Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/25/2001 03:30 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 227-LAND SURVEY STANDARDS                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MURKOWSKI announced that the  final order of business would                                                               
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 227,  "An Act  instructing the State  Board of                                                               
Registration  for Architects,  Engineers, and  Land Surveyors  to                                                               
adopt  minimum technical  standards relating  to the  practice of                                                               
surveying."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 2129                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  MANLY, Staff  to Representative  John Harris,  Alaska State                                                               
Representative, came  forth on  behalf of the  sponsor of  HB 227                                                               
and  stated that  Representative Harris  introduced this  bill at                                                               
the  request of  one  of his  constituents who  is  a realtor  in                                                               
Valdez.   He explained  that the  main intent of  the bill  is to                                                               
require the Board of Architects,  Engineers and Land Surveyors to                                                               
adopt minimum  standards for land  surveys.  Therefore,  the land                                                               
survey  ordered in  Fairbanks, for  example, will  have the  same                                                               
information on  it as the land  survey in Ketchikan.   He said he                                                               
is  not personally  well acquainted  with the  problems that  may                                                               
arise,  but he  is  sure  that it  does  present  a problem  when                                                               
someone  orders an  as-built  survey and  it  doesn't include  an                                                               
easement or a pipeline that goes through the property.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Mr. Manly  if he knows the position                                                               
of the [Alaska] Professional Design Council [on the bill].                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MANLY answered  no.  He said the bill  passed through the two                                                               
surveyor  members  of  the  board  and  was  given  a  relatively                                                               
positive response.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Number 2255                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
JIM COLVER testified  via teleconference on behalf  of himself in                                                               
opposition to  HB 227.  He  stated that some of  the realtors are                                                               
concerned  about what  is contained  in an  as-built survey.   He                                                               
said it is  mainly going to be driven by  the title companies and                                                               
whether they perform an ALTA  (American Land Title Survey) survey                                                               
or a less-than-an-ALTA survey.  He  said his main concern is that                                                               
with  this  field changing  so  rapidly  with global  positioning                                                               
[systems], regulations  are going to  have to keep  being amended                                                               
to comply  with future standards.   He said he thinks  there will                                                               
be bureaucrats instead of  professionals determining the practice                                                               
of  land  surveying.     Under  existing  statute  AS  08.48.101,                                                               
paragraph  (a)(1),   the  language  says  the   board  may  adopt                                                               
regulations to carry  out the purpose of  this chapter, including                                                               
paragraph  (5),  publishing  a code  of  ethics  or  professional                                                               
conduct for those persons regulated by  this chapter.  He said he                                                               
thinks a  lot of  this can be  accomplished through  the existing                                                               
statutes and through ethics  and professional conduct regulations                                                               
promulgated  from  that  statute.    He noted  that  there  is  a                                                               
standard of practice that the  surveyor generally looks to, which                                                               
was been  developed by  the Alaska  Society of  Professional Land                                                               
Surveyors.    This  is  taught  in  schools  and  is  preparation                                                               
material for those taking the land surveyor's exam.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  COLVER responded  that that  is one  of the  discussions the                                                               
surveying community is  going through right now -  whether or not                                                               
to require  continuing education.   He relayed  that some  of the                                                               
surveyors [in the Matanuska-Susitna  area] have commented that if                                                               
the regulations  were to  be adopted,  they would  be comfortable                                                               
going  with the  Alaska  Society of  Professional Land  Surveyors                                                               
standards of practice.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2405                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD shared that in  1988 it was declared that                                                               
the surveys  were all off  in Rabbit Creek  Heights.  He  said he                                                               
wasn't able  to sell  his land  for more  than ten  years because                                                               
there was no way  to obtain financing.  He asked  if that sort of                                                               
thing could continue, if nothing is done.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLVER answered that that  was resolved through legislation a                                                               
few  years  ago.   He  stated  that  in  any practice  there  are                                                               
mistakes  made, and  every profession  has ways  of policing  its                                                               
membership.   He expressed that  he doesn't know  that government                                                               
does a good job when the  destiny of professions is placed in the                                                               
hands of  career bureaucrats.   He  added that  he does  not know                                                               
that  this bill  would stop  [errors like  those at  Rabbit Creek                                                               
Heights] from happening.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-68, SIDE B                                                                                                              
Number 2472                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK KALEN, Land Surveyor, Alaska  State Board of Registration                                                               
for Architects, Engineers and Land  Surveyors (AELS), Division of                                                               
Occupational  Licensing,  Department   of  Community  &  Economic                                                               
Development, testified via teleconference  and stated that he has                                                               
worked with  legislation in  the past for  the surveyors  and has                                                               
some  understanding of  the situation.   He  remarked that  he is                                                               
also one of  the land surveyors on the board  of registration who                                                               
would be charged with writing  these regulations.  He stated that                                                               
that could be  an arduous task, because the driving  forces - the                                                               
lending institutions - are the  problem with as-built surveys not                                                               
being uniform.   If  the value  of the  property is  really high,                                                               
banks will  always call  for ALTA  survey standards;  however, in                                                               
the  low-budget survey  the  banks call  for  an as-built  survey                                                               
where there aren't any standards.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. KALEN noted that the bill  is very close to what Florida did.                                                               
He stated that  Florida has about 15 pages of  standards, and one                                                               
of the novel features is  that Florida fixed the as-built problem                                                               
by absolutely requiring that surveyors do a boundary survey.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  MURKOWSKI asked  whether the  full board  has not  had the                                                               
opportunity to  review this,  which is why  they haven't  taken a                                                               
position.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. KALEN stated  that she was correct.  He  stated that this was                                                               
a surprise to some [of the  board members].  The two surveyors on                                                               
the board have an  idea of where to go with  it, but they haven't                                                               
heard much  from the  affected realtors  and surveyors  about how                                                               
they would  react.  He noted  that the board would  probably have                                                               
to talk  about what would  be some of  the primary things  in the                                                               
regulations.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HAYES   asked  Mr.  Kalen  whether   the  board's                                                               
position  is that  they  would  like to  wait,  discuss the  bill                                                               
through  the   interim,  and  provide  technical   assistance  to                                                               
Representative Harris if there are any problems.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. KALEN responded yes.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Number 2179                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BARBARA  HUFF, Legislative  Director, Teamsters  Local 949,  came                                                               
forth  in support  of HB  227.   From  discussions with  Teamster                                                               
representative surveyors, she said the  concept is that this bill                                                               
does  not draft  the  regulation that  would be  left  up to  the                                                               
board.   [The Teamster's] surveyors  think it  is a good  idea to                                                               
have  at least  minimum standards  set  for the  entire state  of                                                               
Alaska, instead of the Municipality of Anchorage and Fairbanks.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HAYES  asked Ms.  Huff what the  harm would  be in                                                               
letting  the bill  wait for  the interim,  having the  AELS board                                                               
actually take a look at it, and getting consistency all around.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HUFF replied  that  she  does not  think  there  would be  a                                                               
problem.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  COLVER stated  that  if  the problem  is  with the  as-built                                                               
surveys, he  would recommend including minimum  standards for as-                                                               
built surveys in the title.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD  stated that neither his  as-built survey                                                               
nor the  original survey  from when the  property was  first sold                                                               
was deemed legal.  He said it seems  to him that if a little more                                                               
money were  spent at the  beginning, it  might be advisable.   He                                                               
asked  Mr.  Colver if  his  suggestion  would  take care  of  the                                                               
problem for the people in Rabbit Creek Heights.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. COLVER remarked that there is  no other problem that he knows                                                               
of  in Alaska  that  rises  to the  level  of  [the Rabbit  Creek                                                               
Heights] problem.   He  stated that he  doesn't know  whether the                                                               
implementation  of any  kind of  legislative standard  would have                                                               
prevented that from happening.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
[HB 227 was held over.]                                                                                                         

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