Locating Property Lines

Why it is important to locate property lines.

Before performing any construction on your property, including building a fence, deck, gazebo, shed, garage or an addition to your house, it is necessary to establish where your lot lines are located. This provides evidence the building inspector needs to verify that a project is within the setback required by both zoning laws and building codes. Building outside setbacks or over wrongly assumed property lines may result in moving or dismantling your project. This can be costly and time consuming. If you don’t know the location of the property line, you can investigate by using one or more of the methods described below. The City of Oakdale does not provide this service.

Property lines often are casually delineated by where you and your neighbors mow lawns, plant flower beds or maintain fences. These borders may not be the property lines. Even if your neighbor agrees that this is the property line, problems can arise when either property is sold or property lines are found not to be where they had been assumed to be located. Do not assume that utility poles or boxes mark property line locations or that the sidewalk edge is the property line.

How to locate property lines.

The first step in finding your property lines is to determine the dimensions of your lot. You may be able to obtain this information from your deed, a plat map or a certificate of survey obtainable from the Building Inspection Division. You can also estimate where your property lines are using the Washington County Property Viewer. If you are able to obtain a certificate of survey with the as-built location of the house, you can measure from the house to find the property line. Use caution when using a certificate of survey because some show a proposed location of the house before it was built rather than the actual location. The City of Oakdale has a metal detector free for use. It is located at city hall in the Building Department, call for availability 651-739-5150.

The next step is to locate the survey pins. Often these are located at the corners of your lot and at the beginning of a curve if the property line curves. Ask your neighbors if they have recently located the survey pins for their properties. They can be a foot or more below grade.

Many lots in Oakdale were surveyed years ago and survey pins may have been removed. If this is the case, property lines may be located by measuring from the opposite pins on neighboring properties, if you are allowed to locate them. Other known locations of pins on the block could also help. Once you locate a survey pin, do not disturb its location. Any person who willfully removes, destroys, or defaces a monument lawfully erected is guilty of a misdemeanor.

When professional surveys are necessary.

If property lines cannot be determined by using these methods, you will need to hire a professional to survey your lot and put in new pins. You will be responsible for the cost of a new survey. You can also find information on the value of a property survey with the FAQ resource from the Minnesota Society of Professional Surveyors (mnsurveyor.com).

Call Before You Dig 

Minnesota law requires that any excavator call the state-wide notification center at least 48 hours (excluding weekends, holidays and emergencies) prior to the start of digging. Contact Gopher State One-Call at 651-454-0002 or you may dial 811 from your cell phone.

Surveyor List

This is a list of surveyors who have worked in the City of Oakdale.

E. G. Rud & Sons, Inc.  (Residential and Commercial)
6776 Lake Dr. Ste. 110
Lino Lakes, MN 55014

Folz Freeman Erickson, Inc. (Residential)
12445 55th St. N.
Lake Elmo, MN 55042

Landmark Surveying, Inc.  (Residential (if have plans) and Commercial)
21150 Ozark Av. N.
Scandia, MN 55073

Widseth Surveyors (Residential and Commercial)

Lakes and Land Surveyors (Residential and Commercial)