The Statewide Title Newsletter and Legal Memorandum

The Statewide Title Newsletter and Legal Memorandum Printable Article - Statewide Title, Inc.

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Issue  193  Article  326
Published:  12/1/2011

Alamance - Orange Boundary to Shift
Chris Burti, Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel

The Boundary line between Alamance and Orange counties will change officially as of January 1, 2012 for 91% of the common length (Session Law 2011-88) and again on January 1, 2013 for the remaining 9% (Session Law 2011-87). An official survey is recorded in each Register of Deeds office.

The historic boundary line forming Alamance County from Orange County was described, surveyed and established in 1849. Since then, the location of the line has become largely uncertain as a result of unofficial and unintentional modifications which affect taxation of real property, accuracy of zoning maps as well as the location of school attendance and elections districts within the two counties.

Both county boards of commissioners adopted resolutions (Alamance County on December 17, 2007, and Orange County on January 18, 2008) requesting the North Carolina Geodetic Survey to perform a resurvey of the line for consideration by the counties pursuant to G.S. 153A-18(a). The North Carolina General Assembly enacted S.L. 2010-61, enabling the counties to reallocate properties between the two counties in order for the North Carolina General Assembly to be able to establish a common boundary line that both counties mutually agreed upon. The counties were able to agree with respect to 91% of the boundary line separating Alamance County and Orange County.

The respective County Commissioners have been given more time to determine the most appropriate location of the final 9% of the boundary line separating Alamance and Orange County in order to make a final recommendation for the most appropriate location of the boundary line separating the two counties along the remaining 9% of the boundary line to the General Assembly on or before October 31, 2011. They are to have the remaining area surveyed and where owners of property located within the remaining boundary area request their property be located within a specific County, those owners will be responsible for the costs of such surveys. All such surveys shall be completed by January 31, 2012. A lien in the nature of a tax lien under Chapter 105 of the General Statutes may be placed on an owner's property to recover the costs of any surveys advanced by the counties and these liens may be enforced as if they were taxes. Prior to the short session of the General Assembly in 2012, the County Boards of Commissioners must submit a recommendation in the form of a local bill for the location of a final boundary line along the remaining area separating the two counties. Affected property owners have the right to address the County Boards of Commissioners regarding the status of their property located within the remaining area, as that status relates to the affected boundary, at any regularly scheduled public meeting where public comment is traditionally accepted.

Until the final boundary line separating the two counties is established, they must maintain the currently recognized boundary line in the nine percent (9%) boundary area for all governmental purposes. All documents required or permitted to be filed or registered, involving residents and property in areas affected by the resurvey of the boundary line that previously were recorded in one of the counties must be recorded in the county to which the property has been reassigned after January 1, 2012 except as otherwise provided in SL 2011-88. Unlike older boundary relocations, public records filed or recorded prior to July 1, 2011 relating to residents and property located in areas affected by the resurvey of the boundary line will remain in the County where originally filed and will be valid public records as to the property and persons involved, even though they are recorded in the adjoining county where they are no longer located. This will make title examination with respect to affected properties particularly difficult where the properties pass by intestacy or operation of law. The GIS departments of the respective counties will be the source of the most reliable information with regard to relocated parcels and title examiners will often need to commute between the county seats in order to complete title searches for those affected properties. Please note, that there are some areas of maps with no official county line shown, this is not an error, and these are the areas representing the last 9% that will change in 2013.

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