16 USC 459h-1: Acquisition of property
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16 USC 459h-1: Acquisition of property Text contains those laws in effect on July 15, 2024

§459h–1. Acquisition of property

(a) Authority of Secretary; concurrence of State owner; administrative site and related facilities; transfer from Federal agency to administrative jurisdiction of Secretary

Within the boundaries of the seashore, the Secretary may acquire submerged land, land, waters, and interests therein by donation, purchase with donated or appropriated funds, or exchange, except that property owned by a State or any political subdivision thereof may be acquired only with the consent of the owner. The Secretary may acquire by any of the above methods not more than four hundred acres of land or interests therein outside of the seashore boundaries on the mainland in the vicinity of Biloxi-Gulfport, Mississippi, for an administrative site and related facilities for access to the seashore. With the concurrence of the agency having custody thereof, any Federal property within the seashore and mainland site may be transferred without consideration to the administrative jurisdiction of the Secretary for the purposes of the seashore.

(b) Improved residential property owner's reservation of right of use and occupancy for residential purposes for life or fixed term of years; election by owner; transfer or assignment of right; adjustment of compensation

With respect to improved residential property acquired for the purposes of sections 459h to 459h–10 of this title, which is beneficially owned by a natural person and which the Secretary of the Interior determines can be continued in that use for a limited period of time without undue interference with the administration, development, or public use of the seashore, the owner thereof may on the date of its acquisition by the Secretary retain a right of use and occupancy of the property for noncommercial residential purposes for a term, as the owner may elect, ending either (1) at the death of the owner or his spouse, whichever occurs later, or (2) not more than twenty-five years from the date of acquisition. Any right so retained may during its existence be transferred or assigned. The Secretary shall pay to the owner the fair market value of the property on the date of such acquisition, less their 1 fair market value on such date of the right retained by the owner.

(c) "Improved residential property" defined

As used in sections 459h to 459h–10 of this title, "improved residential property" means a single-family year-round dwelling, the construction of which began before January 1, 1967, and which serves as the owner's permanent place of abode at the time of its acquisition by the United States, together with not more than three acres of land on which the dwelling and appurtenant buildings are located that the Secretary finds is reasonably necessary for the owner's continued use and occupancy of the dwelling: Provided, That the Secretary may exclude from improved residential property any marsh, beach, or waters and adjoining land that the Secretary deems is necessary for public access to such marsh, beach, or waters.

(d) Termination of use and occupancy inconsistent with statutory purposes and upon tender of sum for unexpired right

The Secretary may terminate a right of use and occupancy retained pursuant to this section upon his determination that such use and occupancy is being exercised in a manner not consistent with the purposes of sections 459h to 459h–10 of this title, and upon tender to the holder of the right an amount equal to the fair market value of that portion of the right which remains unexpired on the date of termination.

(e) Acquisition authority

(1) In general

The Secretary may acquire, from a willing seller only-

(A) all land comprising the parcel described in subsection (b)(3) 2 that is above the mean line of ordinary high tide, lying and being situated in Harrison County, Mississippi;

(B) an easement over the approximately 150-acre parcel depicted as the "Boddie Family Tract" on the Cat Island Map for the purpose of implementing an agreement with the owners of the parcel concerning the development and use of the parcel; and

(C)(i) land and interests in land on Cat Island outside the 2,000-acre area depicted on the Cat Island Map; and

(ii) submerged land that lies within 1 mile seaward of Cat Island (referred to in sections 459h to 459h–10 of this title 2 as the "buffer zone"), except that submerged land owned by the State of Mississippi (or a subdivision of the State) may be acquired only by donation.

(2) Administration

(A) In general

Land and interests in land acquired under this subsection shall be administered by the Secretary, acting through the Director of the National Park Service.

(B) Buffer zone

Nothing in sections 459h to 459h–10 of this title 2 or any other provision of law shall require the State of Mississippi to convey to the Secretary any right, title, or interest in or to the buffer zone as a condition for the establishment of the buffer zone.

(3) Modification of boundary

The boundary of the seashore shall be modified to reflect the acquisition of land under this subsection only after completion of the acquisition.

( Pub. L. 91–660, §2, Jan. 8, 1971, 84 Stat. 1967 ; Pub. L. 92–275, §1(1), Apr. 20, 1972, 86 Stat. 123 ; Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(4) [div. B, title I, §137(b)], Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763 , 2763A-231.)

Editorial Notes

References in Text

Subsection (b)(3), referred to in subsec. (e)(1)(A), probably means subsection (b)(3) of section 459h of this title. Subsection (b) of this section does not contain a par. (3).

Sections 459h to 459h–10 of this title, referred to in subsec. (e)(1)(C)(ii), (2)(B), was in the original "this title", and was translated as reading "this Act", meaning Pub. L. 91–660, which enacted sections 459h to 459h–10 of this title, to reflect the probable intent of Congress, because Pub. L. 91–660 does not contain titles.


2000-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(4) [div. B, title I, §137(b)(1)], substituted "submerged land, land," for "lands," in first sentence.

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 106–554, §1(a)(4) [div. B, title I, §137(b)(2)], added subsec. (e).

1972-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 92–275 increased amount of property authorized to be acquired from one hundred thirty-five to four hundred acres.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Gulf Islands National Seashore Land Exchange

Pub. L. 115–279, Nov. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4187 , known as the Gulf Islands National Seashore Land Exchange Act, authorized the Secretary of the Interior to exchange certain Federal lands located within the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Jackson County, Mississippi, for non-Federal land identified as "VFW Exchange Area" located in Jackson County, Mississippi, owned by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5699, with the stipulation for equal value exchange and provision for methods of equalizing the exchange, for the conveyance agreement and title approval, and for the modification of the boundary of the Gulf Islands National Seashore to reflect the exchange.

1 So in original. Probably should be "the".

2 See References in Text note below.