We are involved in various projects primarily in Nevada, Placer, Yuba and Sierra Counties. Over half of our work is property line and easement surveying; metes and bounds, Cadastral (PLSS) surveying, Records of Survey and other types of property delineation, but we also provide Comprehensive site plans for residential and commercial construction, GPS survey control, as well as topographic mapping and A-1 Certification letters (LAT/LONG/ELEV) for monitoring well and electronic installation locations. Other types of work we engage in include construction staking, resource delineation, permaculture site consultation and subdivision work.
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Corner searches involve sending survey technicians into the field to search for and flag existing corner markers. These markers may be pieces of iron pipe or rebar which were driven into the ground during a previous survey. The markers often have a tag or cap with the prior surveyor’s license number.
A corner search begins with a review of recorded map(s) showing previous surveys. The survey technicians search for the markers with a metal detector, using rough compass bearings and by pacing approximate distances. Found markers are compared to the monument legend of recorded maps and are then made easy to relocate with flagging and wooden lath stakes. Any line(s) marked during a corner search is an approximation.
Sometimes monuments have been removed since the original survey, or possibly not all corners were formally surveyed. Setting line points or corners with accuracy is beyond the scope of a corner search, as is verifying the accuracy of prior surveys. If you require these or other surveying services, please ask for an estimate.
Setting line points involves marking points along a property line, typically with lath stakes and flagging.
This service is useful to establish a fence line or to clarify a boundary when there is not a line of sight between existing boundary markers. The line points are set at a frequency to allow a line of site from point to point. Additional points may be set, for example, to indicate where a boundary runs in relation to a proposed building site.
The survey technicians will set line points when, upon review of recorded map(s), it can be assumed that boundary markers exist. If recorded boundary markers must be reset there will be an additional fee.
The estimate for setting line points is based upon the distance between existing boundary markers. The conditions of topography and vegetation are also considered. The actual fee will vary according to the time spent in the field.
Topographic maps provide existing elevation data as well as the location of prominent features including trees, rocks, existing improvements, or water features.
Topographic maps typically are of a convenient scale for construction planning purposes.
Maps provided in AutoCAD or other compatible formats.
Site plans typically are required for any type of construction, development or undevelopment activity. They are a representation of existing topographic and geographic features of a site, as well as showing buildings, trees, utilities or any other features that may impact planning decisions.
These maps will generally also indicate political restrictions such as property lines, setback easements, right-of-ways, floodplanes or protected areas. Nevada County requires a comprehensive site plan with all building permit applications. In addition to existing site features these maps will also show proposed design modifications to the site, including amount and extent of grading, location of pools, ponds or structures and foundation locations, elevations and type.
Easements are utilized for a variety of purposes, including access, utility, building setback and various conservation purposes.
Because easements generally do not require agency approval, they have become an inexpensive method of limiting or transferring a variety of rights short of fee title.
Easement preparation typically includes:
Fieldwork – if required to determine location and path of easement.
Preparation of a legal description (“exhibit A”).
Preparation of a sketch map (“exhibit B”).
A Record of Survey is a professional opinion of the true location of property boundaries based up an evaluation of field and record evidence.
Field work requires careful evaluation of existing monuments and lines of occupation and measuring between these points. Research requires attention to recorded maps, deeds and other pertinent documentation of both the subject and surrounding properties. Discrepancies in record or in monumentation are resolved or noted in the course of the survey.
The original survey is then filed with the local agency (City or County). State law requires a Licensed surveyor to file a Record of Survey, Parcel or Final Map whenever corners not previously shown on a recorded map are set. Records of Survey are generally the best determination of property boundaries at the date of the Survey.
Lot, or Boundary line adjustments, are the transferring of an area from one legal parcel to another, contiguous lot. This process does not create new parcels, but changes the configuration of existing properties.
These adjustments are regulated by the local governing agency (City or County), and usually take from 1 – 3 months to complete. State law limits lot line adjustments to four or fewer adjoining parcels under a common ownership, but multiple parcels with several owners may participate in a lot line adjustment with a single tentative map.
Zoning and other planning restrictions still apply to the approval of lot line adjustments, but they are frequently utilized by neighbors seeking to exchange land. The lot line adjustment may be accomplished with a deed transfer (sketch map and legal description) only, or may incoporate a record of survey to monument the newly established lot corners.
Land division in the State of California is regulated by the Subdivision Map Act. This allows the local agency the ability to collect fees and regulate the creation of new lots and to restrict their size and use.
Subdividing any property is a lengthy and often expensive process that requires good project management and coordination of several professionals. While each jurisdiction has different requirements, common issues addressed concern access and traffic circulation, fire safety, environmental and culturally sensitive areas and the availability of domestic water and sewage disposal. Typically a subdivider can expect to be responsible for providing fire standard roads to any newly created lot or parcel, and to ensure that there is an adequate building site with provisions for water and sewage and minimal or mitigated impacts to sensitive resources.There are often dead-end road restrictions and zoning issues that will affect the suitability of a property as well as such factors as slope, wetlands or the presence of protected native trees.
We have extensive experience in land divisions and will be happy to discuss your proposal.
Stephen has qualified as an expert witness in several California counties. Testimony is generally related to location of property lines, geographic features, historic occupation, or opinions regarding development feasibility.
California Survey Co. works with a variety of consultants to provide location and mapping services for natural and cultural resources. Biologists, geologists, soils engineers, archaeologists, and architects have used our services for vegetation mapping, site mapping, grading plans and wetland delineations.
Construction staking is the process of transferring a project design from concept to ground. Plans are created on paper or AutoCad format and identifiable points, (building corners, road centerlines and top of cut/ bottom of fill, location of piers etc.) are established and marked on the site. Frequently we will set offsets from the intended point so that the location can be re-established by the builders after grading. Unless requested otherwise, we use 2”X2” wooden hubs with the desired point marked in ink for construction projects. A 3’ wooden lath will be set next to each hub indicating, point number, elevation, point ID and cut/fill if appropriate. We are also familiar with “bank plugs,” and other staking methods. One of the contractors we work with has requested all his construction staking to be placed along the lot lines, and referenced perpendicular to the property line. This particular company builds large houses on small lots, where this technique works well. Standard accuracy for our construction staking is +/- 0.02’.
If a parcel is larger than 5 acres and not obscured by trees or ground cover, aerial photography can provide topographic and other site information more economically than conventional survey methods. In order to orient the information collected by overflight, points on the ground need to be located and positioned for horizontal and vertical control. These points are frequently large targets, visible from an airplane. Ground control requires target placement in locations surrounding the project, collecting X,Y,Z, coordinate information (usually with static or RTK GPS equipment) and providing the photogrammetrist with the site boundary information. We will also compile the final map using contours and/or imagery collected from the air.
The American Land Title Association has developed standards for issuing title policies that will provide broader coverage than the typical homeowner policy (Standard coverage). Requirements for the ALTA policy include a map and certification by a licensed surveyor showing any and all encroachments, the location of visible improvements including curbs, parking spaces and utilities. These surveys also show property line information but are not recorded.