The Joliet City Council voted 6-2 for NorthPoint Development’s latest plan on Tuesday, again after lengthy comments from opponents to the project.
The approved plan was an expanded from what the council approved a year ago to 2,300 acres. It does not includes a proposal for a bridge near Breen Road. NorthPoint has yet to begin construction and has been fighting litigation aimed at blocking the project.
Twenty-seven people spoke against the NorthPoint plan.
“I am a lifelong Joliet resident who has worked in the area warehouses, and I’m here to say enough,” said Angela Ortiz.
Ortiz was among speakers who argued the NorthPoint project would attract low-paying jobs with few benefits, while adding to the burden on local roads and water sources.
“Our community does not have the capacity to handle this kind of drain on resources,” Ortiz said.
Voting for NorthPoint were Larry Hug, Terry Morris, Pat Mudron, Jan Quillman, Sherri Reardon and Joe Clement. Voting no were Bettye Gavin and Cesar Guerero.
The question of traffic and environmental studies showing the impact of the project was a repeated issue during the public comments.
But NorthPoint was the first to raise the issue.
Tom Osterberger, attorney for NorthPoint, told the council during initial comments that a traffic study is not used as a basis for approving a project. He said it is meant to be “a tool that a municipality and developer use together to determine what on-site and off-site improvements are needed.”
NorthPoint has done a traffic study for its previous plan but has not completed one for the current plan.
NorthPoint Vice President of Acquisitions Tom George said new traffic studies will be done with every 3 million square feet of construction to determine the impact of development as the project proceeds.
George during the NorthPoint presentation also said the developer has moved up the timetable for paying $5 million in developer contribution fees to the point at which building permits are approved for the first building in the Compass Global Logistics Hub.
But the issue of traffic and environmental studies became a topic for the first public speaker at the public hearing.
“Preparing a statement has been extremely difficult because of limited information provided to the public about the current proposal,” said Jackson Township farmer Julia Baum-Coldwater.
The Compass Global Logistics Hub would stretch from Joliet to Elwood and has faced opposition from residents and officials in Elwood, Manhattan, Jackson Township and Manhattan Township.
Most of the speakers Tuesday had voiced objections at past meetings.
“We came here tonight just to let you know we are not giving up the fight,” Manhattan Township Supervisor James Walsh told the council.
NorthPoint plans to develop 2,300 acres and at least 16 million square feet of warehouse space.
The developer points to its closed-loop road network as a solution to truck traffic issues. The closed-loop concept is aimed at providing a direct route for trucks through the CenterPoint Intermodal Center to the intermodal yards in Joliet and Elwood.
But CenterPoint Properties, which has developed the CenterPoint Intermodal Center and intermodal yards, has called for a traffic study to show the impact on roads inside its development.
CenterPoint Chief Development Officer Michael Murphy filed a statement by email for the hearing, calling for the council to table the NorthPoint vote until the traffic impact can be explored.