• Boulder Flood Maps Changing

    December 14, 2012 | Category: Commercial, Residential

    Big changes are underway with respect to the regulation of the Boulder Creek floodplain for property owners in downtown Boulder. What was already a somewhat confusing situation has become even more so with the City of Boulder’s submittal to FEMA of a new floodplain study for Boulder Creek.

    The new floodplain study proposes substantial, and in some locations, radical changes to the existing floodplain modeling and mapping that the city has been enforcing for many years. In many cases, the new floodplain study presents a case of “good news” and “bad news”. The good news is that we recently became aware of buildings that are being removed from constrictive “Conveyance and High Hazard flood zones.” However, the bad news is that these same buildings are now projected to have substantially deeper flood depths when compared to the existing floodplain mapping. Also in the bad news category is the fact that the city will be enforcing both flood studies (whichever is more restrictive) until FEMA completes its review and adopts the new flood maps.

    Although the city has completed their own public notification and review process prior to submitting the new study to FEMA, property owners should be aware that there will be another opportunity to appeal the new study and how it will affect their properties as part of the FEMA adoption process. But the FEMA 90-day appeal period will not occur until the agency, along with the State of Colorado Water Conservation Board, have completed a review of the new study and have determined that it is acceptable and ready for adoption. In the meantime, affected property owners should become educated on how the new floodplain study along with the city’s existing floodplain regulations will impact their properties, both physically and monetarily.

    Flatirons has a highly experienced staff of both surveyors and engineers who can help people understand how both the existing and new floodplain studies and regulations will affect their properties. If you’re a property owner, investor or even a renter, you owe it to yourself to contact us to discuss how we can help you defend against not only the inevitable flood, but also any unfair and inaccurate floodplain mapping and regulations.

  • Flatirons wins national drafting competition again!

    August 2, 2012 | Category: Other

    The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) in Gaithersburg, Maryland selected Flatirons Surveying of Boulder, Colorado for two awards in their 2012 Map/Plat Drafting Contest.

    Boundary Survey for the USDA Forest Service

    Subdivision Plat entry – Coal Creek Village

    We won first place in the Boundary Survey category and third place for our Subdivision Plat entry. You can see the reduced version of the actual entries by clicking on the two images below. We won three of these awards in 2009, more evidence that the deliverables our drafters provide to our clients continue to be among the best in the nation.


  • Boulder Flood / Floodplain / Floodway / Conveyance Zone Services now available for Boulder area property owners and agents

    February 16, 2012 | Category: Commercial, Residential

    If you own property in Boulder County, you may be all too aware of the myriad changing and evolving floodplain regulations that can have a profound effect on the future use and value of your property.  The rules of the National Flood Insurance Program are often confusing and easily misunderstood.  What local government officials tell you as fact may not necessarily be true or accurate.  Flatirons has experienced Professional staff who can analyze your particular situation and advise you of your rights.

    For a very reasonable fee in most cases, Flatirons can help you determine if your mortgage lender or a government agency is using the most current flood zone determination maps, determine the proper elevation of structures or other improvements that can reduce your flood insurance premiums, or even exempt you from having to purchase such coverage, and can provide guidance on how current restrictions on development or improvements to your own property apply.

    For real estate agents, Flatirons can provide specific floodplain information for your marketed properties, to reduce or eliminate buyer uncertainty over these issues.

    If you are concerned about the impacts of floodplain regulations on your property, and need someone on your side to represent your interests, it would be well worth your time to give Flatirons a no-obligation call, at (303) 443-7001.

  • Flatirons Surveying donates survey gear to Engineers Without Borders in Nepal

    December 9, 2011 | Category: Other

    Flatirons Surveying prides itself on investing in the very latest robotic/GPS survey equipment and software.  While some robotic units can exceed $30,000 each, the gains in efficiency and accuracy are worth the cost.  Consequently, we have older units on hand that are fully functional but obsolete.  These were state of the art devices a decade ago.

    The University of Colorado in Boulder has a local chapter of Engineers Without Borders that is very active in conducting engineering projects in rural Nepal.  They asked us for much needed donations of survey equipment, and we were happy to oblige.  This interesting program benefits everyone involved, from the Nepalese residents in need of water and sanitation, to the adventuresome student volunteers, and to our company, with older equipment on hand in need of new owners who can make a real difference in the quality of many lives.

    To read more about the Boulder chapter of EWB and their projects, see:


  • What is a legal description, and who can prepare one?

    December 1, 2011 | Category: Commercial, Residential

    Black’s Law Dictionary defines a legal description as: “A formal description of real property, including a description of any part subject to an easement or reservation, complete enough that a particular piece of land can be located and identified.  The description can be made by reference to a government survey, metes and bounds, or lot numbers of a recorded plat. – Also termed land description.

    Generally speaking, there are no restrictions on who can prepare a legal description for real property.  Basic Statute of Frauds principles simply require that the description itself and the transfer document must be in writing.  Those of us who have been in the profession have seen numerous legal descriptions that should never have been used to transfer property.  Those descriptions often require specialized skill to interpret them for placement of the boundary “on the ground”.  (If you would like to discuss these specialized skills, please contact a Flatirons surveyor at 303-443-7001.)  Many states, however, have limited the pool of persons allowed to create new legal descriptions.

    InColorado, C.R.S. § 38-35-106.5 requires the name and address of the individual preparing a newly created legal description.  Failure to do so does not affect the validity of the description, however.

    Although it has not been challenged or tested in any way, “the preparation of . . . descriptions . . . for the purpose of preserving the location or conveyance of any and all rights in real property and the subdivision thereof” is a land survey, and is therefore the practice of land surveying pursuant to Rule 6.5.1(d) of the Bylaws and Rules of the Colorado State Board of Licensure for Architects, Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors.  C.R.S. § 12-25-202 (6)(a)(VIII) defines the “preparation of . . . property descriptions that result from the practice of professional land surveying” as “professional land surveying”.  Based on the Rule and the Statute, only Licensed Professional Land Surveyors should be preparing legal descriptions in Colorado.

    For assistance with your specific legal description needs, please contact a Flatirons surveyor at 303-443-7001.

  • Adverse possession not always the best remedy

    June 10, 2011 | Category: Other, Residential

    Our hometown of Boulder, Colorado made national news in late 2007 when neighbors (McLean & Stevens v Don and Susan Kirlin) waged a very public legal battle where the former claimed adverse possession of part of the Kirlin property because they had formed a path across it to access their backyard for years without objections from the owners.  The laws for adverse possession in Colorado were changed as a result of that case, making it much more difficult to legally claim land by that method.

    You may have a similar situation with your own property, where you or your neighbor has “used” the other’s land for many years.  Perhaps a fence was built in the wrong place, or a structure was mistakenly built over the property line years ago and the parties initially involved are long gone.  Then, if one party decides to challenge this old encroachment legally and claim title to that property, it becomes an adverse action.  The possession must meet the threshold of several legal requirements to be successful in court.  In any case, whether you are the plaintiff or defendant, you are looking at a long, contentious and very costly ordeal.

    If you can settle on an agreeable solution with your neighbor, that is the best and least costly alternative.  Flatirons Surveying can help with that process, by creating an easement exhibit, a property line agreement, or an exemption plat, which are required by State, County, and/or local governments to formally make a change to the use of another’s property, or location of a property line.  We have an attorney, who is also a professional land surveyor, on staff for any legal disputes involving lot lines or adverse possession.  Please contact us to discuss your own situation.  We can help you arrive at a solution that serves your best interests, at the least amount of cost, time, and frayed relationships with your neighbors.

  • How to do your own land survey – It’s like taking out your own appendix!

    May 5, 2011 | Category: Commercial, Residential

    From doing home improvement projects, installing appliances, fixing our cars, and even doing our taxes, we tend to have a “do it yourself” mentality.  Most of us love to save money on what appears to be a big, inevitable expense, and spend that money on something else.  But there are limits.  Some tasks simply demand a level of expertise that we don’t have, and many of these needs fall within the “professional” categories such as the practice of law, medicine, architecture, dentistry, etc.  Because of the detailed knowledge required by law to perform a land survey, a land surveyor is a professional who must be licensed in your state.  They have a multitude of laws, principles and practices that must be followed with great precision, must undergo continuing education in most states, and are subject to severe sanctions or damages for errors.  This is done to protect the interests of consumers, and with the high value of land and the high costs of litigation if problems occur, trying to “do your own” survey is a dangerous proposition.  And in many cases, it is also illegal.

    Even if you find one or more monuments that you believe mark your property corners, you still should not be tempted to set your own property boundaries on that basis.  You may have the wrong one, it could have been moved over time or disturbed by past earthwork, etc.  So, consider instead trying to fill your own cavity or cutting your own hair to save a few bucks if you are desperate, but please, please don’t even think about trying to be your own surveyor!

  • Properly located fences make good neighbors

    May 4, 2011 | Category: Commercial, Residential

    Some of the most common questions we receive concern the location of fences in relation to a property owner’s boundary line, and if a survey is needed.  This concern is justified, not only for a new fence where none stood before, but even for the replacement of an old fence as well.  The risks of getting it wrong are high.  A fence is a relatively permanent “structure” on your property; if your current or future neighbor discovers or suspects that you have encroached, or placed your fence on their property and they obtain a survey to prove it, they can legally force you to remove the fence, which can be a very expensive and disruptive proposition.

    So, you will want to be sure of the location of your property lines before construction. Although some public agencies will issue a building permit (if required) upon presentation of an Improvement Location Certificate, it should not be relied upon for the establishment of any permanent structure, as it shows only approximate locations of your property boundaries. The prudent course of action is to locate existing property corners that delineate your property line and have the validity of the monuments verified by a surveyor. If you are not able to find your property corners, a surveyor may be able to find monuments using a magnetic locator and cloth tape. If the surveyor is not able to locate existing monuments, you may need to have a boundary survey performed.  If you are within our Colorado service area, your best bet is to give us a call at (303) 443-7001 to discuss your specific situation and needs, so that you can weigh the costs and benefits.

  • Flatirons Wins Awards in National Mapping and Drafting Contest

    May 2, 2011 | Category: Other

    Flatirons Surveying, Inc. received national recognition as the recipient of three awards in the 2009 Map/Plat Drafting Contest sponsored by the National Society of Professional Surveyors in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  Flatirons won third for boundary/cadastral maps, second for ALTA/ACSM survey maps, and first place for miscellaneous survey maps and plats.  It was highly unusual for one firm to win in three categories in a single year.  This recognition was made possible by the commitment to quality from our collection of field data and research to our skilled AutoCAD drafters.  The sheet shown is a sample of a Public Land Survey System retracement, including section subdivision, in steep, heavily timbered mountainous terrain.

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