Will County, IL (October 27, 2020) — Environmental organizations Openlands and the Sierra Club, along with individual members of the Just Say No to NorthPoint grassroots community group, filed a motion seeking to join a lawsuit against the City of Joliet, which if granted would make it the third complaint filed regarding East Gate’s beleaguered NorthPoint intermodal facility, otherwise known as Compass Business Park in Joliet, Illinois.
Plaintiffs will be joining the lawsuit filed by the Village of Elwood against the City of Joliet earlier this year. The Openlands/Sierra Club, et al complaint alleges that the City of Joliet executed an unlawful agreement with East Gate that contracted away annexation and rezoning of over 1,200 acres of land for NorthPoint. The City of Joliet violated its own ordinances, pre-determining zoning and depriving organizations and individuals of the right to be considered during the process.
Within the complaint, the groups cite significant environmental impacts to Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, as well as to individual properties in the shadow of the project. Openlands and Sierra Club were part of the transformation of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant into a blend of uses, including the federally protected Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, and each has an interest in preserving and safeguarding open land in Illinois.
“We are grateful for the incredible support that we have received from both Openlands and the Sierra Club. The experience of our legal team in these matters gives us the utmost confidence that we will persevere. The future has never been brighter, and we look forward to working with our co-plaintiffs in the case,” said Stephanie Irvine, co-plaintiff and one of the founding members of Just Say No to NorthPoint.
Members of the Just Say No to NorthPoint group have been fighting the project since it was first introduced in 2017. Their continued efforts have been met with success after the Village of Elwood, Will County, and the Village of Manhattan all effectively turned down the project. Recently, a group of residents created Stop NorthPoint LLC and filed their own lawsuit against NorthPoint. The Stop NorthPoint group is unaffiliated with Just Say No to NorthPoint, though they are united in the goal of stopping Compass Business Park from moving forward.
Openlands and Sierra Club have long been advocates for strong regional and local planning. They work with business, civic, and community groups to ensure industry and transportation solutions where they complement rather than subvert the globally significant natural resources in this area, such as Midewin and the prime farmland that would be paved over if NorthPoint were built. “We hope to move forward with all parties in creating an equitable development solution,” said Jerry Adelmann, Openlands President and CEO and sixth generation resident of Will County, “one that builds up from the assets and opportunities that the area has to offer, without sacrificing the cultural and natural heritage that have enriched the community for generations.