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Brad Ott
Posts: 4603
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Joined: 9 years ago

Please help me to formulate a more polite response to the lender’s attorney’s latest request for yet another revision to this land title survey that has been completed multiple times since June.


What is wrong with this a55hole?  Maybe he was bullied?
I am not going to read through 641 pages of zoning code to try to interpret applicable zoning standards in order to attempt to address never ending survey comments on this deal.
Maybe you can find a nice way to tell this gentleman to pound sand.
(Believe it or not ‘”friendly attorney for my client, the seller, let’s call him Joe” I am usually a pretty nice guy).
I am not going to respond to him (the ridiculous lender’s attorney)(again), which will no doubt hurt his feelings (again).
Heads up.


9 Replies
A Harris
Posts: 8301
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Joined: 9 years ago

Dear client,

I am at an impasse.

For reasons that the lender's continued insistent upon changes on their requirements to change the survey, I must insist that your fee will increase  $5k for each change.

Perhaps your attorney could talk with the Title company and the buyer and decide exCtly what requirements are acceptable to finalize the closing.


Dave Karoly
Posts: 10468
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Joined: 9 years ago

Attempting to show building setbacks in a commercial zone is a fool's errand. They aren't a single fixed distance because they typically involve a lot of variables which depend on the design.

Norman Oklahoma
Posts: 4611
2,500+ posts
Joined: 4 years ago

Dear Sir, 

Interpretation of Zoning Code is a task for a planning professional. As a Professional Surveyor I consider such interpretation as being outside of my core competency.  The 2016 ALTA/NSPS Standard ,Table A, Item 7b requires that the surveyor show setback requirements only if clearly set out in a zoning report, supplied by others, if such requirements do not require interpretation by the surveyor.  As the zoning report in this case does require such interpretation I cannot show setback requirements on my map.

The setback requirement in this case is not a simple number. It is a function of multiple factors, many of which may be subjective. The applicable zoning code is 641 pages long. No surveyor who is not also a Professional Planner is competent to determine the setback requirement. Indeed even a professional planner would be well challenged as the code has enough ambiguities to allow most any setback the city planning department might choose to allow in the individual case at hand. 

I have supplied a map in full compliance with the the 2016 ALTA/NSPS Standard including the requested Table A optional items as contracted.  If you wish to pursue this setback issue further we need to bring in a professional planner. I  am willing to pursue this for you, but consider such matters outside of the scope of originally contracted services, and would charge on a time and materials basis at my common rates.   I will need approval from my client, in writing, to continue.


Bradley Ott, PLS



1 Reply
Norman Oklahoma
Joined: 4 years ago

2,500+ posts
Posts: 4611

Working on an ALTA of my own. Today I had a communication from the attorney. Long story short- the site is under construction and the applicable zoning code has changed since the permits were issued. She wants the Zoning Report changed to reflect that. I wrote her the following email message:

We will follow up on this.  But note that the ALTA Standards acknowledge, and this should drive home, that zoning matters are for planning professionals and not for Surveyors. As a surveyor I offer professional services and, sometimes, opinions regarding survey matters. I claim no special training or knowledge of planning matters.  Anything I might add to the map with regards to planning/zoning is merely a pass through and will be attributed to its source without comment or opinion. This is in compliance, in both letter and spirit, with the 2016 ALTA/NSPS Standards.

Frankly, I suggest that we remove this reference to zoning from the map altogether and that you deal with these matters in another way. Without significant and detailed knowledge of the individual project and it’s permitting the Zoning Report producer will be hard pressed to produce a report satisfactory to the needs of this project. 

An hour later I got a call from the attorney (who had way too much coffee this morning) saying that she agreed with every word, but that she still wants to address these issues on the map. I agreed to pass her suggestions on to the Zoning Report Company just to see what they would do, and that I would reference whatever they produced, but since this is a $400 report I would not expect them to solve all her worldly issues.  

David Baalman
Posts: 80
50+ posts
Joined: 3 years ago

What they said. 

This won't help on this particular project, but perhaps for the future: my ALTA proposals state that I will address one set of comments, after that it's a new survey, and any comments contrary to the judgment of the PLS won't be accommodated. It has cut down on the "ALTA that won't die" syndrome for sure. 

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