Wisdom Wednesdays for the land surveying profession is a bi-weekly roundtable discussion to go over a chapter at a time from our “Surveying Bibles.” The goal is for everyone to read a chapter of a book and then have a roundtable discussion about that chapter. The current book being discussed is Writing Legal Descriptions by Gurdon H. Wattles.

Meeting Summary: AI-Generated:

Team’s Conference Experiences and Venue Comparison
The team, led by Trent Williams, Tom, David, Trent Keenan, Jon, and Connie, engaged in a casual discussion about their recent conference experiences and travel plans. The team compared their experiences at different conferences, with Trent and David sharing their thoughts on the upcoming event in Vegas. David expressed the need to rethink his travel plan for the next conference, considering flying instead of driving. Trent Keenan discussed the team’s move from the Luxor Hotel to the Horseshoe venue for their conference, explaining that the change was made to accommodate more attendees and that they signed a two-year deal with the Horseshoe. The team also compared the two venues, with Trent highlighting that the Horseshoe provided better space and air quality.
Surveys, Apportionment, and Mock Trial Discussion
Trent Williams shared two surveys, including one commissioned by a city after a robbery and another based on Barrens. The team also discussed the theory of Apportionment and the use of proportion, noting the absence of James who usually provides insights on such matters. A mock trial organized by Gary Kent was mentioned, with Trent expressing interest in Jon’s input as he had attended the trial, although no specific details were given. The team agreed on the need for further in-depth discussions on these topics.
Subdivision Discrepancies and Mock Trials
Jon discussed the discrepancies in the descriptions and layout of a subdivision, particularly noting the differences in how the houses were constructed relative to the original monuments. Trent Keenan suggested attending mock trials, highlighting the value of differing perspectives in discussions. Jon shared his experience as a surveyor, noting the importance of due diligence, while Trent Williams agreed, emphasizing the importance of civilized discussion. The conversation ended with a discussion about the apportionment theory.
Land Subdivision Challenges and Perimeter Descriptions
Trent Williams led a discussion on the challenges of land subdivision, specifically focusing on the proportioning of irregularly shaped lots and the difficulty in writing accurate perimeter descriptions. The team recognized the need for detailed descriptions of each corner of the lot, especially for those with odd shapes or remnants. Trent also discussed the challenges with retracing surveys, the importance of justifying the use of alternative theories, and the need for clear communication of facts. The team agreed on the significance of interpreting descriptions and making them usable, with Trent suggesting the use of the majority probability method for data analysis.
Remnant Theory and Outlots in Subdivisions
Trent Williams and Jerry discussed the remnant theory and its application in contemporary subdivisions. Jerry explained that remnant theory, which was once widely accepted, is now rarely used as subdivisions are typically laid out in a grid pattern. The conversation also touched on the concept of ‘outlots’, which are subdivisions of land that do not meet development or zoning requirements. Trent highlighted the unique case of outlots and the potential value they hold despite their irregular shapes and deficiencies. Jerry contrasted outlots with regular parcels of land, emphasizing that outlots could still be useful for unconventional purposes.
Case Law and Research in Boundaries and Property Laws
The team discussed the importance of case law and research in their work, particularly regarding boundaries and property laws. Jerry mentioned a publication from WSLS that summarizes major court cases pertaining to Wisconsin, and Trent Keenan referred to a similar document for Washington State. There was a discussion about the challenges and costs associated with such research, with Trent Williams suggesting that the accuracy of their work depends on gathering all available evidence. The team also highlighted the value of comparing different sources, such as Brown’s Waddles, Skelton, and Lucas’s work, to arrive at their conclusions.
Interpreting ‘One Half’ in Property Division
Trent Williams led a detailed discussion on the concept of dividing property, specifically focusing on the interpretation of ‘one half’ in different contexts. He explained two methods for determining ‘one half’ and clarified that the interpretation can vary depending on the context. The team also discussed court decisions related to land division in Wisconsin and the complexities of land descriptions, emphasizing the need for clear and precise language. The group agreed on the importance of considering all facets of meaning before rendering a description.
Trent Williams’ Concerns in Surveying and Interpretation
Trent Williams expressed his concerns about dealing with rare cases in surveying, particularly ‘not a part’ areas in subdivisions. He emphasized the importance of qualitative analysis in resolving issues found in land descriptions and the role of maps in the interpretation process. Trent also discussed the principles of interpreting descriptions and the significance of checking all references before using them. The team agreed on the relevance of the discussed chapter to their work and expressed enthusiasm for Jeffrey Lucas to read the last part of it.
Chapter 8 Discussion and Legal Descriptions Review
Trent Williams delayed the discussion on Chapter 8 due to time constraints. Jerry brought up the frequency of the wisdom, wednesdays notification, which resulted in Trent Keenan admitting he had missed an update and promising to correct it. The team, led by Summer, discussed their processes for checking and approving legal descriptions, with Trent Keenan and Trent Williams sharing their respective methods. The conversation also touched upon the importance of mentoring, the use of legal terminology, and the role of constructive feedback in improving the process.
Discussing Legal Terms and Accuracy Standards
The team discussed the meaning and usage of the words ‘thence’ and ‘further/farther’ in legal descriptions. They also discussed the lack of standard horizontal and vertical tolerances in California and New York, with a focus on the need for clearer accuracy standards. Connie shared her proposal to first define accuracy standards and then examine how to implement them more specifically. Trent and Jeremiah discussed the accuracy standards in Utah and Nevada. The team agreed on the need for clearer and more specific accuracy standards across the United States.
State Plan Grid and Basis of Bearing
Jarrod introduced the concept of ‘basis of bearing’ in relation to a state plan grid. Trent Williams and Jerry clarified how to check the basis of bearing using a witness corner and a calculated point. They further discussed the replication of the state plan grid on the ground using net 83 state plane Vrs. The team encountered difficulties with a calculated intersection, with Trent Williams expressing concerns about the lack of clear information and potential cost implications. Jerry suggested technology might have been a factor, leading to a light-hearted discussion about the future of survey litigation. The conversation ended with an agreement to maintain meticulous checking and triple-checking for accuracy.


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