for governmental, professional, institutional or commercial use and accessory uses such as employee restaurants and off-street parking necessary to serve the primary uses. The owner of Square 465, to whom the land has been conveyed by the Redevelopment Land Agency, proposes with the permission of the agency, which has been granted, to use some of the space in the building to be erected by him for the following commercial uses: cafeteria, restaurant, drug store, bank, post office and savings and loan institution.
As has been stated, this suit is brought by owners of surrounding and adjoining property to enjoin the use of any part of Square 465 except for the two uses enumerated in the amended plan: namely, employee restaurants and off-street parking. The defendants are the District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency and its chairman, the National Capital Planning Commission and its chairman, and the District of Columbia and the present Commissioner of the District of Columbia. As has already been stated, the owner of Square 465, David Nassif Associates, has intervened as an additional defendant. It is claimed that the broad interpretation of the words "accessory uses" placed upon that phrase by the Redevelopment Land Agency is erroneous and should be set aside and the proposed uses enjoined.
The defendants concede that the plaintiffs have a standing to sue. Their interest obviously is that they propose to lease space in the buildings that they have erected or intend to erect for commercial purposes and they feel that the rental value of the space will be diminished as a result of competition that might arise from similar establishments in Square 465. The Court sua sponte raised the question whether the plaintiffs had a standing to sue. The Court did so because the principle of standing to sue is fundamental in the separation of powers between the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches of the Government. The Judicial Branch may consider only actual cases and controversies. It may not act as a supervisor or censor of the activities of other branches of Government. Otherwise, the tri-partite division would become transformed into a division of government wherein the Judiciary would be supreme over the other two branches. The Court has come to the conclusion that the question of standing to sue is presented in this instance in a different form than is frequently confronted in actions brought by individuals against Government agencies. The restrictions contained in the plan on uses to which property involved may be put are specifically stated to be covenants running with the land in favor of certain groups of persons, among them owners of adjoining or surrounding property. Consequently, they have an interest in enforcing what is deemed to be a covenant running with the land, and the Court, therefore, reaches the conclusion that they have a standing to sue.
This brings us to the specific question how the phrase "accessory uses" should be constructed. It needs no citation of authorities, in fact it would be an unnecessary exhibition of learning to cite authorities for the elementary proposition that an agency charged with carrying out a statute, and this urban renewal plan has the effect of a statute, has also the authority to construe the statute. The courts give weight to its construction. In fact, if the construction is reasonable, the courts will adopt it and will not determine the question of interpretation de novo. It has been said that if there is a rational basis for the ruling or decision of an administrative agency, that ends the matter so far as the courts are concerned.
It is necessary to consider the question with these principles in mind. The ruling of the Redevelopment Land Agency was contained in a letter dated May 1, 1968, written by Neville Miller the chairman of the agency, to Daggett H. Howard, one of the counsel for plaintiffs. That letter states in part:
"It is the Board's view that the phrase, 'accessory uses, such as employee restaurants and off-street parking necessary to serve the primary uses', contained in the Urban Renewal Plan for Southwest Project C does not restrict the non-office uses on Square 465 solely to employee restaurants and off-street parking. The specified uses (employee restaurants and off-street parking) are merely illustrative of the types of accessory uses permissible on the site. While other uses are permissible, it is obviously difficult to catalog an exhaustive list of them.