The title company had not yet sent me the preliminary title report attachments, so I requested that the information be sent to me via email. I was able to get into sleuthing mode detail, scouring the arcane language of surveys, easements, restrictive covenants, plats, and more.

Some very interesting things came out of it, most of it positive. I learned some good information regarding the existing drainfield and well easement area, and other title history.

The property immediately to the west/southwest of ours along Parker Road was apparently designated non-developable Open Space as part of the Burnham Place plat of homes. That’s great since it increases guaranteed buffer and habitat area up against our property.

The most important finding related to a boundary line issue: I discovered a well restrictive covenant that had been placed onto the property for the benefit of the waterfront lot below that is involved in the property boundary issue. Apparently the prior owner of the lots (our lot and the lower northwest corner waterfront lot were once a single contiguous lot before being subdivided) created this restrictive covenant so as to increase the developable area of the waterfront lot. Island County requires a 100 foot radius around a drilled well head, and this radius has restrictions on what could be done and placed within it. By allowing an undefined portion of that radius to go onto our future property, then potentially only half of the circle needed to reside on the waterfront lot and it increased building options on the 1.33 waterfront acre lot that was also otherwise constrained by shoreline building setbacks and such.

Unfortunately, this placed an unexpected and previously undisclosed new restrictive covenant on our property, though the ramifications should be somewhat minimal since we can still grow plants on it, walk on it, landscape, and do many other things to enjoy the land there. However, it does limit our options regarding where to keep animals, certain structures, our own well, septic drain fields, and such.

The waterfront lot neighbor placed the well head right on the edge of the boundary line, thus maximizing the amount of well restriction zone onto our property while minimizing it on their property and keeping the well head itself on their property as required. I now know they had a right to do that with the well location, and it makes sense from their perspective because of the existence of the well easement and the smaller lot size of their property.

  • January 2008