Friends of Bethany Place, Inc. v. City of TopekaAnnotate this Case
The Topeka City Council granted the Episcopal church (the Church) a building permit for a parking lot on Bethany Place, a registered state historic site owned by the Church. Friends of Bethany Place, a nonprofit organization, opposed the project and appealed the decision to issue the permit. The district court reversed and ordered the parking lot permit set aside, holding that insufficient evidence existed to support the finding that no feasible and prudent alternatives to the project existed and that all possible planning to minimize harm had been undertaken, and that the Council's decision did not satisfy the "hard look" test required by Reiter v. City of Beloit. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Council did not take a "hard look" at all relevant factors that must be reviewed before authorizing a project that encroaches upon, damages, or destroys historic property, as the Council failed to adequately identify what feasible and prudent alternatives existed and what planning could be done to minimize harm to Bethany Place. Remanded.