Parcel Boundary Adjustments VS Lot Line Adjustments

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The same, or not the same?  That is a very good question!

Sometimes big disputes happen between neighbors over small surveying errors or suspiciously-placed fences. But other times, landowners know where their property lines are, what their local zoning regulations require, and want to adjust property boundaries for either economic reasons or to remedy non-conformance issues. 

Navigating parcel boundary and lot line adjustments isn’t hard – so long as you don’t mix up two similar, but significantly different processes defined in State Code.

What Is A Parcel Boundary Adjustment?

In Utah, a parcel boundary adjustment is the transfer of property by deed or parcel boundary agreement to a respective owner (or owners) of contiguous property for the purpose of adjusting the boundary line of a parcel but not for the purpose of creating an additional parcel. “Parcel” being the keyword – and defined in Utah State Code as any real property that is not a “lot” (i.e. a tract of land, regardless of any label, that is created and shown on a recorded subdivision plat.)

For example, Neighbor A might decide they need an extra ten feet along one side of their yard to expand a garden. Neighbor B might have extra land than the minimum required by local zoning ordinances and decide to sell the extra land to Neighbor A. If Neighbor A and Neighbor B properties are not part of a platted subdivision – they are candidates for a parcel boundary adjustment.  

Parcel boundary adjustments are subject to three requirements (see Utah State Statute §10-9a-523): 

  • Adjustment must be executed through a quitclaim deed or through a boundary line agreement
  • The adjustment must be recorded in the Office of the County Recorder.
  • If the parcels are not in compliance with land use regulations or if one of the parcels has a dwelling on it, then the boundary adjustment may be subject to review and approval by the land use authority. 

If the parcel boundary adjustment requires review and approval by the land use authority – land use authorities should be aware that they only have 14 days to review, and notify the application of any application deficiencies.  Otherwise Utah law dictates the property owners may move forward with recording the parcel boundary agreement as if no review is required.    

What Is A Lot Line Adjustment?

Much like a parcel boundary adjustment, a lot line adjustment is the relocation of a boundary line either between two lots, or between a lot and a parcel. Since the change affects lot(s) which are depicted on recorded subdivision plats, lot line adjustments are considered subdivision amendments, and are subject to the same requirements.

Utah State Code requires that all lot line adjustments be approved by the land use authority, regardless of whether they involve dwellings or not. The requirements for a lot line adjustment are as follows (see §10-9a-103,-608,-524):

  • The adjustment is approved by the Land Use Authority;
  • The adjustment does not violate zoning requirements;
  • The adjustment is executed via quitclaim deed or boundary line agreement; and
  • The adjustment is recorded in the Office of the County Recorder.

The way that the application for a lot line adjustment is administratively processed depends on the specific application, so it’s always best to consult your local ordinances and §10-9a-608 of Utah State Code for specific requirements and additional guidance.

If Your Planning Commission Is On The Fence

Then you might need some professional advice to figure out a win-win solution for your municipality’s toughest land use issues.

Call Rural Community Consultants today to get expert planning and administration advice to make your community the best it can be. 

Want To Learn More?

Check out our online training modules! Note: We are able to provide access to specific training modules free of charge, courtesy of the Utah Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman.

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