Joliet again will postpone a public hearing and vote on the NorthPoint plan, interim City Manager Steve Jones said Monday.
The city, however, is making special arrangements for public participation on other matters at the April 7 meeting of the City Council while maintaining social distancing standards to protect against spread of the coronavirus,
The City Council at that meeting will take the same action it did previously on NorthPoint Development's plan for the Compass Business Park, when it continued the hearing and tabled the vote, Jones said.
The process allows the city to keep NorthPoint’s application for a pre-annexation agreement active while avoiding the prospect of a large crowd coming to City Hall at a time when health officials warn against public gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ll open and reschedule it so we don’t have to go back through the original filing process,” Jones said.
Stephanie Irvine, a leader in the Just Say No to NorthPoint organization, has said opponents will come out when the public hearing is held. Members of building trades unions have come to past meetings as well to show support for the project.
NorthPoint is seeking a pre-annexation agreement for 1,260 acres for the Compass Business Park. Opponents contend the project would overload roads and highways with trucks, while NorthPoint says the design of the park would make semitrailer traffic more orderly.
On March 17, the council continued the NorthPoint matter to its next meeting on April 7.
Jones said the council at that meeting will set the next date for the NorthPoint hearing and vote.
The next regular council meeting after April 7 is April 21.
The federal government now is extending social distancing standards through the end of April.
The city already put in place social distancing arrangements at the March 17 council meeting, where the council chambers was divided into two rooms. The public was required to watch the meeting on video outside the chambers and were allowed to come in one at a time to comment to the council.
Jones said the city is working on new arrangements to allow the public to comment in real time at the April 7 meeting whether or not they attend.
“We’re developing protocol for public comment and for anyone who may want to weigh in on agenda items,” Jones said, “We will have a process where someone can do some sort of public comment without being here.”
He said the process will be announced by Thursday when the city posts the agenda for the April 7 meeting.