Case 59

Neighborhood Development Corporation v. Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 632 F.2d 21 (6th Cir. 1980).

This case presented a challenge to a redevelopment project in Louisville, Kentucky, funded in part by an urban development action grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The project, to be conducted by a local redevelopment agency, called for the demolition of several buildings declared to be eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, including the Will Sales Building, the Atherton Building, and the Republic Building. Plaintiffs, which were neighborhood organizations, claimed that the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, HUD, and the city (the grant recipient) had acted in bad faith in complying with the National Historic Preservation Act and had failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. Relief on the original complaint, which sought relief only for the Will Sales Building, was denied. Plaintiffs then sought to amend the complaint to enjoin demolition of the Atherton and Republic Buildings, not included in the original complaint.

The district court denied plaintiffs' motion to amend and dismissed the case on grounds that plaintiffs lacked standing and had failed to join the owners of the two buildings.

The Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that plaintiffs had shown standing by alleging that their members used the buildings' aesthetic and architectural values. Injury-in-fact is not suffered only by residents of the neighborhoods in which affected historic properties are located or by persons with an economic interest in the properties.

The court held that the district court erred by dismissing plaintiffs' complaint for lack of standing and denying their motion for leave to amend their complaint. 632 F.2d at 23-24. Second, the appellate court held that failure to join the building owners was not a proper reason to deny plaintiffs' motion for leave to amend. Id. at 25.

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