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Regulations

The following rules and regulations are presented for information purposes only. The only legally binding copy of these rules and regulations is that published in the Maryland Register and codified in COMAR and should be obtained from the Secretary of State's Division of State Documents (DSD).

TITLE 14
INDEPENDENT AGENCIES
Subtitle 18 STATE ARCHIVES

Chapter 01 Certificates of Reservation and Land Patents

Authority: State Government Article, 9-1007, Annotated Code of Maryland

.01 Applications for Certificates of Reservation.

    All applications for certificates of reservation shall be on forms required by the Commissioner of Land Patents and shall, in the case of a unit of State government, be filed with a copy of the Board of Public Works agenda item approving the request to apply or, in the case of any other governmental body, be filed with a copy of a document from the appropriate authority approving the request to apply. An application may not be considered filed until it has been determined complete and in order by the Commissioner or the Commissioner's authorized agent.
.02 Applications for Warrants to Survey or Resurvey.

      A. All applications for warrants to survey or resurvey shall be on forms required by the Commissioner of Land Patents and shall be filed in triplicate with certified copies of documents, where required, attached to each copy. The application shall be accompanied by cash, check, or money order in the amount of $100.00. An application may not be considered filed until it has been determined complete and in order by the Commissioner or his duly authorized agent.

      B. In complying with Real Property Article, 13-302(a)(2), Annotated Code of Maryland, that is, in supplying the names and addresses of all persons other than the applicant who would obtain a direct or indirect title interest in the land, the applicant may list a spouse but need not list all possible heirs to the title. It is to be understood that the purpose of Real Property Article, 13-302(a)(2), is to make certain that the applicant is applying solely on his own behalf and not on the behalf of any hidden partners, commercial enterprise, corporate or otherwise, or as an agent on behalf of any undisclosed principals.

.03 Warrants.

      A. Warrants to survey or resurvey shall be on forms prescribed by the Commissioner of Land Patents and shall be sent to the surveyor by the Commissioner with a copy of the application attached. The notice of issuance of warrant required by Real Property Article, 13-308, shall be prepared by the Commissioner and sent to the applicant who shall then see to its newspaper publication and posting and provide the Commissioner with the certificate of publication and the sheriff's certificate of posting. All costs of the publication and posting shall be borne by the applicant, and the Commissioner of Land Patents bears no responsibility for it.

      B. In his acknowledgment of receipt of the warrant, the surveyor shall understand "last publication of notice" in Real Property Article, 13-307(b)(2), to mean the last publication in a newspaper as specified in Real Property Article, 13-308(c)(1)(i). That is to say, the surveyor shall set a date for making the survey which shall be no earlier than 10 days and no later than 6 months after the appearance of the third weekly newspaper notice required by Real Property Article, 13-308(c)(1)(i).

.04 Surveys.

    Upon issuance of a warrant to survey or resurvey, the applicant shall immediately contact the surveyor and shall cooperate with the surveyor in all respects as he may require. Compensation of the surveyor shall be the exclusive responsibility of the applicant, and the Commissioner of Land Patents assumes no responsibility for it.

.05 Previously Performed Surveys.

      A. The Commissioner may accept a previously performed survey upon finding that the surveyor is a qualified professional land surveyor, that the survey was conducted in accordance with standards required by the Commissioner, and that adjoining landowners were given written notice of the survey.

      B. Unless as otherwise provided, the provisions of Real Property Article, Title 13, Annotated Code of Maryland, and this chapter applicable to a survey performed pursuant to a warrant issued by the Commissioner are applicable to a previously performed survey.

.06 Certificates of Survey.

      A. Certificates of survey shall be on forms prescribed by the Commissioner of Land Patents and shall be filed in duplicate.

      B. The plat required by Real Property Article, 13-310(b)(1), shall be filed in duplicate. Both plats shall be submitted on linen sheets or an acceptable equivalent. The signature and seal of the surveyor shall be affixed to the plats as well as to the certificates of survey.

      C. Upon receipt of the certificates, plats, and surveyor's description of the land to be patented, the Commissioner shall immediately forward copies to the Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources so those agencies can better determine whether the land will be needed for future public use.

.07 Certificate of Valuation.

      A. In providing the statement of the reasons for the valuation as required by Real Property Article, 13-313(b)(3), the assessors shall be as specific as possible. Mere statements as "based on sales in the area" are inadequate. Examples of recent sales valuations of similar property should be included in the reasons for the valuation.

      B. In the case of an application by a governmental body for a certificate of reservation, the Supervisor of Assessments is not required to assess the value of the land.

.08 Objections.

      A. Persons entitled to object under Real Property Article, 13-401, shall do so in the manner prescribed under Real Property Article, 13-402, within 6 months after the issuance of the warrant to survey or 60 days after the surveyor's return of the certificate of survey, whichever is later.

      B. Acceptance of a previously performed survey does not preclude an objector from raising any objection that might otherwise have been raised had the survey been performed pursuant to a warrant issued by the Commissioner.

.09 Determination of Forum.

    Requests of parties to the proceeding for referral to the circuit court may be made in the manner and within the time required by Real Property Article, 13-405, Annotated Code of Maryland, and the Commissioner's determination of an appropriate forum shall be final.

.10 Hearings Before Commissioner.

      A. This regulation governs hearings on an application for a land patent or a certificate of reservation. To the extent that is practical, as determined by the Commissioner, this regulation also governs other hearings conducted by the Commissioner.

      B. Location and Date. The hearing shall take place at the State Archives, 350 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis, Maryland, on the date and at a time specified by the Commissioner. For cause, the Commissioner may designate another site as the place for the hearing. At the request of a party or at the Commissioner's initiative, a hearing may be postponed or continued to another date and time or moved to another site.

      C. Notice. At least 15 days before the hearing, the Commissioner shall send a written notice to all parties advising them of the place, date, and time of the hearing. To the extent that the issues have been defined, the notice shall state the issues to be considered and decided. In the event of a postponement or continuance, the Commissioner shall give notice as may be effective in the circumstances.

      D. Parties. The applicant and a person or governmental entity which has filed an objection are parties.

      E. Representation. Parties may appear in proper person or by counsel. Parties represented by counsel shall advise the Commissioner of the counsel's name at least 10 days before the hearing.

      F. Presiding Officer. The Commissioner is the presiding officer at the hearing. The Commissioner has complete charge of the hearing and shall conduct it in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

      G. Counsel to the Presiding Officer. If requested by the Commissioner, counsel to the State Archives or another attorney designated by the Attorney General shall serve as counsel to the Commissioner. Counsel to the Commissioner has all the rights and privileges that counsel for a party would have.

      H. Prehearing Conference. The Commissioner may, upon due notice, hold a prehearing conference with the parties for the purpose of defining the issues, entering stipulations, and resolving other matters preliminary to the hearing.

      I. List of Witnesses, Exhibits, and Documents. Before the hearing, the Commissioner may order the parties to file a list of witnesses, exhibits, and documents which they expect to call or introduce into evidence. Copies of the list shall be made available to all parties.

      J. Record and Transcript.

        (1) The Commissioner shall prepare an official record, which includes the pleadings, testimony, exhibits, and other memoranda or material filed in the proceeding.

        (2) Unless waived by all parties, a stenographic record of the hearing shall be made and the expense shall be one of the costs of the hearing. If the record is transcribed at the direction of the Commissioner, a party may obtain a copy upon paying the cost of reproduction. If the record is not transcribed at the direction of the Commissioner, a party may, at the party's own expense, request that the record be transcribed and the Commissioner and any party may obtain a copy upon payment of the cost of reproduction.

      K. Order of Procedure. Unless directed otherwise by the Commissioner, the applicant shall call witnesses and present evidence first. The objecting parties shall then call witnesses and present evidence. The applicant may then call witnesses and present evidence in rebuttal.

      L. Opening Statements. The parties or their counsel may make opening statements.

      M. Witnesses, Evidence, and Motions.

        (1) Subject to the rules of evidence of the Administrative Procedure Act, the parties and the Commissioner may call witnesses and present evidence.

        (2) Witnesses shall testify under oath and are subject to cross examination by the other parties and the Commissioner, or the Commissioner's counsel.

        (3) Parties may make motions, exceptions, and objections. As the Commissioner considers appropriate, the Commissioner may allow other parties to respond. Except for good cause, the Commissioner shall promptly rule on all motions, exceptions, and objections.

        (4) Parties represented by counsel may only examine and cross examine witnesses and make motions, exceptions, objections, and responses by counsel.

        (5) The burden of proof is on the applicant.

      N. Memoranda and Briefs. The Commissioner may allow the parties to submit memoranda and briefs in the form and number as the Commissioner may direct.

      O. Closing Arguments. The parties or their counsel may make closing arguments.

      P. Opinions. The Commissioner shall issue a written opinion within 30 days of the end of the hearing. A copy shall be promptly sent to each party.

      Q. Costs. The Commissioner may assess a party with any part of the costs of the hearing.

.11 Purchase Price.

      A. The purchase price shall be the fair market value of the land, as determined by the Commissioner under Real Property Article, 13-313, as amended by the Acts of 1977, Chapter 162, less all expenses of the surveyor, reasonable attorney's fees and costs charged by the Commissioner. Within 15 days after the hearing, the applicant must submit an account of the expenses deductible by law. Publication costs are not deductible items under current legislation.

      B. A governmental body requesting a certificate of reservation is not required to pay the purchase price of the land.

.12 Certificates of Reservation.

    In the case of an application for a certificate of reservation, the Commissioner's opinion and findings shall constitute the certificate of reservation and the description of the land provided by the surveyor shall be made an attachment thereto.

.13 Patents.

    After the Commissioner has prepared, sealed, and signed the patent, he shall forward it to the assistant attorney general assigned. The assistant attorney general shall then examine the patent as to form and legal sufficiency, and, if the contents be deemed in order, he shall endorse the patent in the space beneath the Commissioner's signature with the statement, "Approved as to form and legal sufficiency this ___ day of ____, 19__" and affix his signature. The patent shall then be forwarded by the Commissioner to the Board of Public Works as required under Real Property Article, 13-502, as amended by Acts of 1977, Chapter 162. If the patent is approved, the patent shall be endorsed, "Approved by the Board of Public Works this ___ day of ____, 19__" and signed by the Secretary of the Board of Public Works.

.14 Mail.

    In addition to using restricted delivery for mailing the warrant (Real Property Article, 13-306), the notice of issuance of warrant (Real Property Article, 13-308(a)), the notice of the return of the certificate of survey (Real Property Article, 13-311 (b)(2)), the order for hearing or order for referral of hearing (Real Property Article, 13-405(c)(2)), and the notice of purchase price (Real Property Article, 13-409), as required by the Annotated Code of Maryland, the Commissioner shall use restricted delivery for requesting the valuation of the Supervisor of Assessments, for issuing copies of the final judgment, and for issuing the patent to the applicant.

.15 Expenses.

    If the Commissioner finds that an applicant for a land patent acted in bad faith and without substantial justification, the Commissioner may require the applicant to pay the reasonable expenses of the objectors, including the objector's attorneys' fees and expert witness fees, and the reasonable expenses of the Commissioner, including administration, research, and hearing expenses.

.16 General.

      A. These procedural regulations are not intended to change any part of the Real Property Article, Title 13, Annotated Code of Maryland. The intention is to clarify certain provisions thereof and to provide an orderly procedure for the granting of certificates of reservation or the issuance of land patents.

      B. Except as otherwise provided, the provisions of Real Property Article, Title 13, Annotated Code of Maryland, and this chapter applicable to the issuing of land patents are applicable to the granting of certificates of reservation.

Administrative History

Effective date: October 6, 1978 (5:20 Md. R. 1498)

    Chapter recodified from COMAR 04.01.01 to 04.20.01
    Chapter recodified from COMAR 04.20.01 to 14.18.01 effective June 29, 1987 (14:13 Md. R. 1474)
    Regulation .04C amended effective June 29, 1987 (14:13 Md. R. 1474)
    Regulation .08A amended effective June 29, 1987 (14:13 Md. R. 1474)
    Chapter revised effective July 4, 1994 (21:13 Md. R. 1159)
    Regulation .03 amended effective December 17, 2007 (34:25 Md. R. 2214)
    Regulation .05A amended effective December 17, 2007 (34:25 Md. R. 2214)


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