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Key Terms

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Late Designation

The designation of park, recreation land, wildlife and waterfowl refuge, or historic site that is made (or determination of significance changed) late in the transportation project development process. With the exception of the treatment of archeological sites, the project may proceed without consideration of Section 4(f) when the property was acquired for transportation purposes prior to the change in designation and if an adequate effort was made to identify properties protected by Section 4(f) prior to acquisition. If it is reasonably foreseeable, however, that a property would be determined eligible for the National Register prior to the start of construction, it should be treated as a historic site and Section 4(f) property.

Late Discovery

A circumstance in which a previously unknown Section 4(f) resource is found during post-NEPA project development. A late discovery can occur during final design, right-of-way or even the construction phase of a project. A late discovery may require compliance with Section 4(f), as well as a NEPA re-evaluation. Other unaffected portions of the project may be allowed to proceed while Section 4(f) compliance is undertaken. Consultation with the FHWA will be necessary to assess the potential property and determine what steps must be taken.

Legal Sufficiency Review

A review by FHWA’s Office of Chief Counsel that is required for final environmental impact statements (FEISs) (23 CFR 771.125(b)) and final Section 4(f) evaluations (23 CFR 774.7d). The purpose of the review is to ensure that Section 4(f) and NEPA requirements have been met and are legally defensible. A legal sufficiency review is not a technical review; rather, it is a review of Section 4(f) and NEPA documentation and compliance efforts, and an attempt to make sure that these efforts correspond with the law.