Survey stakes aren't required of developer


March 10, 2002

Dear Mr. Azrael,

Your column regarding surveying stakes was very informative. I didn't realize the importance of moving or removing survey stakes or markers. Nor did I realize there are laws governing these particular survey issues.

My question is what laws or rules apply, or how important is the installation of stakes or markers when undergoing a major subdivision, i.e., to divide property into several lots for future sale.

I was told quite insistently that stakes (or markers) are not necessary to distinguish the lines separating the individual lots because they are for reference only and need not be installed or required.

If this is true, how does one show prospective buyers what portion of the subdivision would belong to them other than what was presented on paper or the plat?

William E. McKain


Dear Mr. McKain,

The subdivision laws applicable in many Maryland counties do not require the developer to install stakes or pins to mark individual lot lines. A property owner can employ a surveyor to install lot line markers, based on the original approved subdivision plat, which is on record with the county.

Many property owners don't know where their property boundaries are located. If a lot owner intends to install a fence, or add trees or expensive landscaping on or near a property boundary, it's prudent to have a surveyor verify the actual boundary - and permanent markers can be installed.

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