I'm putting a fence in my backyard and need to find my property lines. How do I do that?
Whether you are building a fence or shed, replacing or expanding your driveway, or simply adding some new landscaping, knowing the exact location of your property lines is a must. Not all projects require a permit from the city, but it’s still the responsibility of the property owner to make sure that zoning laws are met like setbacks and preventing encroachments into easements or pond/wetland buffers. It is also important to locate your property lines to prevent disputes with neighbors and avoid potential legal issues.
So, how can you find your property lines? The City of Savage does not have a licensed surveyor on staff, so here are three ways to locate your property lines:
- Check your property for iron monuments found in the ground. Property boundaries are marked with iron monuments or survey pins set at each corner or change in line direction at the time a lot is platted. They are shown on the property survey map as solid black circles. The pin or monument is typically a ½” wide metal pipe topped with a colored plastic cap that is buried about 6-10 inches below ground. The survey pins are the only legal property line markers and should not be moved. You may be able to find them using a metal detector. Do not rely on steel green fence posts, utility poles, trees, fences or where you mow, to identify property lines.
- Visit the City to obtain a copy of your survey. Check with the City Building Inspections Department to see if a copy of your survey is available. The location of each survey pin is shown on your property survey.
- Contact a licensed professional land surveyor to mark your lines. If you cannot locate the original survey pins, the only accurate way to find or replace them is to hire a licensed land surveyor to survey your property.
You can get an approximate idea of your property boundaries and other basic information by viewing Scott County’s Scott GIS3 mapping application. Online mapping can provide property information, but it can be off plus or minus a few feet, and does not provide the accuracy of a survey.
Just as important as knowing your property lines, property owners should also be aware of easements that exist on their property. An easement must be kept free and clear and residents should avoid any planting or landscaping. For more information on property lines and easements, please contact the Planning Department at 952-882-2650 or cityofsavage.com.