GAINESVILLE - A new law effective on July 1 significantly overhauls long-standing statutes applicable to land plats and maps filed in Superior Court Clerks' offices in Georgia.
Act 599 enacted by legislators this year makes the following changes:
Limits plat size.
Requires submittal of full-scale digital images of all plats submitted for filing.
Substitutes statutory minimum standards and specifications for preparing plats with rules and regulations adopted by the State Board of Registration for
Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.
Provides a criminal penalty for licensed Surveyors who fraudulently certify that a plat does not require approval of local Planning and Zoning agencies in order to be filed in the Clerk's office.
"Essentially, the biggest change impacting our customers is that, when a plat or map is submitted to the Clerk of Superior Court for filing, the filing party must submit two original paper copies with an original signature of the surveyor in a contrasting color of ink and a digital full-scale copy of the actual paper original on a Compact Disk (CD), scanned in Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) at 200 dpi resolution," explained Charles Baker, Clerk of the Superior Court of Hall County. "Historically, submittal of digital images was not required, but at the request of the members of the Surveying and Mapping Society of Georgia and Superior Court Clerks, a provision was added to the act requiring the filing party to provide them at the time of filing."
Baker added that doing so shifts the costs for digitizing plats from taxpayers to those actually filing plats and improves the legibility and quality of original plats when copies are required after filing and recording.
Providing filing systems for permanently recording and displaying plats is very expensive, Baker explained.
"Purchasing plat cabinets for over-sized plats run as high as $10,000 per cabinet when including costs for the cabinet and vinyl slides for organizing and displaying plats so that the public can access them. So, to help contain costs, the new act simply prohibits filing of a plat greater than 24 inches by 36 inches in size. This provision will yield additional savings to taxpayers since the Clerk will no longer have to pay a vendor to digitally image over-sized plats in order to include and provide public access to them via local and statewide electronic computer-based networks."
All digital images of plats and maps, once filed in the local Clerk's office, are transmitted in accordance with state law to the Georgia Superior Court Clerks' Cooperative Authority and are accessible on the Authority's statewide real estate information system at www.gsccca.org.
Plats and maps of land are filed and permanently recorded in the Superior Court Clerk's office of the county in which the property is located as a means for providing public access, legally protecting interests of property owners, and for delineation of property lines and boundaries. The Clerk is the official legal custodian of all real estate and personal property records of the county.