Case 5

Boston Waterfront Residents Association v. Romney, 343 F. Supp. 89 (D. Mass. 1972).

Plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction to prevent the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from funding, under the Housing Act of 1949, the demolition of buildings of possible historic value as part of the city of Boston's Faneuil Hall Urban Renewal Plan to redevelop its waterfront. The buildings were not listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and there was a controversy over their historic value. HUD had not prepared an environmental impact statement (EIS), and plaintiffs argued that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) so required.

The court declined to make a determination as to the historic value of the buildings. It found, however, that the continuing Federal involvement in the project, NEPA's policy in favor of historic preservation, and NEPA's requirement to consider alternatives required the agency to prepare an EIS, especially because particular portions of the project were planned for the future and there was still time and opportunity for the consideration of alternatives. Preservation and rehabilitation of the buildings were possible alternatives that had to be considered before the buildings could be razed. Because demolition would permanently foreclose such alternatives, the court granted plaintiffs' request for preliminary injunctive relief. 343 F. Supp. at 91.

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