Results of Opposition

White and Woolworth sent their nomination to the Minnesota state review board, which recommended the site to the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C. which, in turn, approved the site as eligible for listing on the National Register in late 2003. However, the landowners indicated their opposition to the listing on the register proper. This means the site has been determined to be eligible but is not actually listed on the National Register. Eligibility alone offers the site some protection, because "an agency’s determination that a property meets eligibility criteria means that the agency must treat it as if it were already listed, even though the property has not been formally nominated to or included in the National Register."1

However, even an official listing on the National Register only requires that the site’s National Register status to be considered in “planning for Federal, federally licensed, and federally assisted projects.” 2
Ultimately, those projects may still be carried out after such “consideration.” Moreover, eligibility does nothing to prevent private landowners from carrying out any projects that may alter sites they own. Still, the bluff’s eligibility does offer the City Council more incentive to deny any development proposals on the land and encourages a historic association, private organization, or government agency to buy the land and preserve it. Eventually, Trust for Public Land, a private organization, did exactly this.
In November, 2003 the EAW was completed and the development issue was opened up for a thirty-day public comment period. The City Council received 226 letters, emails, and faxes. All but one opposed development on Pilot Knob. The Council then unanimously voted to order the developer to pay for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). An EIS is essentially a more in depth EAW and would cost the developer more than $100,000.3
Minnstar legally had thirty days to contest this ruling in court, but it did not. Minnstar wanted to avoid such costs, having already paid for the EAW, and on January 29, 2004, sued the city of Mendota Heights, asking the judge for a writ of mandamus to order the council to approve the development and award damages. The company and the landowners claimed the sixty-day rule should have applied despite the EAW. In May 2004, however, the judge overseeing the case decided in favor of the petitioners, denying the company’s claim. If Minnstar wanted to develop the land, it would have to pay for an EIS.

A listing of supporting documents created on behalf of the preservation movement can be found here




  1. Charles W. Smythe and Frederick F. York, "Traditional Cultural Properties: Putting Concept into Practice," The George Wright Forum 26 (November 1, 2009):15, accessed August 18, 2015,

  1. National Park Service. "National Register of Historic Places Program: Frequently Asked Questions." National Park Service. Accessed June 21, 2015.

  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Environmental Assessments and Environmental ImpactStatements." Mid-Atlantic National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Accessed June 21, 2015.