At some point we have to fess up to the cause and relieve our profession of this nuisance. How about implementing a standard of care that requires any newly set monument to be accompanied by a certified mailing of notice to all impacted parties? If you fear it will jack up the price of your survey, then use what’s already there and save your client a few bucks. If you fear that you’ll lose billable time from not replacing corners, then you’re probably not charging enough in the first place. I have come to believe that the reason we see these shenanigans is two-fold. Number one we’re not digging around enough and number two the offensive surveyor is not required to face the folks we’re impacting. There’s no such thing as a secret survey so why don’t we feel the need to engage the common owners when the lawn darts start piling up? I boil it down to this. Laying out a new subdivision is a mechanical exercise done under a single authority. Johnny Ironpusher can play all the games he wants out in the barren plains of a brand-new subdivision. The developer hired his outfit by the hour to mark it as they see it. Heck, the courts even give them a free pass if they mess up on that first shot. On the other hand, the courts have set a higher bar for the retracement surveyor. This function constructs authoritative evidence of multiple grants independently marked in time. So, back to my questions. Can we offer a legally sound process to pull the lawn darts? Do you possess the professional skills to engage the people you are impacting?

About the Author

Jason Foose

Jason Foose is a Professional Surveyor licensed in multiple jurisdictions.