NorthPoint opponents, environmental groups seek to join lawsuit against Joliet

Lawsuit claims inadequate due process at hearings on project

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Two environmental organizations and members of the Just Say No to NorthPoint group are seeking to join a lawsuit against the city of Joliet to nullify an agreement for a future industrial park.

The opponents of the NorthPoint project filed a motion to join the lawsuit brought by Elwood village officials which claimed the city of Joliet failed to provide adequate due process for those who spoke against the agreement at public hearings.

Among those seeking to join the lawsuit are the nonprofit environmental organizations, Openlands and the Sierra Club, and Julia Baum-Coldwater, Delilah Legrett, Stephanie Irvine and Theresa Papesh, individual members of Just Say No to NorthPoint.

Irvine, one of the founding members of the anti-NorthPoint group, said the individuals seeking to join the lawsuit are property owners who would be affected by the project and were unable to give sufficient testimony when it was under consideration.

She and the group have fought against the project since it was first before the village of Elwood in 2017.

"The experience of our legal team in these matters give us the utmost confidence that we will persevere," Irvine said in a news release.

The pre-annexation agreement was approved by the Joliet City Council on April 17 in a 6-3 vote following several days of public hearings where the large majority of the speakers were against it.

The agreement allows NorthPoint Development to use 1,260 acres of land for a future Compass Global Logistics Hub that would stretch from the south end of Joliet to Elwood and Manhattan. The developer has said the project would bring more than 10,000 permanent jobs and over $18 million in annual property tax revenue to local school districts and governments.

Opponents also argue the project would create "significant environmental impacts" to the nearby Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and the individual properties near the hub. Openlands and Sierra Club said in the release they have an interest in "preserving and safeguarding" the federally-protected prairie, according to the release.

"We hope to move forward with all parties in creating an equitable development solution, one that builds up the assets and opportunities that the area has to offer, without sacrificing the cultural and natural heritage that have enriched the community for generations," Jerry Adelmann, the president and CEO of Openlads, said in the release.

Earlier this month, a Will County judge granted a preliminary injuction to delay the first annexations for the project. Judge Roger Rickmon ruled that proper public notice was not given before a February public hearing of the Joliet Plan Commission, which recommended approval for NorthPoint.

A spokesman for NorthPoint Development did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Interim Joliet City Manager Jim Hock did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.