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Letters: Traversing the Law - January 2010

May 1, 2010
"I agree that we should expend every effort to find any evidence before we declare a corner lost, and most surveyors will agree that proration is the last resort. I disagree with Mr. Lucas that there is no such thing as a lost corner."

I agree that we should expend every effort to find any evidence before we declare a corner lost, and most surveyors will agree that proration is the last resort. I disagree with Mr. Lucas that there is no such thing as a lost corner. I am sure Mr. Lucas is familiar with the court case Barber vs. Walker that my firm and Mr. Oscar Pittman were involved in. There was plenty of evidence supporting the location of the section corner, recorded subdivisions, Gulf Power maps, and DOT maps. The only decision that should have been made was which of the multiple corners to use. However, Mr. Bill Baskerville was able to convince the appellate courts that the corner was lost.

In the Panhandle area of Florida, thousands of acres are owned by paper companies. These sections have not been surveyed in my lifetime. Yet during this time, trees and lighter stumps have been repeatedly harvested. We have had times of drought and times of flood. The thousands of acres of interior sections do not have adjacent owners. The only roads are lumber roads or hunting trails. During the many times of drought and floods, the topo calls have moved. Creeks have moved, wetland limits have expanded and rescinded. You will not find any original evidence or corners in these areas. The paper companies are now selling some of this land. There are no corners to locate, no adjacent owners to consult, no interior corners to use. The topo calls cannot be trusted. Nobody wants to prorate corners, but these corners are LOST.

I believe the only one misguided or confused is you, Mr. Lucas. You have taken a good theory too far. You need to realize that surveying is a vast and complicated profession, and you cannot limit yourself by excluding valid arguments. Surveyors cannot have tunnel vision; they must explore the evidence as it takes them using their knowledge and experience to help them make the decisions necessary. Everything must be considered and nothing excluded. Do not handcuff yourself with the words “never” and “always” as you may end up eating those words.

In any case, Mr. Lucas, lost corners do exist, and I hope for the sake of your readers that you admit it. Your original arguments are valid, and surveyors would be wise to listen. Any evidence is better than no evidence, but there are places where no evidence exists. In these cases, you have no other option but to declare the corner lost.

--David D. Glaze, PSM, Florida


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