Right of Entry/Right of Access

Right of Entry/Right of Access

Posted by Perry Trunick on Nov 28, 2016 2:57 pm

The issue of state laws and rights of access or entry for land surveyors is coming to a head again.  In southern Summit County in Ohio, the Nexus pipeline survey effort has come under fire from local landowners.  They are refusing to allow surveyors onto their property to conduct a survey.  Last August (2015) a judge refused to grant a temporary restraining order against the land owners saying it would, in effect, grant relief to Nexus because the company would use the court order to conduct its survey.  In other counties in Ohio, the surveys have been completed - and supported by courts in those counties.  Many states have addressed rights of entry or rights of access by surveyors and have codified them in state laws.  Some have remained silent on the subject.  Because this pipeline is crossing state lines (and an international border as well), it involves interstate commerce.  Do I smell federal preemption? 
Specifics of this pipeline aside, do we need a minimum standard for access/entry for surveyors in all states?  Should it be a law, or can it begin as a professional/ethical standard agreed to by licensed land surveyors?  Or, should there be some form of federal guidance on the topic (if not actual regulation)?

Re: Right of Entry/Right of Access

Posted by Rex Heiden_5 on Nov 29, 2016 10:20 am

Currently in Nebgraska, the State Surveyor, Deputy State Surveyor, the County Surveyor and the surveyors for the State Dept of Roads are the only one that have assess by State Statute. We tryed to get all Land Surveyors assess a couple of years ago but was the wrong time to try, the Keystone pipe line was a hot item and the proponets against it showed up at the public hearing and it died in commitee.

Re: Right of Entry/Right of Access

Posted by Perry Trunick on Dec 7, 2016 1:44 pm

In researching this issue in Ohio for an article related to the NEXUS gas pipeline I learned that Ohio has no statutory right of access for land surveyors, but energy companies and utilities are covered.  The Ohio Farm Bureau addressed the issue in a policy document for 2015.  Under the heading "trespassing" they were calling for stricter penalties for willful acts and such.  Then they took a paragraph or two to say they supported the right of land surveyors to have access with two-days' advance notice to the propwerty owner and that the land surveyor should be liable for any damage.  Other comments suggested the effort would have to come from the survey profession.  With this current pipeline issue putting surveyors in the headlines, it's not likely that will happen in the near term.  Meanwhile, surveyors are facing physical confrontations with land owners and the company that hired them has had to go to court repeatedly - even though 10 counties and 2 appeals courts said the company is a utility and has a right to survey the properties.  By one count, the pipeline route affects almost 3500 tracts of land.  In two counties I looked at, the protests were coming from 30 or fewer land owners in each county.  

Re: Right of Entry/Right of Access

Posted by walt dunlap on Dec 14, 2016 2:35 pm

Title 32, section 13913 of the Maine statutes provides for right of entry by Land Surveyors, with notice given.