Case 73

Goodman Group, Inc. v. Dishroom, 679 F.2d 182 (9th Cir. 1982).

A corporation representing a group of local artists brought suit to enjoin the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from rehabilitating the Goodman Building, a property listed in the National Register of Historic Places and occupied by the artists. HUD and a local redevelopment agency proposed to convert the building to low income housing units under a loan and grant agreement.

HUD had complied with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and had prepared a special environmental clearance in which it concluded that no environmental impact statement (EIS) was necessary under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Plaintiff claimed that HUD's actions would displace the local artists and thus irreparably damage the cultural character of the area, thereby necessitating an EIS.

The court disagreed, holding that when effects on the physical environment are evident, it is appropriate for the agency to consider cultural factors in its environmental review. However, a cultural threat, standing by itself, does not require preparation of an EIS. 679 F.2d at 185.

Second, the court noted that HUD worked in concert with local officials, acted consistently with local land use policies, and complied with NHPA. The court found these factors to support the validity of HUD's compliance with NEPA. Id. at 186.

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