Are Filed Maps Outside the Chain of Title?
The Second Department seems to think so. In a decision squarely at odds with recent Court of Appeals precedent, the Appellate Division panel held that setback lines shown on a duly approved and filed subdivision map “are not deed restrictions that run with the land.” Butler v. Mathisson, 2014 NY Slip Op 01289 (2nd Dept., February 26, 2014).
The Court was careful to state at every turn that the setbacks at issue were not “deed restrictions” (as opposed to mere “restrictions”). It relied exclusively on case law that pertains to whether the burden of a restriction appears in a deed of record in the chain of title.
This analysis runs counter to the reasoning in O’Mara v. Town of Wappinger, 9 NY3d 303 (2007), in which a unanimous Court held that “by virtue of [the filing requirements of RPL §334 and Town Law §278], this statutory scheme afforded notice to the public” even though “there is no statutory requirement to record a plat in the chain of title.” Against this backdrop, Butler seems to be saying the filing of a map affords notice to everyone, except future purchasers of the burdened parcel.
The Butler opinion does not state whether the recorded conveyances refer to the filed map. Failing to incorporate the map by reference might support the result in this case and explain the precisely tailored characterization. The omission of such a crucial facet, however, diminishes the likelihood that this was the situation presented.