Stop NorthPoint awaits court ruling on Joliet vote
Judge says he will issue decision this week; City Council slated to vote Tuesday
By Bob Okon
December 15, 2021 at 4:15 pm CST
Stop NorthPoint on Wednesday made its case to stop a public hearing on plans for the 2,300-acre Compass Global Logistics Hub and should find out this week if it was successful.
Will County Judge John Pavich said he will issue a decision in “the next day or two” on Stop NorthPoint’s petition for a temporary restraining order.
Stop NorthPoint contends the city of Joliet has not released all documents sought under a Freedom of Information Act request and what the city has released was provided too late for the public to prepare for the City Council hearing Tuesday on the annexation plan.
The group in the past week received two traffic studies for the project, which the city did not release before Stop NorthPoint went to court to try to stop next week’s vote.
“If Joliet’s going to represent that’s all they have, I think they’re really walking on a tightrope here,” Stop NorthPoint attorney Richard Linden said at the court hearing. “There has to be more documents.”
“If Mr. Linden doesn’t believe me, there’s nothing I can do about that,” Assistant City Attorney Chris Regis responded.
Stop NorthPoint is seeking a court order requiring Joliet to release all documents sought in the FOIA request.
“I don’t know what purpose an order would serve,” Regis said. “Would it cause us to really comply? No. We’ve already complied.”
Linden said he believes the city has more documents because Stop NorthPoint was able to obtain elsewhere a July email discussing a traffic study that was sent by Manhattan Village Administrator Kevin Sing to NorthPoint official Tom George with two Joliet officials copied on the email.
He also questioned why a recent traffic study provided by the city late last week did not include any accompanying communication between NorthPoint and the city.
“I can’t imagine NorthPoint just willy-nilly sending it with no emails or cover letter or anything,” Linden said.
The project planned for the south end of Joliet is expected to generate 10,000 semitrailers a day when completed. It faces intense opposition from residents in the area but also enjoys support because of the jobs and tax dollars it could produce.
The court hearing on Wednesday was held because of a Dec. 3 complaint filed by Stop NorthPoint seeking a court order that would force Joliet to supply traffic and environmental impact studies sought through a FOIA request but denied. The group amended the complaint on Dec. 7 to seek an order that would prevent the City Council from holding its public hearing on the NorthPoint project until the FOIA request was met.
The city on Dec. 9 provided provided Stop NorthPoint with a 2020 traffic study that was done for an annexation agreement approved that year.
On Tuesday, Stop NorthPoint received from the city another NorthPoint traffic study done for a portion of an expanded Compass Global Logistics Hub. NorthPoint is seeking a new annexation agreement for its expanded plan, which is what the City Council is slated to consider for approval on Tuesday.
Linden said he was told by Regis that the city received the second NorthPoint traffic study on Monday.
Linden argued that next week’s City Council vote should be delayed to give the public time to review the recently released traffic studies.
But Regis said there is no legal requirement for a traffic study before an annexation hearing.
“What Mr. Linden is asking for is not supported by law,” Regis said. “The city of Joliet is not required to have any environmental studies, any traffic studies before a public hearing.”
No environmental study has been done for the project.
CenterPoint Properties has filed a second lawsuit against Joliet alleging that the City Council acted “in retribution” in May when it denied zoning for further development of the CenterPoint Intermodal Center. The retribution was linked to CenterPoint’s opposition to the controversial NorthPoint Development project, CenterPoint alleges.... Read more →