Re: Nw Corner Survey Says
You've given us pretty little to go on. For instance, 40' which direction? Does the description make any other bounding calls, such as "along the south line of Givens Street", "along the east line of C Avenue", "to the northwest corner of the parcel owned by Snead", or "to an iron pipe", etc., or is it just a recital of bearings and distances? If it is simply a listing of dimensions, if followed from one of the corners, does any part of the description fall outside of the block? Is this for an easement or for a boundary? If an easement, what is it an easement for? If I knew more, I could ask more. I could also give you a better idea of what I would look for to arrive at an opinion.
Whose conclusion are you questioning, a surveyor's, a court's, your neighbor's best guess? Did the person offering this conclusion explain how they came to the conclusion?
Boundary surveying is a process of investigation of facts and proper application of law as per guidance given by past court decisions. It is not a set of rules that we can simply follow as if per step-by-step instructions from a technical manual, and there are no hard and fast rules that "when you encounter X, you do Y", or "because the southwest and northeast sides of the block run a little closer to north-south than do the northwesterly and southeasterly lines, the northwesterly line should be taken as the 'north' line, and the most westerly corner as the 'northwest corner', when the deed refers only to cardinal directions." Life would be simpler if that were so.
Actually, that last mock instruction may be a good presumption upon which to start a survey, that is begin the investigative phase of the survey. But without evidence to support that beginning presumption, and basing one's survey on that alone, the reasoning is pretty flimsy, really amounting to supposition.
Some of the physical evidence I would look for would be (but not necessarily limited to) 1) was the described parcel marked by some means when it was first created? If so, what was it marked by?
2) Is the use for which the description was made still ocurring? If so, what physical evidence indicates the use and where does it sit relative to the bounds plotted out from one block corner and assuming directions oriented one way, vs from the other corner and directions oriented essentially 90 degrees to the first? 3) Are the original parties to the first conveyance available to talk to? If not, what about previous owners of the properties of the dispute? 4) Do any of the previous owners recall seeing any such marks in the ground? If so, where? 5) What was the intended purpose of the described parcel? Does the placement of the parcel with reference to one corner and side of the block make more sense than placement according to the other corner and side?
I would also look at additional documentary evidence. Are other deeds written in this neighborhood/subdivision written such that there is an apparent assumption that one set of the streets run north-south and the other east-west? Have those boundaries been previously located on the ground, or is there other clues either on the ground or in the documents themselves that lead one to conclude that the north-south assumption of the author of the descriptions was one way or the other.
If the person presenting the conclusion you offer has done his or her investigation correctly, that person should be able to walk you through it and show you good reasons why they came to the conclusion they did. If they can't explain it, I suggest you find a surveyor who is better versed in how to resolve such discrepancies. This type of problem normally has some sort of evidence available to clear it up, and once found, is a simple problem to solve. It's also an easy one to screw up if one proceeds on an assumption rather than on evidence. In your case, given the orientation of the blocks, deciding without evidence is only slightly better than flipping a coin.
I'm a surveyor, not your surveyor & not an attorney.
Advice is general survey, not legal. Hire a local professional for specific advice.