Case 1

Kent County Council for Historic Preservation v. Romney, 304 F. Supp. 885 (W.D. Mich. 1969).

Plaintiff, a nonprofit corporation, brought suit to enjoin the demolition of the old Grand Rapids City Hall, proposed under an urban renewal plan adopted by the city of Grand Rapids. The city planned to use funds acquired from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under a loan and capital grant contract executed in 1961, prior to the enactment of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). In 1965, a private bank agreed to buy various parcels of land from the city, including the city hall site, on the condition that the bank bid for all of the parcels or for none at all. The bank then paid for all of the parcels except the city hall site, which had not yet been vacated, and, relying on the city's promise to deliver the city hall site, built a large office building on the sites it had acquired. In 1968, HUD approved the city's certification of completion, the final approval required under the grant contract, although HUD had not yet paid all of the grant money to the city.

Plaintiff argued that HUD was required to comply with Section 106 of NHPA because there were further funds to be distributed under the grant contract. The court rejected this claim, noting that the operative moment for Section 106 applicability was "prior to approval of the expenditure," not prior to expenditure. 304 F. Supp. at 888. The court, however, did not squarely reach the merits of the case, because it held that plaintiff was not entitled to judicial review and did not have standing to maintain the action. Id. at 890. The court faulted the complaint because it contained no allegations of arbitrary and capricious conduct involving discretionary agency action and did not seek review of agency action. Id. at 889. Plaintiff failed to establish that it had any interest that would give it the right to bring the suit. The court granted defendants' motions to dismiss. Id. at 890.

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