NorthPoint pushed to April 7 agenda

The new date for the Joliet City Council vote on the NorthPoint plan is officially April 7, but unofficially it's anybody's guess.

The council this week continued the public hearing and tabled the vote for NorthPoint Development's pre-annexation agreement to its next regularly scheduled meeting April 7, an action taken to avoid a large public gathering this week on the controversial issue amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

Continued fast-changing developments leave city officials unsure what might happen on April 7.

Mayor Bob O'Dekirk said Wednesday he could not be sure the NorthPoint hearing will proceed April 7 as now planned.

Stephanie Irvine, a leader in the Just Say No to NorthPoint movement against the project, said the "many unknowns with this pandemic" make it impossible to predict whether a hearing can take place in three weeks.

"I wouldn't bank on it being done April 7, but we'll be ready if it is," Irvine said.

Joliet officials have been wondering whether Gov. JB Pritzker would order all public buildings to close.

Some municipalities, including Crest Hill and Romeoville, have closed their city halls and village halls.

Joliet City Hall is open, but the city is encouraging the public to conduct business online or by telephone rather than coming in.

The city also has canceled what are being termed non-essential public meetings, and social distance standards have been put in place in council chambers that would make it hard to accommodate the large crowd likely to show up for a NorthPoint vote.