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3300 - Legal Description Manual

Published: April 2022

3301. Introduction

All legal descriptions prepared by or for the Ohio Department of Transportation shall be in accordance with the current Ohio Revised Code 4733 and Ohio Administrative Code Section 4733-37, all applicable county conveyance standards, the Real Estate Policies & Procedures Manual and applicable District guidelines. 

Property rights and interests acquired by ODOT are conveyed through the use of an instrument.  The instruments contain three parts, the Conveyance, the Acknowledgement and the “Exhibit A”.  A legal description prepared for ODOT on the appropriate RX Form is attached to the instrument as “Exhibit A”.  Refer to the Real Estate Policies and Procedures Manual, Section 5401 for details pertaining to the building of the instrument.
  
When a legal description is required for a total take parcel(s), the District Real Estate Administrator may request the descriptions be prepared and submitted as soon as they are identified and in advance of the remaining right of way parcel takes.

It is the responsibility of the right of way designer and/or reviewer to revise and correct any legal descriptions deemed unacceptable for transfer and/or recording.

When preparing a legal description for railroad property, the beginning point of each description shall be referenced to both the railroad valuation station and the highway centerline of right of way station.

All legal descriptions shall be prepared using the applicable RX Forms as supplied by ODOT.  For information on completing the RX Forms refer to the RX Form Training Guide and the Real Estate Policies and Procedures Manual, Section 5400, “Preparation and Execution of Instruments”.

3302. Standard Legal Description Format

The right of way plan designer and/or reviewer shall adhere to the following format when preparing each legal description:

3302.1 Caption

  1. A sufficient caption listing the general location of the parcel to be described making reference to any subdivision of which it might be a portion thereof and containing the following when applicable: State, county, city, village, civil township, section, survey township and range, lot, block, etc .  
  2. Provide a citation identifying the current record acreage and public record (e.g., deed or certificate of transfer) by which the owner, at the time the survey was prepared, claims title to the property.  This statement shall read:

being a part of a XX acres (parcel/tract) of land on record, as of the date this survey was prepared, in (Deed Vol/Page; Vol/Page; OR/Page; etc.) of the XXX County, Ohio Recorder’s Office (or appropriate office).    

  1. Identify which side(s) of centerline of right of way the parcel of land is lying on.  Include a statement identifying the right of way plan (county/route/section) referred to the centerline of right of way in the legal description.

3302.2 Body

  1. The initial point of reference of the description (ie. Commencing at…; Commencing for reference at…; Beginning for the same at…)” should be at a physically monumented, recoverable, recognized geographic point, be a clearly defined control station and shall be acceptable by the county office responsible for approving the transfer.   This initial point of reference should not be confused with the True/Principal Point of Beginning of the parcel being described. However, when the corner of the described parcel originates at the Reference Point, the True/Principal Point of Beginning and the Reference Point become one and the same.
  2. If the initial point of reference of the description is NOT a physically acceptable survey monument, then it shall be witnessed by a physically acceptable survey monument per Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 4733-37-03.  Provide documentation and the geographical location of the boundary monument in the right of way plans used as the initial point of the legal description.
  3. The True Point of Beginning "for the Parcel of land being described" shall be referenced to the centerline of right of way by station and offset.
  4. Sufficient identification and clarification of the intent regarding adjoiners and intent of a course to follow an existing line, if applicable.  Here are a few examples:

"...with the grantor's easterly property line...".
"...with the existing Southerly Right of Way line...".
"...with the existing centerline of Right of Way...". 

  1. Each course recited in the legal description shall include the bearing/direction of the line relative to the direction of the basis of bearing.  The bearing precision shall be to the nearest second.  Each course shall be on a separate line.

When describing a bearing/direction use the words "degree," "minutes," and "seconds."  Symbols may be used at the discretion of District Survey Operation Manager.

  1. All distances shall be shown in English units of U.S. survey foot (or when implemented, the International survey foot) with two (2) decimal places of precision. 
  2. All curves shall recite the radius, central angle, curve length, chord bearing, chord length and direction of the curve.
  3. The bearings, distances and curve data of each call must match the right of way plans.
  4. Specification of any monuments, e.g., iron pins, iron pipes, railroad spikes, etc., shall be cited in the legal description as found or set.  If a general statement is used to denote monument set, i.e., iron pin or iron bar set, add a statement at the end of the legal description identifying in detail what the monument set consists of including any labels stamped on the cap.  Example: Iron pins set are 3/4" diameter steel rods, 30" long, with a 1-1/2" diameter aluminum cap stamped "ODOT R/W PS XXXX".
  5. Station and offset calls to the centerline of right of way and/or other val maps shall be included at the discretion of the county conveyance requirements and/or the District Survey Operation Manager. 

3302.3 Closing

The following closing statements (when applicable) must follow the metes and bounds section of each and every legal description.  The closing statements should appear in separate paragraphs, in the order shown below:

  1. Provide a statement indicating the acreage/square feet of the take area and also provide a breakout (acreage/square feet) of the Present Road Occupied (PRO) in the take area.

EXAMPLE:
Containing in all 0.500 acres, gross, of which 0.200 acres is PRO (present road occupied), leaving a net take of 0.300 acres, more or less, subject to all legal easements and rights of way.

OR

Containing in all 0.500 acres, gross, of which 0.000 acres is PRO (present road occupied), leaving a net take of 0.500 acres, more or less, subject to all legal easements and rights of way.

  1. Provide a statement indicating the applicable County Auditor's Permanent Parcel number(s) in which the parcel of land is located.  

EXAMPLE:
The above described area is part of currently assigned XXX County Auditor’s Parcel Number 123-456-78900

When a parcel contains multiple Auditor's Parcel numbers provide a breakdown of the area contained in each auditor's parcel number, including the Present Road Occupied (PRO) in the take.

EXAMPLE:
The above described area is part of the following XXX County Auditor’s Parcel Numbers:
0.350 Acres (of which 0.105 Acres is PRO) is within 123-456-789
0.150 acres (of which 0.095 Acres is PRO) is within  987-654-321.

For all parcels which an Auditor's Parcel number cannot be found, provide a statement indicating that the described area is NOT a part of any currently assigned Auditor's Parcel number.

EXAMPLE:
The above described area is not part of a currently assigned XXX County Auditor’s Parcel Number.

  1. Provide a statement identifying the basis of bearings used in the legal description.  Also provide a statement identifying the basis of stationing used in the legal description (Example: existing plan, val maps, S.L.M., etc.). 
  2. When applicable, provide a detailed statement identifying any set monuments.  

EXAMPLE:
Iron pins set are 3/4" diameter steel rods, 30" long, with a 1-1/2" diameter aluminum cap stamped "ODOT R/W PS XXXX". 

  1. Provide a statement listing the surveyor’s name who prepared the legal description, his/her surveyor's Ohio registration number.   When multiple surveyors are used in the right of way plan development process be sure to include all appropriate surveyor’s names and registration numbers.
  2. A statement that the legal description is based either on a survey and the date of the survey OR the right of way plan on file with the appropriate District and the final right of way plan date.
  3. Surveyors signature, date the description was signed and the surveyor’s seal.

3303 Legal Description Submission Requirements

The right of way designer and/or reviewer shall provide the following with the Final Right of Way Plan Submission

  1. Provide legal descriptions that are acceptable for recording and (when required) have been approved and/or pre-approved by the applicable county office (County Engineer’s Tax Map Office, Auditor’s Office, GIS, etc.).
  2. Provide all documentation of pre-approval.  (Example: emails, stamps, etc.)
  3. Submit a paper copy (along with an electronic copy) of the legal description with appropriate surveyor’s name, registration number, signatures, dates and seal.
  4. Submit a paper copy (along with an electronic copy) of the mathematical closure for each right of way parcel using the bearings and distances recited in the legal description courses (Map check derived from the point coordinates are not acceptable).