Services We Provide
The following are some of the dominant Land Surveying Services within our fields of expertise. Additional information about FEMA Certificates and Topographic Surveys is in the Articles Section of this website.
Property owners frequently want to know the true location of their property lines because they are planning to erect fencing or build block walls along the parcel or lot property lines, also known as boundaries. Rather than guess the location of the boundaries, or make a conservative estimate in their neighbor’s favor, we encourage property owners to get a Boundary Survey so that they don’t create an encroachment onto their neighbor or give up the use of portions of their land.
GP Salmen & Associates also performs Boundary Surveys to determine the existing building side and rear yard setbacks for property owners planning residential remodeling. Ventura County, City of Ventura, and other incorporated cities within Ventura County have specific front, rear, and sideyard requirements for new construction. An existing site plan will help determine the land available for expanding the house or garage footprint.
A Boundary Survey is often part of a Topographic Survey (for more information, please see the section on Topographic Surveys below), so that the topographic mapping is delineated in the true location within the parcel.
Boundary Surveys often require the filing of a Record of Survey or Corner Record with the County Surveyor. For more information, please see the following section on Record of Surveys or Corner Records below.
Record of Surveys and Corner Records
After performing a Boundary Survey, the Land Surveyor may file with the Ventura County Surveyor an annotated diagram, called a Record of Survey, describing the evidence and procedures that the Land Surveyor used in the performance of the survey. Said evidence and procedures are thoroughly checked by a staff Licensed Surveyor and re-checked by the Chief Deputy County Surveyor. Any shortcomings are addressed either by corrections made by the filing Land Surveyor, or, in the case of an unresolved dispute, the County Surveyor and the filing Land Surveyor may each put a note on the map describing their differences and their reasoning.
A Corner Record is simpler than a Record of Survey. A Corner Record may be used only when the property lines are shown on a previously recorded map as having been surveyed and monumented. A Corner Record is subject to the same scrutiny by the County Surveyor and Staff as a Record of Survey.
After the Record of Survey or Corner Record has been checked and all issues have been resolved or addressed, the Record of Survey or Corner Record is permanently filed in the Office of the Ventura County Surveyor. It then becomes part of the historical record and may be reviewed as a record reference by Land Surveyors performing future Boundary Surveys in the area.
Gary Salmen, LS, of GP Salmen & Associates was on contract for many years with the Ventura County Surveyor’s office as a consulting mapchecker of Record of Surveys, Parcel Maps, and Tract Maps prepared by fellow Ventura County Land Surveyors.
A Topographic Survey is a map showing the existing ground elevation, together with natural and man-made features, within a particular site. Examples of natural features are: water bodies, trees, and outcroppings; examples of man-made features (improvements) are: buildings, roads, and fences.
Ground elevations are delineated on Topographic Maps as contours. Contours are lines representing a constant elevation, usually an even foot, and often one foot vertically apart, hence the term “one-foot contour interval.” Contour lines spaced far apart represent flatter areas than contour lines spaced close together, which may indicate steep slopes.
Topographic Survey Maps provide architects, civil engineers, or other design professionals with a base map of the existing condition of the site so that new improvements may be planned in their proper horizontal and vertical locations in order to facilitate clearances, water run-off (drainage), relationships to existing utilities, and other aesthetic or important considerations.
Topographic Survey Maps are no longer hand drawn and nowadays are prepared within cad (computed-aided drafting) programs. Completed cad maps are transmitted directly and electronically to design professionals. Design professionals are then able to begin to design without the necessity of re-drawing or otherwise interpreting the Topographic Survey data.
Construction Surveys, or Construction Staking, is required by contractors and builders for large and small scale building projects, so that the new construction is built in the correct location, horizontally and vertically (line and grade) according to the approved plans.
A forté at GP Salmen & Associates is careful coordination with the appropriate contractor, subcontractor, or superintendent, prior to arriving at the jobsite; and giving them a scaled staking plan map when leaving the jobsite.
Throughout Ventura County and nearby areas, GP Salmen & Associates has staked private residences and larger projects including the Factory Outlet Store Complex in Camarillo, and is presently staking housing tracts in Palmdale and Lancaster.
Easement Surveys and Easement Staking may become necessary for several reasons:
One reason for an Easement Survey may be to check that existing improvements, whether a driveway or utility line, or other physical entity, is within the limits of the parcel described by the legal description within the recorded easement document.
A second reason is similar to Construction Staking. Stakes are set so that new access roads, utility lines, or other physical entities are constructed within the limits of the easement parcel.
Development requires several types of Land Surveys for several entities. Design professionals will require topographic mapping. Public Agencies may require mapping of land use within a specified radius of the proposed development. Ventura County Planning Department or the Planning Departments of incorporated Cities within Ventura County, including Camarillo, Ojai, Thousand Oaks, will require Tentative Maps of proposed subdivisions. The County Surveyor will require a Final Parcel Map (for more information on the latter two, please see the section on Parcel Maps below). For Condominium Projects, the California Bureau of Real Estate will require a Condominium Plan (for more information on Condominium Plans, please see the section on Condominium Surveys below).
GP Salmen & Associates has acted as surveyor of record for several successful City of Ventura projects including Public Housing Authority Project Ventura Avenue, Park Row Apartments, and Poli Oak Pavilion Mixed-Use Retail and Residential Condominiums (directly across from and facing Ventura City Hall).
Parcel Maps are maps for the legal subdivision of a larger parcel into 4 or fewer smaller parcels. The requirements are rigidly set forth within the California Subdivision Map Act and further defined by Ventura County and/or local City Ordinance.
The Parcel Map process takes part in two overall phases:
The first phase is a Tentative Parcel Map. The Tentative Parcel Map is for review of the project concepts by the local agencies and relevant departments, including fire, flood control, environmental health, zoning, and building and safety. After review, the project may be approved, subject to conditions. Some of the Conditions are required prior to recordation of the Final Parcel Map; others may be required prior to issuance of building permits.
The second phase of the Parcel Map process is the Final Parcel Map. This is the legal subdivision itself which will create the individual parcels. The Final Parcel Map will be a boundary survey of the overall boundary and the new parcels. The Final Parcel Map is processed with the City or County Surveyor and, upon review and acceptance, is ultimately recorded in the Office of the Ventura County Recorder.
Condominium Surveys, Condominium Maps, and Tract Maps
Condominium Projects will require two additional types of surveys besides a topographic survey and the possible radius mapping described in the Development Surveys Section above.
A condominium project is considered a one lot subdivision and will require a Tract Map which will follow the two phase procedure outlined in the Parcel Map section above.
As mentioned in the Development Survey Section above, the California Bureau of Real Estate will require a Condominium Plan. The Condominium Plan is a map of the individual units which will be held individually in title and the common areas which will be shared in title.
Lot Line Adjustments
Lot Line Adjustments are considered by the California Subdivision Map Act and Ventura County and local City Ordinance as a type of subdivision.
However, Lot Line Adjustments do not normally require a new recorded Boundary Survey as is required for other subdivisions like Parcel or Tract Maps.
Lot Line Adjustments provide land owners a means to better conform the parcel or lot boundaries to the best use of the land.
GP Salmen & Associates is presently working with Ventura County ranchers on a Lot Line Adjustment involving several hundred acres, as well as with residents in Montecito adjusting their common rear property lines for fencing and visual purposes.
Ventura hillside areas may necessitate the requirement for a Height Survey so that new construction is within the height restrictions set forth by Ventura County or local agency ordinances. Said ordinances are intended to protect the views of nearby residents.
ALTA Surveys, formally known as ALTA/ACSM Land Title Surveys, are often required by mortgage lenders and title insurers. The lender and title insurers are looking for physical defects and/or title defects affecting the property. Said defects may include buildings or other site matters out of conformance with Ventura County or local agency zoning laws, physical encroachments of walls, driveways, buildings, or easement defects.
The ALTA Survey is a combination of a Boundary Survey with an Easement Survey, and has elements of a Topographic Survey. The requirements of an ALTA Survey are specifically defined in a document titled ALTA/ACSM Land Title Survey Requirements and prepared by the American Land Title Association and the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping.
A unique feature of the ALTA Survey is the detailed disclosure of the site condition within 5 feet on both sides of the parcel boundary.
Gary Salmen, LS, of GP Salmen & Associates, has prepared ALTA Surveys throughout Ventura County and nearby areas, including 1000+ acres of open space in the Santa Monica Mountains and recently including a Simi Valley Shopping Center and a number of UCSB Student Housing Buildings.
FEMA Elevation Certificates
After Hurricane Katrina, FEMA redefined the flood zones (flood plains) for much of the entire United States. Subsequently, insurance companies offering flood insurance required new elevation certificates. FEMA Elevation Certificates are also necessary whenever a property owner wishes to shop flood insurance rates.
In some cases, a lot or parcel may be eligible for a LOMR, LOMC, or LOMA, any of which may result in a change for the lot or parcel to a better flood plain or flood zone designation. For any of those processes, the first step is always a FEMA Elevation Certificate
As an oversimplification, a FEMA Elevation Certificate compares the elevation, or height above sea level, of the building floor to the FEMA map flood plain elevation. The desirable outcome is that the building floor is above the 100 year statistical storm elevation.
GP Salmen & Associates has prepared FEMA Elevation Certificates throughout Ventura County and nearby areas, especially in the Oxnard plain and in the Ojai Valley along the Ventura River, and most recently for a chain of 7 beachfront hotels.