City of Grosse Pointe Park v. Detroit Historic District Commission

Mich. Court of Appeals, No. 298802, April 19, 2012 (unpublished): A state historic preservation review board to deny demolition approval was reasonable where the board found expert testimony supporting demolition to be unconvincing.

The City of Grosse Pointe Park (GPP) sought to demolish two buildings built in 1918-20 that it owns in Detroit. The demolition required City [...]

New Albany Historic Preservation Commission v Bradford Realty

Ind. Court Of Appeals, No. 22A01-1108-PL-365, March 22, 2012: Owner in historic district not entitled to actual notice of potential designation of district; replacement of original wood siding with vinyl siding is “conspicuous change” requiring Certificate of Appropriateness; designation was not inverse condemnation.

The New Albany Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and the City of New Albany (collectively, [...]

Montgomery Preservation, Inc. v Montgomery County Planning Board of Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Court of Appeals of Maryland, No. 36, September Term, 2011, Jan. 24, 2012: Holds that a county Planning Board’s recommendation to the county Council against including a certain building in the county’s Master Plan for Historic Preservation did not become a “final appealable administrative agency decision” suitable for judicial review on a mandamus action when the [...]


U.S. Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2011-238, October 3, 2011:  Denies a contribution deduction for a facade easement based on appraisal defects. Holds: appraisal was not qualified because it did not properly apply the comparable sales method to the “after” value; appraisal adequately stated the method and specific basis for the valuation even if wrong; appraisal summary [...]


U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, No. 10-30918, September 26, 2011: Denies standing of neighborhood group to challenge National Historic Preservation Act section 106 review of related action in another neighborhood.

Friends of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church (Friends) a nonprofit unincorporated association dedicated to protecting a Roman Catholic church located in the Gentilly neighborhood of New [...]

Miller v. City of Annapolis Historic Preservation Commission

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland, No. 219, September 6, 2011: Upholds a Maryland historic district commission’s decision that reconstruction to match an original porch, removed many years before from a home in a historic district, was rehabilitation, not new construction, and therefore commission could require use of wood rather than fiberglass columns.

The Millers sought approval [...]

City of Columbus v Bahgat

Ohio Court of Appeals, 10th Appellate Dist, 2011 Ohio 3315, June 30, 2011: Requirement that replacement windows in historic district “match the original windows, like-for-like” would not confuse a person of ordinary intelligence and therefore is not unconstitutionally vague, does not constitute an unconstitutional exercise of the City’s police powers.

Defendant Bahgat replaced divided light wood frame [...]


US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, No. 10-1063, June 21, 2011: upheld the US Tax Court 2009 ruling in Simmons v. Commissioner, that a historic preservation façade easement was granted in perpetuity even if it allowed the Grantee to consent to façade changes and did not spell out what would happen to the easement [...]

1982 East, LLC v Commissioner of Internal Revenue (aka Asser v Commissioner)

US Tax Court, T.C. Memo. 2011-84, April 12, 2011: Denies preservation easement tax deduction because local law already protects property and because mortgage subordination reserves insurance and condemnation proceeds priority to lender.

The taxpayer/petitioner donated a façade easement and “unused development rights” (UDRs) to Trust for Architectural Easements (formerly known as National Architectural Trust) on a townhouse [...]

The Iron Quarter, LLC, v Mims

US Dist Ct, W.D. KY, Louisville Div., No. 3:10-CV-539-H, Jan. 12, 2011: Holds a suit to allow demolition of landmark buildings may proceed because owner either (1) properly appealed the denial of its demolition request under County ordinance or (2) was not required to exhaust administrative remedies. Denies the County’s motion to dismiss. “At some point [...]

Roman Catholic Bishop of Springfield v. Springfield (Bishop of Springfield I)

U.S. Dist. Court, D. Massachusetts, 760 F. Supp. 2d 172 (D. Mass. 2011), January 4, 2011: Rejects RLUIPA and constitutional challenges to City Ordinance designating single church parcel as historic district. The Church’s failure to submit any plan for alteration of the building exterior or apply for an exemption from constraints on alteration figured significantly in [...]

4140 Canal Street, LLC v City of New Orleans

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, 4th Circuit, No. 2010-CA-1038, Dec. 30, 2010: Affirms the denial of an injunction to block the designation of a building as an historic landmark, even though the building was not in any historic district.

The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that there was no showing that in the absence [...]

NPS Proposes Historic Rehab Certification Rules Change

October 15, 2010: A Proposed Rule by the National Park Service would amend its procedures for obtaining historic preservation certifications for rehabilitation tax credits. The comment period ends 12/14/2010.

From the Federal Register notice: “The proposed rule accomplishes four objectives. First, it removes outdated references to the Internal Revenue Code. Second, the proposed rule deletes references to [...]

Bjork v Draper II

Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, No. 2-09-1345, September 22, 2010: This appeal of the trial court’s balancing of equities when setting remedies for violation of a conservation easement was denied because the Appellate Court found the a balancing was appropriate and the trial court had not abused its discretion.

The easement violation and remedy were [...]

Historic Green Springs, Inc. v US Environmental Protection Agency

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, No. 3:09-cv-00075, September 29, 2010: This attempt by a conservation easement holder to defend the easement area from treated sewage discharge under a state-issued NPDES permit failed as the Court held that US EPA’s decision not to object to the permit did not require prior review under the National Historic [...]

Evans v Commissioner of Internal Revenue

United States Tax Court, No. 8309-08, September 22, 2010: The TC upheld the IRS’ complete denial of a deduction for a historic façade easement but denied the IRS’ accuracy-related penalty.

The taxpayer offered appraisals by two different appraisers but the preparers of only one of the appraisals testified as witnesses. The TC thoroughly discredited the appraisal prepared [...]

The Application of B.Y. Development

Supreme Court of South Dakota, # 25407, July 7, 2010: Holds the phrase “any historic property” under a state historic preservation enabling act, SDCL 1-19B-62, does not include historic districts, but that City of Deadwood’s determination whether a project would “encroach upon, damage, or destroy” historic properties may be based on the local ordinances in addition [...]

Covel v Vienna

Supreme Court of Virginia, No. 091343, June 10, 2010: (1) Town historic district ordinances in Virginia adopted under the state enabling statute prior to 1997 may create historic districts without landmarks, buildings, or structures. (2) Because Virginia Code Ann. § 15.2-1427(C) bars all non-constitutional challenges to the adoption of municipal ordinances existing in 2000, the appellants [...]

National Trust for Historic Preservation v US Dept. of Veterans Affairs et al

United States District Court Eastern District of Louisiana
No. 09-5460, Filed 03/31/10

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s motion for summary judgment was denied in a challenge under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) to a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (“PEA”) and subsequent Findings of No Significant Impact (“FONSIs”) issued by FEMA and the VA regarding the selection of the Mid-City site “70-plus acres adjacent to downtown”* for building medical facilities to replace Charity Hospital and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The District Court held (1) NTHP’s claims against FEMA are ripe for review (“if Plaintiff is required to wait to bring its claims, further action on the medical facilities projects will occur without Plaintiff having its day in Court”), (2) NTHP has standing on behalf of a member who lives in New Orleans but not on behalf of the organization itself (“since it has not alleged a sufficient injury in fact by virtue of the project harming its general interest in historic preservation”), (3) NTHP’s suit is not barred by laches, and (4) in favor of the defendants and against NTHP as to all four of the substantive arguments raised by NTHP regarding whether the PEA and FONSIs were lawful under NEPA. Continue reading National Trust for Historic Preservation v US Dept. of Veterans Affairs et al

Historic Paulus Hook Association v. The Zoning Board Of Adjustment For The City Of Jersey City and Abdel H. Amin And Badria M. Elatar

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division No. A-4001-08T2. Decided February 16, 2010 (unpublished)

This New Jersey appeal raised the question of whether a permit for a revised scope of construction issued by a municipal Zoning Officer for a property subject to the oversight of Jersey City’s Historic Preservation Commission pursuant to Jersey City Code §§ 345-9 [...]