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  • Disclaimer: Any opinions, findings, and recommendations expressed in the group area discussions are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Government, the Department of Transportation, or the Federal Highway Administration.
Edited: 4/24/2012 8:33 AM
Rebecca Smith

4(f) evaluation steps toward least overall harm

In our evaluation of impacts to two historic buildings, we have shown that there is no alternative that avoids all impact. Next step - we analyzed measures to minimize harm, and found no reasonable modifications to the design. The finding of not reasonable includes extraordinary costs, hazardous sites, increased displacements. The only reasonable measure is mitigation by archiving per MOA with SHPO. So - with no alternatives and no reasonable measures to compare, is  there anything to be be carried through to a Least Overall Harm analysis?
2011-12-05 18:02:53
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:33 AM
If you are doing a full evaluation, you need to look at a reasonable range of alternatives, and use the least harm analysis to show what is the best option.  It seems unlikely that there is only one reasonable alternative. (Note: the prudent and feasible criteria can be used to determine what is reasonable, but technically the prudent and feasible test is only valid for avoidance alternative)
12/6/2011 1:58 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:33 AM
what you need to demonstrate for least overall harm is spelled out in 23 CFR 774.3(c)

what you need for "all possible planning to minimize harm" is 23 CFR 774.17
12/6/2011 1:05 PM
Posted: 4/24/2012 8:33 AM
F. Yates Oppermann

Remember that once you get into least harm, you have a whole host of things to consider beyond simply measures to minimize harm to the resources.  This includes the ability of the alternative to meet purpose and need, and impacts to other resources.  The new regulations (23 CFR 774) spell out exactly which factors can be used.

Alternatively, you might consider arguing that they are both least harm.  If there is not a real measurable difference between the two, than either alternative is viable as the least harm alternative.  Therefore the selection of either is appropriate under 4(f).
12/6/2011 12:31 PM