WSDOT denies my Short Plat - John Merchant - Posted by DHM, WA

Posted by John Merchant on April 07, 2007 at 11:38:04:

Recommend you do start reading the title report or commitment, particularly the page or two that sets out rights, liens, reservations and exceptions.

Where you know ahead of time just what you want to do with the property, require that specific purpose be OK’d and guaranteed by that TC so you KNOW you’re covered…and if the TC can’t do it, don’t buy the RE.

e.g. 2 or 3 years back I bought a landlocked parcel in a rapidly growing area on which I saw an opp to build a house.

Since it was landlocked, I was able to get a great bargain price on the parcel…but of course I knew it could be a real fight getting access across the adjacent land.

So I required the TC to include special warranty that the parcel included a long ago acquired written easement allowing for just this drive-way access and I did have the absolute right to cross that property.

I paid extra for this guarantee and proceeded to close on my purchase.

When I notified the other landowner, she had her lawyer respond that we had no such right and to forget any crossing of her land.

To make long story shorter, when I disclosed what ammo I had in my file, the lawyer’s tone changed dramatically…particulaly when she realized that if I did have to sue her client, I’d also bring in the TC and let their big-time, highly paid lawyers do my fighting for me…and their deep pockets were deeper than her client’s.

So demand the TC guarantee the specific purpose you envision, in writing, and if they won’t, you walk.

WSDOT denies my Short Plat - John Merchant - Posted by DHM, WA

Posted by DHM, WA on April 05, 2007 at 09:44:07:

I purchased 36+ AC zoned 2 AC residential by the county. My due dilligence did not turn up any restrictions to this zoning and the seller did not disclose any. I filed for a short plat to divide the parcel into (1) 18AC parcel and (3) 6AC parcels. I worked with the county and my survey engineering Co. to make sure all was well and did receive a preliminary plat approval letter from the county.

However, the county was required to run this short plat by the WA DOT since the property is on SR14. They advise that the property was encumbered in 1959 when the then owner relinquished rights of access to state of WA. In effect they advise that only (1) SFR can be built for the normal operation of a farm.

This acerage is next to a state park & boat ramp and an orchard with several homes and migrate worker cement block buildings. So my planned access and usage of (4) SFRs would not be much different than the neighbors and the state.

John Merchant and others,

Do you have advice for me on how to appeal the recommendation for denial - it is a matter of law to the state without any vision for progress and my private property rights. Should not the county have re-zoned the property that the state had encumbered. What about the lack of disclosure from the seller(s)?

Any advice would be much appreciated and thank-you in advance. I can send the letters from WSDOT if any need more specifics.



Re: WSDOT denies my Short Plat - John Merchant - Posted by LK

Posted by LK on April 08, 2007 at 06:05:18:

What type of document “relinquished rights of access to state of WA”? Was part of the property sold to the WADOT? Are the proposed access locations near a busy intersection or high traffic/accident area to give grounds for such a restriction?

There may be some room depending on how these rights were relinquished and some room to negotiate with the DOT. DOT officials are real good at saying NO NO and NO , even when its not practical. Maybe you could offer improvements such as a turn lane that could help with your negotiations.

Maybe fraud or negligence - Posted by John Merchant

Posted by John Merchant on April 05, 2007 at 14:15:48:

I’d urge you to see your lawyer right now about action against seller and/or title co.

If S had knowledge he didn’t pass on to you, that’s fraud.

If TC guaranteed you full and clear title sounds like they were negligent.

Re: Maybe fraud or negligence - Posted by Natalie-VA

Posted by Natalie-VA on April 06, 2007 at 12:32:48:

This sort of thing makes me nervous. How far is a title company really required to go? I’ve never read one of my title policies all the way through. Aren’t they just checking the chain of ownership and liens? Are they supposed to check to make sure I can use the property a certain way? I don’t know the answers.