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Central Okla. Preservation Alliance, Inc. v. Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Auth.

Citation: 9 ELR 20716
No. No. CIV-78-01005-T, 471 F. Supp. 68/(W.D. Okla., 01/24/1979)

The court denies plaintiff's request for injunctive and declaratory relief preventing the demolition of the Hanes Building as part of an urban renewal project in Oklahoma City. When the project plans were amended in 1973 to incorporate the demolition of the building, defendants arranged for the preparation of 30 volumes of planning studies, including analyses of the environmental and historical impacts of the project. On the basis of these studies and consultation with the state historic preservation officer, defendants concluded that the demolition of the building, which was neither listed nor eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, would not have any effects of environmental or historical significance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) executed an amended loan and grant contract with the local defendants in 1977. In 1978, the Keeper of the National Register determined that the Hanes Building was eligible for listing on the National Register. Plaintiff then brought this action asserting that (1) the environmental and historic reviews prepared by HUD were invalid under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act, and HUD's environmental and historic preservation regulations, (2) that the Keeper of the National Register's determination of eligibility with respect to the Hanes Building created a new obligation on the part of defendants to follow the comment and review procedures established by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and (3) even if the former assessments were properly performed, there now exists an obligation to renew those assessments.

The court finds that the detailed administrative record compiled by defendants demonstrates that they have taken the hard look at environmental impacts required under NEPA. Thus, the negative determination is found to be reasonable. Because the determination of the Keeper of the National Register was made subsequent to the making by HUD of all significant decisions with respect to the project, the determination did not impose on defendants an obligation subsequently to comply with Advisory Council review procedures. Similarly, since all material decisions on the project have been completed satisfactorily, there is now no need to repeat any of the environmental or historic assessments previously performed. The court therefore denies plaintiff's request for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (17 pp. $2.25, ELR Order No. C-1191).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Kent S. Johnson, Merton M. Bulla, Carrie S. Hulett
Bulla, Horning & Johnson
1503 First Nat'l Center, Oklahoma City OK 73102
(405) 239-7781

Counsel for Municipal Defendants
James Dan Batchelor, Jerry L. Salyer
Batchelor, Salyer & Johnson
15 N. Robinson St., Oklahoma City OK 73102
(405) 232-4606

Counsel for Federal Defendants
Larry D. Patton, U.S. Attorney; David A. Poarch, Ass't U.S Attorney
Room 4434, U.S. Courthouse & Federal Office Bldg., Oklahoma City OK 73102
(405) 231-5281

Thompson, J.