March 30, 2023
Local News

Judge grants preliminary injunction, Joliet considers NorthPoint options

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A Will County judge on Monday morning granted a preliminary injunction to delay the first annexations for the NorthPoint project.

Judge Roger Rickmon ruled that proper public notice was not given before a February public hearing of the Plan Commission, which recommended approval for NorthPoint.

Joliet announced a few hours later that the City Council will not vote Tuesday as planned on the annexation off 355 acres, the first of an eventual 1,260 acres that NorthPoint wants to bring into the city for its future Compass Global Logistics Hub.

"City legal staff will determine how to proceed in light of the rulings," said the statement from interim City Manager Jim Hock.

The village of Elwood is seeking an injunction that would force Joliet to restart the process that led to the City Council approval in April of a pre-annexation agreement with NorthPoint.

The village's motion for the preliminary injunction was aimed at stalling annexations from proceeding before the case is settled.

The village of Elwood, which opposes the project, contended proper notice was not given that when the Plan Commission met, it intended to consider rezoning and a special use permit for NorthPoint in the pre-annexation agreement.

The commission recommended approval of the agreement.

Rickmon called the public notice published for the Plan Commission hearing "woefully deficient," saying Joliet failed to follow its own municipal code in its description of the hearing.

The judge's comments when issuing his order would appear to be promising to Elwood's case for an injunction.

Jordan Kielian, an attorney for the village of Elwood, noted that the order includes wording "that we are likely to prevail on the merits" of the case.

Rickmon ruled in favor of NorthPoint and the city of Joliet, co-defendants in the case, in agreeing to dismiss Elwood complaints that objectors were not given sufficient opportunity to make a case against the project at a public hearing before the City Council in April.

The judge agreed with attorneys from NorthPoint, who argued that municipalities do not have constitutional standing to bring complaints based on the due process rights that Elwood asserted,

Rickmon, however, was critical of the hearing, commenting that "interested parties were not afforded a fundamentally fair hearing" before the City Council.

Rickmon also noted a four-minute rule that was applied without exception during the hearing.

The City Council approved the pre-annexation agreement in a 6-3 vote.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News