Resolving Land Disputes Between You And Your Neighbor: How Land Surveys Help

If you read the classified advertisements in the newspaper, you know that it remains the number one spot for cities to post new construction announcements and public hearing announcements. Often, most neighbors are unaware that someone next door to them is about to construct an addition, a new garage or install a fence until these public notices are posted. The purpose for the notices gives neighbors the time and the right to attend a public hearing that grants the property owner the permit to build. At the hearing, the neighbors may contest the new construction, thereby putting it on hold until issues can be resolved. This is where land surveys and surveyors come in to resolve the conflicts between neighboring properties and neighbors.

What the Surveyors Do to Resolve Problems

Surveyors are appointed by the city to solve land disputes between neighbors, but usually you and your neighbor will share the cost of the surveyors' services. The surveyors will come out and examine where your neighbor wants to complete new construction, take measurements to ascertain if the fence or new addition will fit and if the request by the property owner fits within city guidelines for appropriate construction. If you are following all of the city's rules and regulations and are not crossing property lines with your neighbors, then typically your permit is granted. If not, your neighbors' contestation may hold in the city records until you adjust your project or fix your expectations of your project to fit with city guidelines. 

The surveyors may also mark off your property lines with colored spray paint so that your neighbors can see that you project will not interfere with their property and your contractors know where the boundaries are. Additionally, gas lines, buried electrical lines, and underground cable and phone lines can be marked off to prevent damage if you plan to excavate. Some of these the city surveyors can do, but the rest may involve technicians from various utility companies as well. 

Revisiting Your Requested Permit and Neighborhood Hearing

Once the surveyors have performed their job, they will file a report with the city. You can reapply for a new construction permit after the surveyors have filed their report. The city then posts a new classified ad for your construction permit and gives the neighbors a chance to hear the surveyors' findings. If your neighbors have no further issues, the city grants your construction permit and you are free to build your desired structure.