Joliet City Council members reached Wednesday said their votes against a CenterPoint Properties’ project were not connected to the company’s fight with city hall and a rival developer who enjoys the support of the city.
But the one council member who voted for the project, Councilman Pat Mudron, said “it was a bit of surprise to me” when his motion to approve the CenterPoint project died for lack of a second and the council then voted 7-1 to reject it.
“I didn’t get that memo,” Mudron said. “I can tell you that.”
Mudon said the plan rejected by the council fell in line with past warehouse projects within the the CenterPoint Inrtermodal Center.
The project came to the council for a vote one week after a partnership that includes CenterPoint filed a lawsuit. The lawsuit seeks to block rival developer NorthPoint Development’s plans for a 2,300-acre industrial park that would be on the eastern edge of the CenterPoint Intermodal Center.
The lawsuit was filed by Houbolt Road Extension Joint Venture, a private partnership that is building the Houbolt Road toll bridge over the Des Plaines River in cooperation with Joliet, Will County and the state of Illinois to create a new route for trucks between the CenterPoint Intermodal Center to Interstate 80.
“That (the lawsuit) wasn’t why I voted against it, but I think they’re just trying to stave off the competition,” Councilwoman Sherri Reardon said.
Reardon said her vote against the CenterPoint proposal was influenced by Kathy Garthus and other residents who live on the edge of the developer’s industrial park and have expressed concerns about roads that would be closed by the latest CenterPoint project.
“I just don’t like the fact that all these other roadways are going to be closed off,” Reardon said.
The CenterPoint proposal includes vacating sections of Brandon and Schweitzer roads for the 476-acre project that lies within the CenterPoint Intermodal Center.
Garthus urged the council to vote against the CenterPoint plan.
“You guys are going to vacate Schweitzer Road. That’s our main way to get out to Laraway Road,” Garthus told the council. “You guys have to start getting tough with CenterPoint.”
A CenterPoint spokesman said the company would not comment on the council’s vote.
Councilman Terry Morris said he voted against the CenterPoint plan because of the road closures and the developer’s unwillingness to negotiate alternatives with residents.
“They didn’t seem like they are interested in working with them,” Morris said. “That’s why I voted the way I did.”
Garthus was the only person who spoke against the CenterPoint Project. She also urged the council to vote against the NorthPoint plan to develop the first 532 acres of its 2,300-acre Third Coast Intermodal Hub.
A half-dozen other people also spoke against the North Point plan, which has faced intense residential opposition that includes lawsuits trying to stop the plan.
But the council on Tuesday voted 7-1 for the NorthPoint plats that will allow the developer to start construction.
Councilman Larry Hug said he voted against the CenterPoint plan because of past letters from the developer to the city urging the council to block the NorthPoint project because it would drive too much traffic onto roads inside the CenterPoint Intermodal Center. Hug noted the CenterPoint plan also would add more trucks to the roads.
“I don’t agree with their logic or their conclusions,” he said. “But I will hold them to it.”