Joliet pulls back on talk of moratorium on industrial zoning

Proposal would have limited warehouse development in south end of city

A building wall is constructed at the site of the new NorthPoint Compass Business Park along Route 53.

A proposed moratorium on industrial zoning in the south section of Joliet that has been prime territory for warehouse development was pulled back this week.

The one-year moratorium was to go to the City Council Land Use and Legislative Committee when it met Thursday but was pulled off the agenda.

“I hate the word moratorium,” Mayor Terry D’Arcy said, suggesting that whatever comes back to the council for consideration would be different than the proposal pulled from the agenda.

D’Arcy said he wants the city to be more strategic in the location of warehouses. How and when that would happen is not clear.

Mayor Terry D’Arcy listens to public comment on the grant for asylum seekers at the Joliet City Council Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023 in Joliet.

But the resolution pulled off the committee agenda would have imposed a one-year moratorium on industrial zoning in a defined area: south of Interstate 80, east of Route 53, west of Briggs Street, and south to the city limits. Warehouses require industrial zoning.

The truck traffic associated with warehouses and the two intermodal operations in Joliet and Elwood have been a constant issue in recent years.

The area defined in the withdrawn proposal has seen much of the city’s warehouse development and is where most of the NorthPoint Development’s controversial industrial park is planned.

The proposed moratorium, however, would not have had any effect on the NorthPoint property, interim City Attorney Chris Regis said when asked about the resolution before it was pulled from the agenda.

“It (NorthPoint land) already has been zoned,” Regis said. “All we’re saying is that we’re not going to do any more industrial zoning for the next year.”

Regis later contacted the Herald-News to say that the matter would be pulled from the agenda but would probably be returned for the committee’s next meeting.

“We need to take a better look at how everything is zoned, and how this is going to affect it,” Regis said.

City Manager Beth Beatty did not return a call seeking comment on the moratorium proposal.

Semitrailers enter the busy Route 53 intersection at Laraway Road in Joliet.

D’Arcy, however, said he did not think the matter would be put on the committee’s next agenda and that it was likely to come back as something other than a moratorium.

The mayor said he wanted a future comprehensive plan to have more control over warehouse development.

“We’re trying to slow the process down, so when the comprehensive plan is set up we won’t put industrial where we should have residential,” D’Arcy said. “We need to be more strategic in what we do.”

The city, however, is still in the process of hiring a consultant to develop a comprehensive plan, which is expected to be an 18-month process. D’Arcy said he expects a consultant to be brought to the council for approval in April.