The Challenge: Records Conflict with an Old Personal Agreement, Potentially Threatening a Project to Turn Farmland into High-End Retail

The owner of a 150-acre farm with 3,700 feet of frontage along Route 34 in Oswego wanted to develop a high-quality retail/commercial development. He wanted to be the first developer to offer prime retail sites in this key east-side location of Oswego. Time was absolutely critical.

Compass’ ALTA survey disclosed a 50-foot gap between the record title line and the ancient farm fence along the western boundary of the land. Both the owner and the adjoining land owner have honored the fence line as the division line for more than 50 years and agreed that the fence line was the true line. This created a cloud on title, impacting the marketable title.

The Solution: Accurate Surveys, Detailed Records Search, and Coordination Among All Involved Professionals and Landowners

Compass’ first step was to help our client resolve the gap issue. In addition to documenting the testimony of the adjoining owner, Compass’ detailed search of the recorder’s office disclosed a recorded plat of survey from 1942 that recognized the fence as the boundary line. In addition, monuments called for on the 65-year-old plat were still in place along the ancient fence. Since this recorded document was not raised in the title commitment, Compass met with the title company to deliver all evidence supporting the ancient fence as the true boundary line. Compass prepared a new legal description for the gap parcel and helped the real estate attorney and title company draft and execute the proper documentation to eliminate the land ownership conflict.

Once the conflict was resolved, Compass performed all surveys and coordinated related matters with the attorney, client, engineer and planner for the overall site as well as individual developments at the location. In addition, we reacted quickly to comments and direction from the client and municipal review officials, helping ensure timely development.