County to fix property line map mistake

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Beth Gohs

Staff Writer

Have you compared your property lines with the county’s maps lately?

Boyne City area resident Roger Conaway did just that, and what he found shocked him.

“This isn’t a usual error. This is a blatant error,” Conaway said at the March 11 Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners meeting. “I know the law in regards to assessors … and I said at the last meeting that you’re in charge of everybody in this building as the commissioners.”
He added, “I’d like to find out who did this.”

According to Conaway, he realized there was an error while speaking with the assessor. She apparently alerted him that a new map had been drawn which improperly depicted his property.

Conaway brought the matter to the attention of the county board at an earlier meeting date where he was directed to the

Charlevoix County Equalization Department as well as the county’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which makes all the maps for the county.

According to Conaway, he asked the departments for help but was given none.

Conaway then brought the matter up to the county board again on March 11, where he again asked for help.

“I don’t know who made that map, and I don’t know what the intent was, but I want to remind you again what the civil council had suggested was you hire an attorney,” said Charlevoix County Board Chairman Joel Evans.

Conaway asked why it was his responsibility to pay for the county to fix a mistake that it made.

“I feel that somebody was trying to manipulate this map … because I have issues with the Boyne City road,” Conaway said…. “I just felt that, why am I being singled out? Because I’m the most outspoken one on this road?”

Conaway said he measured the feet of the misrepresentation on the map, and that it was five feet deep onto his property line facing the road.

Conaway said it was Charlevoix County Commissioner George T. Lasater (R-District 1) who managed to convince the county to hear his concerns.

And, since the March 11 meeting, the county has begun working with Conaway on fixing the error.

Charlevoix County GIS Coordinator Brian Kelly said the maps used to be hand drawn, and that the county is converting to digital drawings of maps, which was where the mistake likely occurred.

“Whenever you take something from a scanned map, it degrades the quality of it and there’s the accuracy of the lines are always plus or minus 30 feet,” said Kelly. “So, more specifically with his tax map representing his parcel, what he owns, in Bay township is not correct and so we can correct it to within a degree of plus or minus 30 feet of what it actually is on the surface of the yard.”

Kelly said he is working to determine just how much of Conaway’s property has been affected.

“What I’m going to do is go through that particular area and see if I can … draw in basically what a person’s property is described as,” he said.

The tax map drawings are based off what an owner’s deed says.

Kelly said he expects a correct aerial map to be redrawn within the next week.