April 20, 2024
Local News

City manager: Delay won't stop NorthPoint annexation into Joliet

Issues being raised by NorthPoint opponents will not stop the planned annexation into Joliet from eventually moving forward, interim City Manager Jim Hock said Tuesday.

The Joliet City Council on Tuesday tabled a vote on the first annexations for the project to Oct. 6 after the city got a call from the Manhattan-Elwood Public Library District that it did not get formal notice of the annexation proceedings.

Taxing districts affected by the annexation must get formal notice of the proceeding, and Hock said city officials believe that was done. But Hock said the the vote was done out of caution amid the opposition the NorthPoint project faces.

"We don't want people to raise this as an issue just as they're trying to do with the notary," Hock said.

The notary issue was raised Monday by a member of the Stop NorthPoint group.

John Kieken described what he called "irregularities" in an email sent to Hock, the City Council and members of the media.

Kieken pointed out that the annexation petition has a date of being notarized on July 16 and a separate date of being filed on July 17. He also questioned the authenticity of the notary's signature.

"We don't care," Hock said.

NorthPoint may have wanted the petition documented for their own reasons, but it was not a city requirement, Hock said.

Nor do the separate dates in the document matter, Hock said.

The dates would seem to be significant since they fall right at the 90-day point at which NorthPoint was to file evidence of land acquisition with the city.

Hock described the 90-day period, as well as the city's own 60-day period in which to approve annexations once petitions are filed, as "self-imposed deadlines" that are not going to make or break the city's pre-annexation agreement with NorthPoint.

"There's no statutory requirement," Hock said. "It's not a stickler as to whether something can be approved."

Stop NorthPoint spokeswoman Erin Gallagher, however, said the matters raised this week help make a case as opponents look for legal avenues and other measures to stop the annexation into Joliet.

"NorthPoint is not a done deal," Gallagher said, pointing to the fact that the developer was not ready to annex all 1,260 acres into Joliet this week. The annexations the City Council were to consider involved two parcels totalling 355 acres, and the partial annexation is another issue being raised by opponents.

"They're trying to do this piecemeal, and it's not going well," Gallagher said.

The City Council approved the pre-annexation agreement with NorthPoint on April 17. But the actual annexation of land depends on the developer's ability to acquire property.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News