23 CFR 710.503 - Protective buying and hardship acquisition.
(a)General conditions. Prior to final environmental approval of a transportation project, the grantee may request FHWA agreement to provide reimbursement for advance acquisition of a particular parcel or a limited number of parcels, to prevent imminent development and increased costs on the preferred location (Protective Buying), or to alleviate hardship to a property owner or owners on the preferred location (Hardship Acquisition), provided the following conditions are met:
(1) The transportation project is included in the currently approved STIP;
(3) A determination has been completed for any property interest subject to the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 138; and
(b)Protective buying. The grantee must clearly demonstrate that development of the property is imminent and such development would limit future transportation choices. A significant increase in cost may be considered as an element justifying a protective purchase.
(1) Supports the hardship acquisition by providing justification, on the basis of health, safety or financial reasons, that remaining in the property poses an undue hardship compared to other property owners; and
(2) Documents an inability to sell the property because of the impending project, at fair market value, within a time period that is typical for properties not impacted by the impending project.
(d)Environmental decisions. Acquisition of property under this section is subject to environmental review under part 771 of this chapter. Acquisitions under this section shall not influence the environmental review of a transportation project which would use the property, including decisions about the need to construct the transportation project or the selection of an alternative.