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National Ctr. for Preservation Law v. Landrieu

Citation: 10 ELR 20820
No. No. 80-0781-1, 496 F. Supp. 716/(D.S.C., 08/25/1980) Defendants' motion for summary judgment granted

The court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismisses plaintiffs' challenge to the construction of a convention center complex in an historic area of Charleston, S.C. Plaintiffs sought to enjoin construction of the hotel and convention center and to enjoin release of federal funds to assist in development of the Charleston Center Project (CCP). The CCP was proposed to revitalize downtown Charleston. An Urban Development Assistance Grant (UDAG) application was submitted in January 1978, and the City of Charleston, as "lead agency," submitted final and supplemental final environmental impact statements (EISs) in 1979. Under the rule of reason, the court's standard of review includes whether agency administrators acted within the scope of their authority, whether their decisions were arbitrary, capricious, or not in compliance with the law, and whether procedural requirements were followed. The court rejects all six counts of plaintiffs' complaint. First, UDAG funds were not misallocated to certain portions of the entire project, and appropriate procedures under the UDAG program and Housing and Community Development Act regulations were followed. Second, the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) properly delegated environmental review responsibilities to the city as the UDAG applicant. Furthermore, officials of the Economic Development Administration (EDA) thoroughly reviewed the EISs. Third, the court rejects plaintiffs' claims of inadequacy of the EISs, ruling that the city considered all reasonable alternatives to the CCP and gave adequate consideration to the environmental impacts of the CCP. In addition, the court concludes that the EISs were prepared in good faith by the city. Fourth, the court finds that the HUD Secretary and the EDA Administrator did not improperly delegate historic preservation review responsibilities to the city and that the city fully complied with the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act. Fifth, HUD and EDA acted properly in coordinating their activities through the city, and a Memorandum of Agreement was reached only after extensive meetings and review of the adverse environmental effects and mitigation alternatives. Finally, the court finds that the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation had an opportunity to comment on the proposed CCP. The court rejects a motion to remand the case due to alleged undue political pressure because the evidence does not support a prima facie probability that EDA decision making was affected.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Theodore L. Garrett, Patricia A. Barald, William M. Paul, David F. Williams
Covington & Burling
888 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 452-6000

Mary Ann Marwick
P.O. Box 1628, Summerville SC 29483
(803) 873-1221

Counsel for Defendants
Charlotte R. Bell
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-4150

Marc L. Fleischaker, Charles R. Claxton
Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn
1815 H St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 857-6000

Heidi Solomon, Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 973, P.O. Bldg., Meeting & Broad Sts., Charleston SC 29402
(803) 724-4381

William B. Regan, Corp. Counsel
Regan & Williams
P.O. Box 1237, Charleston SC 29402
(803) 722-4064

Alice Paylov, Ass't City Attorney
P.O. Drawer C, Charleston SC 29402
(803) 577-6970