Citizens Comm. Against Interstate Rt. 675 v. Lewis

Decision Date10 June 1982
Docket NumberNo. C-3-82-017.,C-3-82-017.
Citation542 F. Supp. 496
PartiesCITIZENS COMMITTEE AGAINST INTERSTATE ROUTE 675, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Drew LEWIS, Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Southern District of Ohio








Thomas L. Crowl, Dayton, Ohio, Philip W. Moore, Steven Root, Washington, D. C., for plaintiffs.

Robert J. Fogarty, James A. Wilson, Asst. U. S. Attys., Dayton, Ohio, Robert B. Schaefer, Land & Natural Resources Division, Washington, D. C., for defendant Drew Lewis.

John Tanoury, Deputy Chief Asst. Atty. Gen., Columbus, Ohio, Robert E. Hickey, Jr., Dayton, Ohio, for defendant Ohio Dept. of Transp.

Charles H. Horn, Dayton, Ohio, for intervening party defendants, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery-Greene County Transportation & Development Planning Program (TCC).

Thomas Randolph, Deputy Director of Law, Dayton, Ohio, for amicus City of Dayton.

James D. Ruppert, Les Landen, Franklin, Ohio, for amicus Wright State University and Dr. Robert J. Keggereis, President of Wright State University.

Richard A. Frye, Knepper, White, Arter & Hadden, Columbus, Ohio, for amicus Ohio Contractors Ass'n.

RICE, District Judge.

                                Table of Contents
                   I. Findings of Fact __________________  506-521
                  II. Scope of Review ___________________  521-522
                 III. Standing __________________________  522-526
                  IV. Laches ____________________________  526-538
                   V. Socio-Economic Impacts ____________  528-538
                  VI. Reasonable Alternatives to I-675 __  538-550
                 VII. Other Alleged Inadequacies in the
                      FEIS ______________________________  550-572
                      A) FEIS Assessment of Need for
                         I-675 __________________________  550-566
                      B) Adequacy of Discussion of
                         Noise Impacts __________________  566-571
                      C) Response to Agency Comments ____  571-572
                VIII. The 1981 Lewis Decision ___________  572-583
                  IX. Bad Faith—Count IV ________________  583
                   X. Alleged Violation of 23 U.S.C
                      § 134—Count III ___________________  583-585
                  XI. Footnotes _________________________  506-584

The captioned cause came on to be heard upon the Plaintiffs' request for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, enjoining construction of a 13.5 mile segment of Interstate 675, in Greene and Montgomery Counties, from U.S. 35, south to Interstate 75.

According to prior agreement between Court and counsel, the oral hearing upon the Plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction was combined with trial upon the merits, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 65(a)(2). The trial upon the merits was held on April 1st and 2nd, 1982, and the captioned cause submitted for decision upon the testimony adduced at trial, the pretrial and post-trial memoranda of counsel and of the amicus curiae, the voluminous administrative record and the exhibits admitted into evidence.

Based upon the reasoning, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law set forth in detail below, this Court finds for the Defendants and against the Plaintiffs, on the entirety of the Plaintiffs' complaint. The Plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief is, therefore, denied.

Before addressing the specific substantive issues which have been raised herein, the Court will first set forth its Findings of Fact, and the general principles of law which are applicable to review of administrative actions and to claims arising under the National Environmental Policy Act.1 Following these matters, the Court will then discuss certain standing issues which have been raised herein, the laches argument presented by Defendants, and the substantive allegations of the Complaint. It should also be noted that the jurisdiction of the Court has not been contested.


The following items constitute the Court's Findings of Fact, based upon the administrative record, testimony, exhibits, and depositions received in connection with the trial of the within case. In addition, all other factual conclusions made throughout the text of this Opinion are incorporated into the Court's Findings of Fact.

A. Chronology

1. In 1957, the United States Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) (predecessor of the Federal Highway Administration) authorized a belt route as part of the interstate system for the Dayton area, which was eventually designated as I-675. A consulting engineering firm was hired to determine whether the beltway should be located on the east or west side of Dayton. (Gov. Ex. F, § 1.01, p. 1/1.)

2. Late in the Fall of 1959, the State negotiated an agreement with a Consulting Engineering firm for the preparation of a Preliminary Engineering Report which was to investigate the question of location on the east or west side of Dayton, and develop a proposed route for I-675. This agreement was approved by the BPR on March 29, 1960. (Gov. Ex. F, § 1.02, p. 1/1.)

3. In April, 1960, the Ohio Department of Highways (ODH) (predecessor of the Ohio Department of Transportation) and the BPR met with officials from the Montgomery-Greene County Regional Transportation Committee (RTC) (predecessor of the Transportation Coordinating Committee) and local communities to discuss possible route corridor locations of the beltway. (Gov. Ex. F, § 1.03, p. 1/1.)

4. The Consultant prepared and submitted to the State an informal report (dated 31 May 1960) which discussed a number of different physically feasible route corridors west of Dayton and east of Dayton. This report was summarized in a Preliminary Engineering Report. Control factors considered in the Studies were: concentrated residential, commercial or industrial development; public lands such as schools, parks, and military bases; semi-public properties such as churches, cemeteries, and golf courses. Proposed future land uses were not necessarily considered as controlling features, but known major planned developments within the various corridors were considered in the selection of a recommended corridor. This report recommended that the belt route be located on the east side of Dayton. (Gov. Ex. F, § 1.04, p. 1/1; Gov. Ex. S.)

5. In July 1960, the BPR approved the general location of the recommended east corridor location for further engineering studies. (Gov. Ex. F, § 1.05, p. 1/2.)

6. In December 1961, the consulting engineering firm completed and submitted a preliminary engineering report which included a recommended location within the eastern corridor and some minor (non-relevant) alternatives. (Gov. Ex. F, § 1.06, p. 1/2; Gov. Ex. T.)

7. Copies of the consultant's report were reviewed by the State, the BPR and local officials. (Gov. Ex. F, § 1.07, p. 1/2.)

8. In 1962, local officials took exception to the route location recommended in the 1961 preliminary engineering report. The RTC developed a "close-in" route through Kettering and the eastern section of Dayton, called the Southern Expressway. This recommendation was concurred in by the State. The BPR did not approve the "close-in" route, since it judged that it did not meet the criteria for an interstate belt route. Subsequently, after further studies by the RTC and others, agreement was reached in 1963 on a location which essentially follows the one presently established for I-675. This location was approved by the BPR in January 1965, subject to additional studies and evaluation of the merits of possible alternate alignments and a public hearing on January 22, 1965. (Gov. Ex. F, §§ 1.08-1.10, pp. 1/2-1/4; Gov. Ex. U.)

9. On March 9, 1965, a public hearing was held on the proposed alignment for I-675. Many comments and suggestions were presented for consideration by local and state officials. The general alignment of I-675 was approved by the Director of Highways on April 19, 1965. On July 13, 1965, the BPR approved the routing for I-675 on the general alignment east of Fairborn, Ohio. (Gov. Ex. F, §§ 1.11-1.12, p. 1/4; Gov. Ex. V.)

10. Concurrently with the development of the proposed I-675 alignment, the RTC was developing a Regional Transportation Plan. "The Regional Transportation Plan, Volume II," (Gov. Ex. I) was completed in September 1965. This plan included I-675, in its present corridor, as part of the planned system of highways for Greene and Montgomery Counties. (Gov. Ex. F, § 1.13, p. 1/4; Gov. Ex. I.)

11. Two consulting engineering firms were hired by ODOT in 1966 to develop construction contract plans for I-675. As a result of public comments received at the public hearing and the communications received by the State concerning the alignment, the consultants prepared studies of alternates to the proposed alignment south of U.S. 35, identified at the March 9, 1965 public hearing. A report which took into consideration regional and community growth, public facilities and services, displacement of residents and businesses, fast, safe and efficient transportation and highway costs and user benefits was issued on July 12, 1966. After reviewing this report, the State conducted a second public hearing which was required due to certain minor and nonrelevant alignment changes recommended in the report. On February 10, 1967, the second public hearing was held where the alignment and adjustments were presented. Subsequently, construction plans were prepared for the corridor defined at this hearing, which is essentially the existing alignment of I-675. (Gov. Ex. F, §§ 1.14-1.17, pp. 1/4-1/5; Gov. Ex. V.)

12. For right of way acquisition and construction purposes, I-675 was divided into individual Construction Sections. These seven sections are identified on Gov. Ex. N....

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