Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/15/1994 09:07 AM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS brought SB 355 (ADJUSTMENTS FOR DEFECTIVE SURVEY) before the committee as the next order of business. SENATOR STEVE RIEGER, prime sponsor of SB 355, explained that a problem relating to defective surveys of land, one which was in his district, was brought to his attention by some Anchorage assembly members. SB 355 was crafted to address the problem statewide where there is a manifestly defective survey. SB 355 provides that a person or a municipality, upon the resolution of a municipality, can bring an action in court with a proposed replat. The court can direct a survey and actually order the replat in accordance with the proposal. Senator Rieger pointed out that the language in the bill is borrowed from existing statutory language regarding earth slides changing land boundaries, language which was enacted after the 1964 earthquake. Number 422 SENATOR LEMAN asked if Senator Rieger has received any comments on the bill from the Alaska Society of Professional Land Surveyors. ANN RINGSTAD, staff to Senator Rieger, responded that Patrick Callen has talked to her about the problem, and he has said that the people in his organization support the concept of the bill and that they will probably come up with a letter stating their support. She added that Mr. Callen agrees that the problem must be solved. SENATOR LEMAN commented that his understanding is that when a monument is placed, even if it is misplaced, that's where it is, and this legislation seems to run counter to that. SENATOR RIEGER said the intent is that this bill would trigger only when the survey was manifestly off. Number 478 SENATOR TAYLOR said there are surveys all over this country that are manifestly out of whack, and his concern about this is that it may open up a variable Pandora's Box. He directed attention to paragraph (4) on page 4, and asked for an explanation of the language "... parcels or lots that are not found to be materially incorrect." SENATOR RIEGER responded that he had requested that language so that if a parcel of land is being resurveyed a distance away from an individual's property, it shouldn't have to affect that individual's property. Also, part of the thought in the bill is that this is not an automatic process. There is room for discretion because it kicks to a judicial process where there should be someone exercising some discretion. Number 530 GEORGE NEWSHAM, Assistant Municipal Attorney, Municipality of Anchorage, spoke to two subdivisions in the Municipality of Anchorage that have been incorrectly surveyed. The current statute allows for a surveyor to correct his own survey within two years of filing the plat, but the original surveyor is now unavailable and the time period has long since passed within which to file a corrected plat on these two subdivisions. He said what they are looking for is an ability to try to make sure that a subdivision that is badly surveyed, that is basically incomprehensible to a surveyor or to somebody who is doing some planning for the municipality or the state to have an opportunity to correct it so that everybody knows exactly what they have. Mr. Newsham referred to the language in paragraph 4 on page 4, and said it does negate some of that authority of the judge, and that his concern is that the Legislature can impose some guidelines as far as what is to control the judge's discretion. Mr. Newsham said the municipality is looking for some legislative help to solve a problem that occurs throughout the state and to make sure that the Superior Court is given the authority to hear one case where all parties are in the court instead of being there separately. TAPE 94-21, SIDE B Number 001 SENATOR RIEGER said that one of the reasons for having the language "... or with the consent of the owner" in paragraph (4) is so that there would be an escape valve if its clear that its even in that owner's best interest to have different plat lines than what the actual survey shows. He asked Mr. Newsham if that clause addresses his concern on that new paragraph (4). MR. NEWSHAM said it may, but the question he would raise is whether or not the person's property that has been built over has to give their consent. He said it would solve some of his concern if the legislation would indicate who the actual person is that you need to gain consent from. Number 035 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if we're going to bring all of these people in to court to resolve a case, who is going to end up paying the attorney fees and costs. MR. NEWSHAM answered that SB 355 is part of a package that the municipality has put together. One of the parts of the package is the legislation that actually gives the court the authority to change. The second part of the package is that they have amended their municipal code to allow for a survey improvement district such that the cost of a survey, and resurvey if necessary, and replatting will be born by the property owners if the survey improvement district is formed. If it is not formed, they would not go forward. Number 055 SENATOR RIEGER pointed out that the survey improvement district is because of the policy of the municipality and the bill doesn't require that. Section 11 of the bill just gives the court the ability to assess the costs, and, in the case of Anchorage where there is a survey improvement district, the court would obviously say this is where the cost should be born. Number 085 There being no further testimony on SB 355, SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR TAYLOR moved that SB 355 be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.