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Local News

Full impact of NorthPoint plan unclear

Joliet delays hearing, Manhattan portion of plan growing

Joliet has postponed a public hearing on the NorthPoint Development plan, one sign of the complexity of the project.

Joliet, Manhattan and Elwood all are dealing with the Compass Business Park plan that appears to be growing. The latest count has the project at potentially 2,700 acres as the Manhattan portion expands.

"This is an incredibly complicated project as you can imagine," Jones said, explaining why Joliet has pushed back the hearing date on the plan. "We all agreed that we needed a little bit more time."

The Joliet hearing, however, is likely to be delayed just a week.

Jones said city staff was not ready to put the NorthPoint plan on the Feb. 20 agenda for the regular meeting Plan Commission. Instead, he said, a special meeting will be scheduled the following week for the NorthPoint hearing.

Jones said the city first received NorthPoint's pre-annexation proposal on Wednesday and needs more time to review it.

"It could take two weeks for us to really lock this thing down," Jones said.

NorthPoint wants to annex nearly 1,300 acres into Joliet as part of a larger Compass Business Park that would extend into Manhattan and Elwood.

Manhattan

Manhattan village officials said they plan to meet with NorthPoint about a proposal that could come to them.

The scope of the land that NorthPoint wants to annex into Manhattan had previously been calculated at more than 700 acres.

But both Manhattan Mayor James Doyle and Village Administrator Kevin Sing last week said they believe the ultimate proposal could be up to 1,200 acres. They said NorthPoint appears to already own about 900 acres of unincorporated land in the village's planning area.

The land outside Manhattan, like the 1,300 acres outside Joliet, would have to be rezoned for industrial use for NorthPoint to turn it into a warehouse distribution complex.

The Manhattan Village Board already has faced a roomful of residents objecting to the plan.

But Doyle argues the village needs to be involved with the process to learn more about the NorthPoint plan and its potential impact on Manhattan.

"We don't even know what we need to mitigate yet because we don't have the information," Doyle said. "And that's why we haven't said no."

Any NorthPoint proposal for annexation, as in Joliet, would first go to its Planning and Zoning Commission for a recommendation.

Sing said the village requires a 30-day advanced notice before a case can go before the commission. The earliest a proposal can go before the commission would be in March.

Elwood

Elwood village officials said they had not heard from NorthPoint about its latest plans.

An attempt by NorthPoint to annex most of the Compass Business Park into Elwood failed in 2018.

Village Administrator Julie Friebele said it was "surprising" that NorthPoint hadn't discussed their latest plan with Elwood since it extends into the village planning area.

"They have not discussed anything with us," she said.

NorthPoint spokesman Scott Burnham said the company has been in contact with Elwood, but not necessarily in regard to Compass Business Park. He added that the company is focused on working with Joliet on that portion of the project.

NorthPoint owns nearly 200 acres of land in Elwood already zoned industrial.

Mayor Doug Jenco emphasized the strong opposition to NorthPoint's previous plans in Elwood when hundreds of residents spoke against it during a public hearing before the Planning and Zoning Commission.

"The people of Elwood I believe have spoken," he said. "They don't want anything to do with NorthPoint."

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