December 24, 2008
MUNICIPAL A-2 SURVEYS
By: John Rappa, Principal Analyst
You asked if municipalities periodically conduct A-2 surveys to update their property records.
Municipalities do not periodically update all their land records the same way they periodically reassess property values. Instead, they update the records on a case-by-case basis, usually when a developer applies for site plan or subdivision approval or adjacent property owners swap land or change a parcel's boundary. Municipalities update the records based on the A-2 property surveys attached to site plan or subdivision applications or other requests for local approval.
(“A-2” is part of a system for designating surveys based on their level of accuracy. The designation indicates that a surveyor determined a property's boundary based on horizontal coordinates, such as latitude and longitude. A-2 surveys are more accurate than B, C, and D surveys but not as accurate as A-1 and AA surveys.)
Responses to an informal, online survey of land use planners suggest how some municipalities update land records. Planning and zoning departments typically provide copies of the map filed with site plans and subdivisions applications to the tax assessors and mapping officials. The latter adjust the assessors' maps and update the municipality's geographic information system.