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AGO 1966 No. 116 - October 24, 1966
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington


OFFICES AND OFFICERS ‑- COUNTY TREASURER ‑- PLATS AND SUBDIVISIONS ‑- NECESSITY OF PAYMENTS OF DEPOSIT FOR TAXES WHEN FILING REPLAT UNDER CHAPTER 58.12 RCW.

RCW 58.08.040, which requires a landowner to make a deposit of money in connection with the filing of a plat, does not apply to a replat filed under the provisions of chapter 58.12 RCW.

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                                                                October 24, 1966

Honorable C. E. Hormel
Prosecuting Attorney
Adams County
210 West Broadway
Ritzville, Washington 99169

                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 65-66 No. 116

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged, you requested an opinion of this office on a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            Are the provisions of RCW 58.08.040, requiring a landowner to make a deposit of money in connection with the filing of a plat, applicable to a replat filed under the provisions of chapter 58.12 RCW?

            Secondly, you have asked whether, in the event of an affirmative answer to this question, the answer would be affected if the purpose of the replat is simply to correct a previous defective plat.

            We answer your primary question in the negative for the reasons set forth in our analysis; consideration of your second question is, therefore, unnecessary.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            According to the facts outlined in your letter, and subsequently in a telephone conversation with you, the property in question was originally platted as an addition to a town, around 1900, under the provisions of RCW 58.08.010.  However,  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] this original plat incorrectly describes the width of the lots as 100', rather than 90'.  There is a desire to correct these plats, and rather than use the procedures permitted by chapter 58.10 RCW,1/ the proposal is simply to file a replat of the area with correct descriptions under chapter 58.12 RCW.  Your principal question is whether, under this set of facts, the deposit specified in RCW 58.08.040,supra, is required.

            Chapter 58.12 RCW prescribes procedures for the filing of altered plats and replats.  While RCW 58.12.020 requires the payment of a certain cost as a condition upon which the clerk shall fix a time for hearing on the matter, there is no provision in the chapter for the payment of any deposit for the payment of taxes.  Such a monetary deposit is required in the case of plats filed under the provisions of chapter 58.08 RCW.  RCW 58.08.040 provides:

            "Any person filing aplat subsequent to May 31st in any year and prior to the date of the collection of taxes, shall deposit with the county treasurer a sum equal to the product of the county assessor's latest valuation multiplied by the current year's millage rate increased by twenty-five percent on the propertyplatted.  The treasurer's receipt for said amount shall be taken by the auditor as evidence of the payment of the tax.  The treasurer shall appropriate so much of said deposit as will pay the taxes on the said property when the tax rolls are placed in his hands for collection, and in case the sum deposited is in excess of the amount necessary for the payment of the said taxes, the treasurer shall return, to the party depositing, the amount of said excess, taking his receipt therefor, which receipt shall be accepted for its face value on the treasurer's quarterly settlement with the county auditor."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            Thus, restated, your question is simply whether the word "plat" in RCW 58.08.040,supra, includes "replats" filed under the provisions of chapter 58.12 RCW,supra.  We conclude that it does not.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            The question is one of legislative intent.  In the process of arriving at the intent of the legislative body, the first resort is to the context and subject matter of the legislation, since the intention of the legislative body is to be deduced, if possible, from what it said.  Graffell v. Honeysuckle, 30 Wn.2d 390, 191 P.2d 858 (1948).  Where the language of a statute is plain, there is no room for construction, since the meaning will be discovered from the wording of the statute itself.  State v. Houck, 32 Wn.2d 681, 203 P.2d 693 (1949).

            RCW 58.08.040,supra, uses the word "plat" and not "replat."  Conceding, for the sake of argument only, that the word "plat" is ambiguous and susceptible of both meanings (i.e., both "plat" and "replat") we would still conclude that the legislature in this section meant "plat" only.  The legislature is presumed to know the meaning of its own language and the import of the words written into its enactments.  In re Raine's Estate, 193 Wash. 394, 75 P.2d 933 (1938); and Union Oil Co. v. State, 2 Wn.2d 436, 98 P.2d 660 (1940).  In cases of ambiguity, resort may be had to other provisions of the statute and related statutes.  Arden Farms Co. v. Seattle, 2 Wn.2d 640, 99 P.2d 415 (1940).

            It is notable in this regard that RCW 58.08.040, supra, originated as § 2, chapter 129, Laws of 1893.  Although minor amendments were enacted in 1907,2/ 1909,3/ and 1963,4/ the opening phrase, "Any person filing aplat. . ."  (Emphasis supplied) has remained unchanged.  By way of contrast, § 1, chapter 129, Laws of 1893, which (as amended by § 1, chapter 188, Laws of 1927) is now RCW 58.08.030, provided as follows:

            "Every person whose duty it may be to comply with the foregoing regulations shall at or before the time of offering such plat for record, acknowledge the same before the auditor of the proper county, or any other officer who is authorized by law to take acknowledgment of deeds, a certificate of which acknowledgment shall be indorsed on or annexed to such plat and recorded therewith.  In all  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] cases where any person or persons, corporation or corporations shall desire to file a plat, map, subdivision or replat of any property or shall desire to vacate the whole or any portion of any existing plat, map, subdivision or replat, such person or persons, corporation or corporations must, at the time of filing the same for record or of filing a petition for vacation thereof, file therewith a certificate from the proper officer or officers who may be in charge of the collection of taxes for which the property affected may be liable at that date, that all taxes which have been levied and become chargeable against such property at such date have been duly paid, satisfied and discharged . . ."  (Emphasis supplied.)5/

             The point to be noted is that in § 1 of this 1893 act, the legislature used the combination of words "plat, map, subdivision or replat."  In § 2 (RCW 58.08.040) it simply referred to ". . . any person filing a plat."  Under the rule that the expression of a specific object is the exclusion of what is not mentioned (State v. Thompson, 38 Wn.2d 774, 232 P.2d 87 (1951)), we therefore conclude that the legislature, in specifying the requirement of a deposit only in connection with the filing of a "plat" clearly intended to exclude the requirement of such deposit in connection with the other papers or matters mentioned in RCW 58.08.030,supra.  Otherwise, to say that the word "plat" includes "replat" would mean that it also includes "maps and subdivisions," which are mentioned in the same context in the preceding statute.

            Accordingly, it is our opinion that the provisions of RCW 58.08.040,supra, requiring a landowner to make a deposit of money in connection with the filing of a plat, are not applicable to a replat filed under the provisions of chapter 58.12 RCW.  This answer to your first question renders consideration of your second question unnecessary.

            We trust the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

ROBERT F. HAUTH
Assistant Attorney General

                                                         ***   FOOTNOTES   ***

1/Providing for resurveying and rerecording of certain defective plats pursuant to municipal ordinance.

2/Section 1, chapter 44, Laws of 1907.

3/Section 1, chapter 200, Laws of 1909.

4/Section 1, chapter 66, Laws of 1963.

5/The 1927 amendment simply added a similar certification requirement as to special assessments.

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