Schwartz v. Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, Nos. 183 C.D. 2017, 226 C.D. 2017, March 2, 2018: Third-party can’t enforce easement or appeal county interpretation of easement.

This case concerns whether an industrial waste collection and processing facility comes within the definition of “agricultural production” in a Pennsylvania conservation easement and whether a third-party has rights to enforce the conservation [...]

Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County, Inc. V. Litchfield Historic District Commission

US Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, Nos. 12-1057-cv (Lead), 12-1495-cv (Con), September 19, 2014: Certificate of historical appropriateness subject to RLUIPA; current property interest not needed to bring RLUIPA claim; multiple factors must go into discriminatory intent inquiry.

RLUIPA is the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc et seq. Litchfield’s Historic [...]

Sierra Club v. Jewell

US Court of Appeals, DC Circuit, No. 12-5383, August 26, 2014: Non-property owner advocates have standing re. National Register listing.

This case involves efforts to obtain listing in the National Register of Historic Places for Blair Mountain Battlefield, the site of “the largest armed labor conflict in our nation’s history.”  The Battlefield was listed in 2009 only [...]

Van Liew v. Chelmsford

Mass. Appeals Court, No. 13-P-145, February 28, 2014: No municipal duty to enforce preservation easement; no standing for mandamus declaratory judgment.

Van Liew brought a mandamus action against the Selectmen of Chelmsford, MA, to require them to enforce a preservation easement. (In Massachusetts, Preservation easements and conservation easements are governed by the same statute, M.G.L. chapter 184, [...]

Kelley v. Cambridge Historical Commission

Massachusetts Appeals Court, No. 12-P-1309, Aug. 21, 2013: No standing to enforce perpetual restriction or challenge historical certificate of appropriateness.

Four individuals living in the vicinity of St. James Episcopal parish church (but not abutters), challenged actions by the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) and the Cambridge Historical Commission (CHC) in connection with a commercial development on church [...]


Court of Appeals of Maryland,No. 65, September Term, 2012, June 24, 2013: Maryland agricultural preservation easement not a charitable trust.

This case is the appeal of the decision in Long Green Valley Ass’n v. Bellevale Farms, Inc., 205 Md. App. 636, 683, 46 A.3d 473, 501 (2012) (Long Green Valley I). It holds that in Maryland, the [...]


PA Superior Court, 2013 PA Super 145, June 19, 2013: Special knowledge not sufficient interest for private citizen to intervene in charitable trust matter.

[Editorial note: Some commentators have made the argument that conservation easements and historic preservation easements are charitable trusts under the laws of various States. This case is reviewed here because it concerns standing [...]

Sierra Club v. Salazar

US Dist. Court, Dist. of Columbia, No. 10-1513(RBW), October 2, 2012: Advocacy nonprofits denied standing to challenge delisting of district from National Register.

The Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Friends of Blair Mountain, Inc., West Virginia Labor History Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States, and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (“Plaintiffs”) sought to [...]

120 West Fayette Street, LLLP v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore

Court of Appeals of Maryland, No. 81/11, April 27, 2012: Taxpayer/adjoining landowner group denied standing to contest demolition of historic buildings under redevelopment plan approval in 4-3 split decision.

In connection with a land use project to redevelop the Baltimore City Market Center Urban Renewal Area commonly known as the “Superblock”, the Maryland legislature approved a $1 [...]

Morosco v. Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, No. 2106 C.D. 2010, February 24, 2012: An individual without any particular harm beyond the common interest lacks standing under PA law to appeal Pittsburgh historical commission’s decision allowing demolition of a historical building. Unreported opinion.

The Pittsburgh Historic Review Commission (HRC) granted a Certificate of Appropriateness allowing demolition of an historic building [...]

Long Green Valley Ass’n v Bellevale Farms, Inc. Revised

Maryland Court of Special Appeals, No. 0228, February 14, 2012: Revised decision holds the purchased non-perpetual agricultural preservation easement at issue does not create charitable trust in Maryland, but abutter has rebuttable presumption that it has standing to bring mandamus action regarding enforcement of the easement by a state entity.

The decision issued February 14, 2012, revises [...]

City of Jersey City v. Consolidated Rail Corporation

U.S. Court of Appeals, Dist. of Columbia Circuit, No. 10-7135 February 3, 2012: Holds that City has standing in federal court to challenge Conrail sale of historic structure formerly used for rail purposes.

Conrail sold a six-block, half-mile long stone structure it owns “in the heart of Jersey City’s historic downtown” (Harsimus Embankment) to developers. The State [...]

Long Green Valley Ass’n v Bellevale Farms, Inc.

The Court’s opinion in this case was revised on February 14, 2012. A revised Digest post discussing the decision is [...]


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 [...]

Historic Green Springs, Inc. v Louisa County Water Authority

U.S. District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division, No. 3:09-CV-00079, June 30, 2011: Memorandum opinion finds the land trust holder of a conservation easement has standing to sue under the federal Clean Water Act because the alleged injury to the property rights of the land trust “provide an irrefutable basis for standing,” and at the pleading stage [...]

The Iron Quarter, LLC, v Mims II

US Dist Ct, W.D. KY, Louisville Div., No. 3:10-CV-539-H, April 8, 2011: Allows neighboring property owner and historic preservation groups to intervene to challenge an agreement between the County and Iron Quarter to demolish landmark buildings.

Property owner Iron Quarter LLC (“Iron Quarter”) sought to demolish landmark buildings (“landmarks”) in Louisville. The County denied a demolition order. [...]

David v. Martins Point Property Owners Association

Court of Appeals of South Carolina, Unpublished No. 2011-UP-086, March 1, 2011: Enforces a private negative deed covenant imposed for conservation purposes and enjoins construction of a dock at a community lot in a subdivision. (Opinion has no precedential value under SC rules.)

A small limited partnership (“LP”) developed Martins Point with the express goal “to preserve [...]

Wilderness Society v. Kane County

US Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, No. 08-4090, January 11, 2011: Majority holds that the Wilderness Society and other environmental groups (“TWS”) lack “prudential standing” to bring suit under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution challenging a local government’s assertion of rights of way over federal lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and [...]

City of Jersey City v Consolidated Rail Corporation

United States District Court, District of Columbia, No. 09-1900, No. 14., 39, September 28, 2010: The City, Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) and a community coalition (Coalition) lacked standing to ask the court to block Conrail from abandoning rail property and selling it to a developer planning non-rail uses without first obtaining Surface Transportation Board (“the [...]

Hartman v City Of Mission

Court of Appeals of Kansas, no. 101,804, June 11, 2010: The appellant lacked standing under Kansas law to challenge the city’s refusal to hold a referendum for two citizens-proposed ordinances about the establishment of a historic district, and to challenge the city council’s exclusion of one of its members from an executive session held to discuss [...]