Elwood files Temporary Restraining Order to stop NorthPoint Development

Attorneys for Joliet and developer file motion to dismiss

Rex Robinson | 9/10/2020, 6 a.m.
The Village of Elwood has filed a Temporary Restraining Order against the City of Joliet and East Gate - Logistics ...

The Village of Elwood has filed a Temporary Restraining Order against the City of Joliet and East Gate - Logistics Park Chicago to prevent the annexation and subsequent construction of the NorthPoint development. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 24.

Elwood alleges that the public hearing at the Joliet Plan Commission held on Feb. 24 was legally deficient in that the legal notice was defective, the special use was not adequately defined, and due process was violated due to the four-minute limit for each speaker, violation of statutute requiring testimony be under oath. Additional allegations were filed by the plaintiff in regards to the City Council's public hearing on the pre-annexation agreement for NorthPoint held on April 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.

The Village of Elwood is asking the Court to “declare the City of Joliet’s approval of the pre- annexation agreement void, and enjoin the City of Joliet from annexing, rezoning, and granting the special use permit pursuant to the pre-annexation agreement.”

Meanwhile, attorneys for East Gate - Logistics Park Chicago and the City of Joliet have filed a motion to dismiss the case and are challenging the legal sufficiency of the complaint by asserting that the facts as pleaded are insufficient on the face of the complaint to state a cause of action.

The proposed NorthPoint development which is aimed at bringing tax revenue, construction jobs and other employment into the Joliet region was put on hold last week.

According to Joliet interim City Manager Jim Hock, officials from the Manhattan Elwood Public Library District contacted the city’s Corporate Council and said they never received notice back in April of the pre-annexation agreement between NorthPoint Development and the City of Joliet.

The Joliet City Council was scheduled to vote Sept. 1 on the final annexation agreement of more than 50 percent of the properties in the proposed development, but Hock recommended the council hold off until the Oct. 6 city council meeting to vote on the agreement.

The final annexation agreement between the developer and Joliet is a formality at this point, according to city officials. The public hearing happened back in April after which the Council approved the pre-annexation agreement.

This will not spur another public hearing. Delaying the vote simply gives the Manhattan Elwood Public Library District and all other taxing bodies time to receive the notice.

“I think you’re making the right call here,” Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said Monday in response to Hock’s recommendation. “I know there’s legal challenges out there. But we’ve done everything the right way so far so let’s get this taken care of.”

NorthPoint Development’s plans call for Joliet to annex 1,260 acres a half-mile south of Breen Road and east of Chicago Road to develop a business park. NorthPoint is continue to acquire the land needed for the development and at this point has purchased more than 50 percent of that property.

In late April, the Joliet City Council took the first step toward bringing the controversial business park proposal to fruition, despite community groups vehemently opposing it. Hundreds of people spoke out against the development at call-in public hearings at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic.