We had a couple of unusual looking plans be presented for recording this week which caused me to revisit our Plan Standards which can be found in Appendix B of the Massachusetts Deeds Indexing Standards. Here are the standards in their entirety:
1. Size of Plan. Plan sizes shall be a minimum of eight and one-half inches by eleven inches (8 1/2" x 11") and a maximum of twenty-four inches by thirty-six inches (24" x 36")
2. Plan Material. Plans being presented for recording shall be on linen or polyester film (“mylar”), single matte with a thickness of .003 mils1, and must have an opacity so as to allow consistent computer scanning and Diazo and microfilm reproduction.
3. Type of Ink. All plans shall be prepared using a compatible ink with excellent cohesiveness which will produce a permanent bond and result in a plan with long term durability. All signatures must be in black India ink or its equal.
4. Plan Reproductions. Linen or polyester reproductions shall be accepted for recording provided they contain original signatures and comply with the other requirements for the recording of plans.
5. Borders. Each plan shall have three quarter inch (3/4") borders.
6. Size of Letters. The minimum letter size on plans presented for recording shall be one-eighth (1/8") if free-hand lettering is used and one-tenth inch (1/10") if lettering guides are used.
7. Graphic Scale. Each plan presented for recording shall include a graphic scale.
8. Recitations or Certifications. Each plan shall have an area reserved to receive planning board recitation or contain a surveyors certification as per Chapter 380, Acts of 1966 (G.L. c. 41, s. 81x).
9. “Registry Square.” Each sheet of each plan shall have a three and one-half (3 1/2") square
10. Certification Clause. Each plan must contain a certification clause signed by the person preparing the plan stating that he has conformed with the rules and regulations of the Registers of Deeds in preparing the plan.
11. No Tape or Raised Print. No tape adhesion or the like shall be placed on any plan presented for recording or registration. Plans presented for recording shall not contain any raised print.
The first plan was a condominium site plan that showed the footprint of the buildings on the lot. The buildings were clear enough but existing foliage was depicted on the plan in big globs of green. From my reading, the standards are silent as to the use of color in the plans. We were able to make a scan of the plan that showed all features even though the green on the original came out as gray on our black and white scanner/printer so I allowed the thing to be recorded. Certainly color adds much to plans but our equipment and software is all designed for black and white. In the short term, there will be a temptation to amend the rules to ban colored markings on plans, but I think that would be short sighted since eventually the equipment needed to work with color will become affordable to us.
The second issue involved a condo floor plan that was done on an 14-inch by 8.5-inch sheet of Mylar. So much was crammed onto the plan that the 3x3 inch "registry box" required by the plan regulations was omitted. (One of the things taking up space was the draftsman's certification that the plan "complied with the rules and regulations of the registry of deeds." We were able to squeeze the recording information into the margin so I did allow the plan to be recorded, but if we see any more plans like this we will have to become more strict in applying the regulations.