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Surveying Questions

We've answered some of the most frequently asked surveying questions to help you get to know us and what we do. Please call us with any additional questions or concerns.

Q:  How do I get a survey of my property?

Star Surveying is ready to survey your property. Star Surveying provides services to Skagit County as well as the San Juan Islands. We survey San Juan Island Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, Shaw Island, and the outer-islands whether they are accessible by ferry or require private access.  We also serve Anacortes and Guemes Island.  Star Surveying is licensed to survey anywhere in the state of Washington.  

Q:  What is surveying? When should I get a survey?

Star Surveying is a surveying company that offers valuable information about your property. You should get a survey done before buying a house, renovating your house, or building a house. Whether you’re looking to build a completely new structure or simply want to replace an old and broken fence, scheduling a boundary survey prior to starting construction can help you avoid costly mistakes. 

Q:  What is a Boundary survey?

A boundary survey is a process carried out to locate property lines and monument the property corners of a parcel of land described in a deed.  It also indicates the extent of any easements or encroachments and may show the limitations imposed on the property by state or local regulations.  Boundary surveys are typically performed prior to buying, subdividing, improving or building on land. 

Q: What is a Topographic survey?

A topographic survey locates the surface features of a property, and depicts all of the natural features and elevations. In essence it is a 3-dimensional map of a 3-dimensional property showing the natural and man-made features.  After a topographic survey is completed architects and engineers will be left with a map that shows the features and topography of the land, allowing them to make the most of the existing landscape. 

Q:  What do surveyors do?

Surveyors at Star Surveying help you understand your property. We use all necessary legal documents such as deeds, contracts, maps and any other recorded document that contains a description of the property to begin our survey.  Sometimes the documents will conflict with each other, and it’s up to the surveyor to analyze the evidence and determine a solution to the property line locations. Then we can proceed with taking measurements.

Q: What does a surveyor do on my property or on the job site?

Once the surveyors at Star Surveying have gathered and reviewed all of the legal documents related to the property, a field crew will be scheduled.  Once on-site the crew will establish a control network of known points called a traverse and begin to locate existing corners and replace any recorded corners that are damaged or missing.  Typically, property corners will be set and marked at inter-visible points.  Significant trees, septic, utilities, fences, and shoreline setbacks may also be located as applicable.   

Q: What is a Boundary Line Modification? How do I get a Boundary Line Modification?

Star Surveying can conduct a Boundary Line Modification, which is a process of reassigning a boundary line between two or more properties.  Once landowners have agreed to a modification of their property’s boundaries they can apply for a boundary line modification.  The surveyor will research the deeds and then draft an exhibit drawing of the properties and proposed boundary line changes.  The exhibit drawing will show property size and locate the wells, septic system and drain field, as well as building structures and adjoining properties.  An application and new legal descriptions of the properties are prepared and submitted to the planning department for review.  Once the approved the surveyor will record the boundary line modification with the county auditor and provide the legal descriptions for the land conveyed in Quitclaim Deeds, which are taken to an attorney to finalize the conveyance of land.   

Q: Why would a land surveyor ask when my well or septic system was inspected?

If land is being developed or the boundaries modified and an application will be required by the  planning department, the surveyor will likely research and discuss their findings if they are concerned about lapse in time since last inspection or concerned about the status of an existing system.  While it is not within the surveyor’s scope, they will want to advise their client of any roadblocks during the land planning and development phase.

Q: How close to the water can I build in the San Juan Islands and Skagit County?

In the San Juan Islands, Anacortes, and Skagit County, shoreline set back is 200 feet. Star Surveying serves San Juan County and Skagit County and beyond, and can help answer new building questions.

Q: What is the required setback for an individual well?

Individual wells require a 100 foot setback and are protected by a 100 foot radius.

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