May 29, 2024
Local News

Joliet delays NorthPoint vote as opponents dig into annexation process

A vote will likely be delayed a month on the first annexations for the future Compass Global Logistics Hub amid questions being raised about the annexation process.

The Joliet City Council was to vote Tuesday on the annexation of 355 of the 1,260 acres that NorthPoint Development wants to annex into Joliet for the logistics park.

Interim City Manager Jim Hock at a council workshop meeting Monday recommended delaying the vote until Oct. 6 after a taxing body reported not getting formal notice of the annexation.

The annexation is proceeding amid ongoing opposition, including threats of litigation, that has dogged the NorthPoint project.

"I know there are legal challenges out there," Mayor Bob O'Dekirk said at the Monday council meeting.

O'Dekirk commended staff for delaying the NorthPoint vote under the circumstances.

"We've done everything the right way," he said. "I think we should continue to do so – not cut corners."

The City Council in April approved a pre-annexation plan for NorthPoint but has not yet approved the actual land annexations.

Hock said the complaint over the lack of formal notification came Monday from the Manhattan-Elwood Public Library District.

After the meeting, Hock said he did not know whether or not the city had given formal notification to the library district and thought it better to delay the vote rather than move ahead under the uncertainty.

Opponents are looking for opportunities to reverse approvals with potential litigation and are looking for miscues in the annexation process.

On Monday, city officials also received an email from a Manhattan Township resident questioning the legitimacy of annexation petitions filed by NorthPoint.

The petitions are dated July 17 and were notarized on July 16.

The authenticity of the signature of the notary public used for the petitions also is being questioned by NorthPoint opponents.

The newly formed Working Families Joliet Political Action Committee had planned a car caravan protest around City Hall on Tuesday when the annexation vote was to occur. That protest has been rescheduled for the Oct. 6 meeting.

A news release announcing the protest pointed to questions being raised about the annexation petitions and newly raised concerns by Veterans Affairs about the potential impact on the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.

Veterans Affairs' National Cemetery Administration late last week sent a letter to the village of Elwood citing concerns about a bridge over Route 53 that is key to the NorthPoint plan. The bridge would be built in an Elwood section of the logistics park and is being fought in court by the village of Elwood.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News