For Immediate Release
Contact: Erin Gallagher, 815-641-7760 cell
Stop NorthPoint Asks Court to Uphold Governor’s Order
Stop NorthPoint seeks TRO during Covid pandemic
Stop NorthPoint LLC is asking the court for a temporary restraining order to prevent Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and the City of Joliet from forcing the NorthPoint project through the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals during the height of the pandemic.
“The public hearings set for December 3rd, 10th, and 15th, 2020 violate state law and will endanger the health and safety of the named Plaintiffs and the general public,” according to the complaint filed Monday in Will County court.
Many of the plaintiffs are decorated veterans, including several who are elderly, who should not be subject to a super-spreader event in order to have their voices heard, the complaint alleges.
“Many of our plaintiffs are veteran heroes, including several who were wounded in combat,” said Stop NorthPoint attorney Bob Fioretti. “These heroes have risked their lives for the right to be heard, and they should not have to hire attorneys to protect those very rights from Mayor O’Dekirk and the City of Joliet who are trying to take away their ability to voice their opinions.”
The Illinois Governor issued an Executive Order on November 18, 2020 prohibiting gatherings of any size unless it’s within a household or otherwise exempt. Both the Joliet City Hall and Will County Offices are closed due to Covid.
Presently, the City of Joliet has no jurisdiction over the land subject to rezoning. O’Dekirk and his administration are putting the cart before the horse by pushing for rezoning before annexation, and putting the lives of Joliet residents at great risk to do it.
O’Dekirk’s administration announced the public hearings with ten participants in council chambers at a time, with participants spread throughout the City Hall building, which is currently closed.
NorthPoint has seen strong opposition throughout Will County. Two years ago, in the case of the Elwood public hearing — a town of about 2,000 people — over 1,000 people attended each of three nights of testimony, which was relocated to the school gym to accommodate everyone.
With Joliet’s population of 150,000 people, (75 times larger than Elwood), even if half the people who attended Elwood’s meeting showed up to Joliet’s public hearing, that would mean that O’Dekirk’s staff would have to shuffle people through 50 different rooms in City Hall.
The governor’s executive order specifies that law enforcement, such as the state police or Joliet police, have the authority to enforce the law. In the event that a TRO is not granted, Stop NorthPoint is prepared to request the governor to honor his executive order and send the Illinois State Police to enforce the law and stop the public hearing.
Additionally, the governor’s order require face coverings, whereas O’Dekirk’s staff is not making them a requirement to participate in the public hearings, further putting residents at risk, the complaint alleges.
“There is no real reason to hold these hearings now,” said Peter Bustamonte, also an attorney for Stop NorthPoint LLC. “Why is Mayor O’Dekirk pushing for this, why is he making NorthPoint Development more important than the lives of his residents?”
The hearing on the matter is set for Wednesday December 2 before Judge Theodore Jarz.