I feel compelled to clarify some things about NorthPoint, the closed loop, and the unofficial Route 53 moratorium.
I recently wrote an article concerning Joliet City Council member Larry Hug’s view that the city should make room for continued warehouse development along Route 53 ahead of NorthPoint’s so-called closed-loop road network.
This seems to have stirred some public opinion that Hug and the city of Joliet are no longer holding NorthPoint to an agreement that it build the closed loop.
The closed loop, whether or not you give it credibility, is the design concept aimed at keeping semitrailers within NorthPoint’s future Compass Global Logistics Hub and off Route 53 as they move between warehouses and the intermodal yards in Joliet and Elwood.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next in the ongoing NorthPoint saga.
But abandoning the closed loop was not what Hug was suggesting.
Hug was saying that the city should not prohibit any warehouse project that depends on access to Route 53.
This applies specifically to the pending Joliet Logistics Park project, which is not a NorthPoint project, at Route 53 and Millsdale Road. The City Council had said no to Joliet Logistics before, and Hug is saying it should consider saying yes, now that Joliet Logistics is back for approval.
Hug says the Joliet Logistics Park developer is willing to tie into the closed-loop road network when it is built. But NorthPoint and its closed loop, which depends on a bridge being built over Route 53, have been tied up in court so long that other projects should not be frozen while that legal battle continues.
This has raised some cries that the city will violate a moratorium on Route 53 warehouse development.
As I have written before, there is no binding moratorium on Route 53 warehouse development.
A few City Council members, including Hug, advocated for a moratorium on warehouses relying on access to Route 53 after approving the NorthPoint project the first time, which was in April 2020.
But there was no vote on the moratorium and no ordinance to make it anything other than an intention put into stronger language.
The process that led to NorthPoint approval in April 2020 had to be done again after a successful court challenge. The council approved the NorthPoint project again in December 2020.
In December 2021, the council again voted on NorthPoint and approved a revised plan proposing a new bridge location, as the developer faced an ongoing legal battle over its proposed bridge in Elwood.
Stop NorthPoint, a citizens’ group waging a legal battle against the project, vows to keep up the fight.
In the meantime, Hug says the city should consider other warehouse projects as long as developers make a commitment to connecting to the closed loop – if it ever gets built.