The Challenge: Forgotten “Gap” Parcels Separate Land From Perimeter Road, Hurting The Value Of Land Offered For Sale

Downers Grove High School District 99 purchased a 44-acre tract of land in 1972 for a future high school site without the benefit of a land survey. In 2005, the district decided to sell the land. The land’s highest value was for its development potential, but that was threatened because, a forgotten 10-foot-wide strip of land prohibited legal access from the property to public roads.

The Solution: Research, Fact-Finding And Land Boundary Expertise

Compass went well beyond the traditional work of a surveyor. We began by researching prior surveys, historical maps, title commitments and dedication plats of adjoining roadways. We discovered the existence of “gap” parcels (10 to 15 feet wide) deliberately created and shown on 1972 roadway dedication documents. Through further research, Compass identified the owner of the “gap” parcels as a Chicago Title Insurance trust.

We prepared redlined copies of all documents and identified the suspected owner of the gap parcels, a trust number, and approximate year the gaps were created and forwarded that information to the title company and real estate attorney. Since the trust had been closed, no land was thought to have been left in the trust; however, title to the problem gap parcels was still vested in the trust. Compass helped both the title company and attorney by preparing new legal descriptions for the proper conveyance documents, giving the school district “free and clear” ownership of the gap parcels, eliminating the access issue to the dedicated road thus maximizing the land’s development potential and value.

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