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Hall County Historical Dist. v. Georgia

Citation: 8 ELR 20580
No. No. C77-100G, 447 F. Supp. 741/(N.D. Ga., 03/07/1978)

The court enjoins further construction on a portion of a federal-aid highway project after determining that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) failed to comply with its statutory obligation under the National Historic Preservation Act to consider the effect of the project on a nearby historic district. The suit is not barred by lack of subject matter jurisdiction or laches, and plaintiffs have standing to challenge the agency's compliance with the Act. The record shows that FHWA, instead of undertaking independent studies, reports, or evaluations of the project's potential environmental effects on the district as the Act requires, simply rubber-stamped the state's determination that there would be no effects. Plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief pending full compliance with the Act's mandate is therefore granted. As to plaintiffs' additional claims, the court rules that defendants did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act because the determination not to file an environmental impact statement was reasonable, and holds that § 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act is inapplicable because plaintiffs have failed to show that the project will involve either a direct or a constructive "use" of land within the historic district.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Furman Smith, Jr.
Equitable Life Bldg., 100 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta GA 30303
(404) 502-1313

David A. Fox, Harmon T. Smith, Jr.
Smith & Bell
380 Green St. NE, Gainesville GA 30501
(404) 536-1313

Counsel for Defendants
Arthur K. Bolton, Attorney General; Roland F. Matson, Ass't Attorney General
Law Dept., Judicial Bldg., Room 132, Atlanta GA 30334
(404) 656-4586

Robert J. Castellani, First Ass't Attorney General
428 U.S. Courthouse, 56 Forsyth St. NW, Atlanta GA 30303
(404) 221-6954