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No rolling stones

Surveyors examine impact of moving stone markers

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Local surveyor Todd Hendricks with his surveying equipment mounted on a survey marker at the corner of Second Ave. and Market St. in downtown Warren.

So what that the survey markers spread around the City of Warren are historical artifacts in their own right?

If you wind up in a property dispute, you might think otherwise.

The 6“-by-6” squares visible at several intersections throughout the City of Warren mark the legal right-of-ways for city streets and can still be found in legal descriptions for planning utility locations, streetscape projects and highway improvement projects.

And even though the monuments are well over 100 years old, modern surveying equipment has revealed them to be right on the money.

A letter sent to the city by several local surveyors highlights the issue.

Photo provided to the Times Observer A glance at part of a survey map depicting Pennsylvania Ave. The monuments are clearly indicated by the term “stone.”

“The removal of these stone monuments not only represents a loss of historical significance but the removal of these monuments and other survey monuments along street right-of-ways have long lasting repercussions.”

“The importance of these monuments stretches far beyond land surveyors,” Joe McGraw, a local surveyor and president of the Northwest Chapter of the PA Society of Land Surveyors, said. “The lack thereof or destruction of these monuments… can prove costly to the public and to private landowners within the city.”

“In some cases, damaged or missing survey monuments can lead to litigation relating to boundary disputes and title claims.”

The letter also details the key challenge.

“There are a number of these stone monuments that have been erroneously reset by contractors and utility companies and now serve no historical significance or usefulness,” the surveyors explained. “This is (a) detriment to the public and these disturbed monuments may as well be removed as they are only perpetuating an erroneous location and can act as a catalyst for future boundary litigation or conflict.”

The surveyors indicate that the destruction of these monuments can cause an “unnecessary financial burden on the taxpayers and residents adjoining streets within the City of Warren.”

In addition to raising the cost of a lot survey for residents, they assert that the “lack or loss of these survey monuments inherently adds risk and legal liability for the city.”

“Once an original survey monument is removed, the true location of the monument can be lost forever.”

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