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Natural Resources Defense Council v. New York, City of

Citation: 12 ELR 20446
No. Nos. 81 Civ. 6203 et al., 528 F. Supp. 1245/(S.D.N.Y., 12/07/1981) Preliminary injunction denied

In a suit seeking an injunction against the demolition of two historic theaters in New York City, the district court grants defendants' motions for dismissal or summary judgment on all but one of plaintiffs' substantive calims, and denies a request for injunctive relief. The court first rejects plaintiffs' claims that defendants violated procedures governing the release of federal funds under the Housing and Community Development Act. Next the court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs' argument that the city's Board of Estimate, rather than the mayor, is required to comply with the environmental review requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and state law. Nor is there merit to plaintiffs' claim that demolition of the theaters may not, under federal regulations, occur until all funding for the project has been released. The court also upholds defendants' determination that the district in which the theaters are located is not eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, the environmental impact statement prepared for the project is not inadequate for its failure to address a project alternative proferred at a late date by plaintiffs. The statement adequately considers a range of reasonable alternative plans. The court then remands plaintiff's state law claims to the state court in which they were first filed. Turning to the issues raised in plaintiffs' amended complaint, the court finds no error in the Advisory Council of Historic Preservation's expedited consideration of the disputed theaters' eligibility for inclusion on the National Register, nor in the Council's decision to approve their demolition. However, plaintiffs' claim that the decision was influenced by undue pressure from White House and other government officials raises a question of fact to be addressed in a future evidentiary hearing.

[The decision of the Second Circuit granting a stay pending review is reported at 12 ELR 20182; subsequent decisions in the litigation are reported at 12 ELR 20449 and 20451 — Ed.]

Counsel are listed at 12 ELR 20182.