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When is a land survey needed?

The following information was submitted by the Todd County Planning and Zoning office.

Surveying has been a science used to guide development since the beginning of recorded history.

Most commonly it is used to establish legal boundaries for property ownership but there are many advanced uses. Surveys were used to map out our state, counties, and individual properties as well as road and utility locations.

Advanced applications such as an "as built" survey documents all structures on a parcel and also the square footage so percent impervious surfaces can be determined and the dwelling density near lakeshore areas.

An even higher level of surveying complexity is required for actual construction drawings and blueprints showing water runoff and other development features in exacting detail.

The science and tools used by surveyors changed significantly with the development of Global Positioning System (GIS) technology and associated software. Anyone with a good Internet connection can look up Google Earth or go to the Todd County web site and look at property features, zoning, elevations, etc.

A person can learn a lot about our landscape using these online tools but they should not be used for determining exact property line locations. There are limitations to online mapping and sometimes a good old-fashioned survey is what's needed.

A property boundary survey is required to complete most land splits and property line adjustments and certainly when platting a new subdivision. Many times a survey is needed for Planning and Zoning to determine if a variance to a lot line is required or even needed. Often times survey markers get lost leading to neighbor disagreement as to lot line location. A survey and subsequent protection of the property corner pins helps keep everyone honest and ensures that future construction meets setback requirements.

Todd County Planning and Zoning staff can help you determine if you need a survey for your next land project. Call 320-732-4420.