Stop Northpoint sues Joliet for traffic studies on new plan
Emergency motion hearing scheduled for Thursday
By Felix Sarver
December 08, 2021 at 5:15 am CST
One of the founders of Stop Northpoint is suing the City of Joliet to obtain any traffic studies concerning the new Northpoint plan ahead of a Dec. 21 City Council vote.
Attorneys for John Kieken of Manhattan have also filed an emergency motion on Tuesday asking a judge to order city officials to produce those traffic studies before the Dec. 21 council meeting.
A court hearing on the emergency motion is slated for Thursday, Kieken said.
Council members are scheduled to vote on an annexation plan that adds more than 1,000 acres to what the council approved a year ago. NorthPoint now plans to develop more than 2,300 acres for warehouses stretching from Joliet to Elwood.
If city officials are unwilling or unable to provide those records, Kieken’s emergency motion has requested a suspension of the Dec. 21 public hearing until the records are provided to the public.
“If Joliet cares about the welfare of its residents, it will not oppose this motion,” Kieken’s motion said.
Kieken filed the lawsuit Friday afternoon in Will County court. Richard Linden, Robert Fioretti and Peter Bustamante are listed as Kieken’s attorneys in the case.
The lawsuit said Kieken submitted a Freedom of Information Act request on Nov. 15 that requested any traffic and environmental studies related to Northpoint Development, Compass Business Park, Compass Business Park, Compass Global Logistics Hub, East Gate Logistics Park Chicago LLC and Wakal Limited Partnership.
Kieken’s lawsuit included a copy of Assistant Corporation Counsel Chris Regis’ Nov. 19 response to his request.
Regis denied Kieken’s request because the records he seeks are “preliminary drafts or notes in which opinions are expressed or policies are formulated, unless the record is publicly cited and identified by the head of the public body.”
Regis said no records exist regarding environmental studies.
Kieken’s attorneys contend the denial of his request violates the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
“The decision is arbitrary, capricious and against the manifest weight of the evidence. There is no factual or legal support for the denial,” Kieken’s lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said the public “requires this information in order to meaningfully participate and prepare for the hearing.”
When contacted for a response to the lawsuit, Regis would only say, “No.”
At the Nov. 18 meeting before the Joliet Plan Commission, Christina Sammet of Jackson Township asked about the traffic impact study for the new Northpoint plan.
“We’re working to develop that with the state, county and city staff,” said Tim Sjogren, a transportation engineer with Kimley-Horn working with NorthPoint on the project.
Sammet asked if the study will be available for the Dec. 21 meeting.
“I’m not sure,” Sjrogren said.
The plan commission voted 6-2 to recommend approval of the new Northpoint plan to the city council.
Plan Commissioner Fredrick Moore, one of the no votes, said he wondered why some FOIA requests to the city had not been answered.
“Especially on that traffic study,” Moore said.
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