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Recently, I had the opportunity to lecture at a Grabas Institute continuing education class entitled: "Chains, Links, Perches and Zygocephalum: The Zoology of Title Descriptions and Mapping." I assure you that my part had to do more with mapping than the other terms - most specifically: flood, wetland and tideland maps!

Here are some of the tidbits from the presentation that I thought you might find of interest:

Flood:

  • You can be in a flood plain even if you are not "close" to the water source.
  • If part of a structure is in a flood plain, the entire structure is considered to be in the flood plain. Therefore, those on the 12th floor of a high rise will be considered to also be in the flood plain.
  • If you are in a flood plain and think you have a valid case that you should not be, you do have recourse.  In the event that the property owner has a legitimate case, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will issue a Letter Of Map Amendment (LOMA) to revise their map to reflect an accurate determination on the property in question.
  • And - importantly - only FEMA can amend their maps.

Wetlands:

  • Do not assume that an area cannot be a wetland because it has a mature forest on it, or because it does not have standing water.
  • Many wetlands in New Jersey are forested areas without visible standing water.
  • Although not a direct title issue, some title companies order a wetland search to provide an extra level of service to their customers to advise them of potential land use restrictions.

Tidelands:

  • You can obtain a Tideland Grant, but this is almost exclusively for lands that are no longer tide flowed.
  • Grants can be denied due to a multitude of issues including land use and ownership issues.
  • Time Barred areas are those properties that are (or were) actually flowed by tide, but certain counties did not meet a specified deadline for identifying these areas.  Because of this, those lands are not considered claimed, but are considered Time Barred.  Why might it matter? Time Barred properties may have Grants on them that would provide specific usages! That is enough to stop a sale in its tracks!

I hope that those who attended enjoyed the presentation. And, if you did not attend, I am hearing that we may be invited back - so stay tuned!

Patrick T. Roe

Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing

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