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Richland Park Homeowners Ass'n v. Pierce

ELR Citation: 12 ELR 20717
Nos. No. 81-1282, 671 F.2d 935/17 ERC 1649/(5th Cir., 04/02/1982)

Despite possible minor violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the court affirms the denial of a post-completion injunction to prevent the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from granting financial assistance for a low-income apartment project. The court holds that appellants' claim for relief against already-satisfied construction financing commitments is moot but that their request to enjoin further rent-subsidy payments to the developer remains a "live" controversy. However, the court refuses to grant injunctive relief because appellants failed to demonstrate blatant NEPA violations or to show that the value of the requested relief outweighs the public interests that would be adversely affected if relief is granted. Concerning the alleged NEPA violations, the court holds that HUD's initial failure to prepare a sufficiently detailed environmental assessment does not void its decision to fund the project since this deficiency was subsequently corrected. HUD's alleged failure to give sufficient public notice or hold a public hearing does not invalidate its decision since NEPA and its implementing regulations impose no duty to hold public hearings or give any particular form of public notice and HUD fulfilled its notice obligations by obtaining input from numerous public officials. The court rejects appellants' claim that HUD failed adequately to consider environmental factors, finding that HUD conferred with appropriate officials and mede a reasonable decision concerning each factor. The court finds HUD's failure to consider alternatives under §102(2)(E) of NEPA insubstantial. The court also rules that appellants lack standing to contest noise levels because the noise-level regulations are designed solely for the protection of residents of the complex. The court concludes that the possible NEPA violations are minor and that an injunction against rent-subsidy payments to low-income tenants until the deficiencies are corrected would be inappropriate.

Counsel for Appellants
Ray G. Besing, F. Dean Armstrong
Besing & Armstrong
1450 One Main Pl., Dallas TX 75250
(214) 651-8851

Counsel for Appellees
Cheryl D. Wattley, Ass't U.S. Attorney
1100 Commerce St., Rm. 16G28, Dallas TX 75242
(214) 767-3982

Counsel for Intervenor-Appellee Walnut Place, Ltd.
Charles R. McConachie
Freytag, Marshall, Beneke, LaForce, Rubinstein & Stutzman
3131 Turtle Creek Blvd., Suite 1300, Dallas TX 75219
(214) 522-5171

Before CLARK, Chief Judge, RUBIN and TATE, Circuit Judges.