NorthPoint makes case to stop Stop NorthPoint

Developer for future Compass Global Logistics Hub seeks to shed lawsuit that could block the project

A lawyer for NorthPoint Development on Thursday argued in court that a lawsuit trying to block the large warehouse project in Joliet should be dismissed without a trial.

The lawsuit filed by the group Stop NorthPoint arguing that the proposed project poses a nuisance to the area is one of a few legal actions that have the proposed 1,263-acre warehouse development tied up in court before any shovels have hit the ground.

Will County Judge Ted Jarz heard arguments from both sides but said he will not make a ruling until July.

Jarz during the course of the hearing that lasted more than two hours asked several questions focusing at times on what precedent exists for declaring a project to be a nuisance before it is built.

Attorney Kathy Sons for NorthPoint argued that “the standard is very high.”

“The main thing is this is not a nuisance. This is a prospective nuisance,” Sons said. “There is a different standard for nuisance than prospective nuisance, and the courts do treat them differently.”

Sons argued that the Stop NorthPoint lawsuit should be dismissed, saying it contends the Compass Global Logistics Hub poses a nuisance with broad claims that future truck traffic itself poses a hazard.

“There is no right to be free from truck traffic in general,” she said. “We don’t know that there is going to be any difference from any other area where there is warehousing.”

Sons contended the Stop NorthPoint lawsuit was short on specifics while making allegations of potential harm, including claims of environmental hazards.

“There aren’t any allegations that there is going to be pollution that exceeds any standards,” she said.

Stop NorthPoint attorney Richard Linden argued that the case has not reached the point where allegations need to be proven and that Stop NorthPoint deserved a chance to a take depositions and go to trial.

“It’s almost like the plaintiffs would be damned if we do and damned if we don’t,” Linden said, arguing that it will become more difficult to stop the project once it is underway and could be too late. “Are we going to wait and see how many residents are killed in accidents?”

Linden said the proposed Compass Global Logistics Hub “is a little more than trucks. You have a massive warehouse complex.”

Pointing to NorthPoint estimates of 10,700 trucks a day, Linden said, “It’s going to be a constant procession of trucks.”

Jarz at one point did comment on truck traffic in the area since the development of the CenterPoint Intermodal Center.

“We already have a high level of traffic in the Joliet-Will County area disproportionate to other areas,” he said.

Expressing his own concern about a potential bridge collapse because of increased truck traffic, Jarz asked Sons what plans were in place for improving infrastructure as the NorthPoint project developed. He also pressed Linden for specifics beyond the attorney’s general statements about the potential impact of the project.

Jarz set the next date for the case at July 22, saying he would deliver his ruling by then.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News