Government

Elwood sues Joliet again over NorthPoint approval

Second lawsuit if successful could force another redo of public hearings for developer’s Compass Global Logistics Hub

The village of Elwood is suing a second time, contending Joliet again mishandled the approval process for NorthPoint Development’s plans for a massive warehouse and industrial park.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Will County Circuit Court creates the prospect of Joliet going through a third round of public hearings on the Compass Global Logistics Hub if a court agrees again to void city approval of the project.

The lawsuit is “similar to the last time,” Elwood Village Attorney Jordan Kielian said, in contending that Joliet failed to file proper public notice and did not conduct public hearings properly in the second round before approving the NorthPoint project in December.

It goes farther, however, asking for rulings that could force changes in the plan that reach into Elwood and the village’s Facility Planning Area for future utilities.

“Some parts of the NorthPoint complex fall within the village’s Facility Planning Area,” Kielian said. “What we’re asking is that the city of Joliet not be allowed to build sewers in Elwood’s Facility Planning Area and collect fees for that.”

The lawsuit also seeks to bar the inclusion of an undefined alternate location for a bridge over Route 53 that is essential to development of the Compass Global Logistics Hub.

Elwood argues that if an alternate site is identified it would amount to an amendment to the annexation agreement and should require a public hearing with separate approval on that matter alone.

Joliet City Attorney Sabrina Spano did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

Elwood has mounted another legal battle against the preferred site for the bridge, which would go over Walter Strawn Drive and be built in Elwood.

NorthPoint has annexed 1,360 acres into Joliet for the industrial park, which would stretch from the south end of Joliet and into Elwood, leading to the friction between the two municipalities.

Elwood in 2018 rejected NorthPoint’s plan then to annex land into Elwood for construction of the industrial park. At that time, a boundary agreement between the two communities prevented Joliet from annexing land for the NorthPoint project. Joliet refused to extend the boundary agreement when it expired in December 2019. In January 2020, NorthPoint announced plans to annex land into Joliet to make development of the park possible.

The project has faced intense residential opposition, particularly from people in the Elwood and Manhattan areas, since it was first proposed in 2017.

Another lawsuit from a group calling itself Stop NorthPoint seeks a court order to prevent the Compass Global Logistics Hub from ever being built.