Case 11

Saint Joseph Historical Society v. Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, 366 F. Supp. 605 (W.D. Mo. 1973).

Plaintiff sought to enjoin a local redevelopment agency from continuing demolition activities in the Market Square Historic District, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. In 1971, the local agency had executed a loan and capital grant contract with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Plaintiff argued that HUD must comply with both the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) before demolition could occur.

The court held that NHPA did not apply because the historic district had not been listed in the Register until after the approval of the grant. That the process of accomplishing the listing had begun at the time the grant contract was executed was immaterial. 366 F. Supp. at 609. [Ed. note: In 1976, Congress amended NHPA to extend coverage to properties eligible for inclusion in the Register as well as to those listed in the Register.]

Furthermore, the court rejected plaintiff's argument that NEPA protects historic buildings whether or not they are listed in the Register, finding that NEPA did not apply in the situation at bar. Id. at 609-12. The court denied injunctive relief. Id. at 613.

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