Joliet Elwood Boundary Agreement

As expected, the Village of Manhattan Board voted unanimously to renew the current border agreement with the Village of Elwood. For Elwood and Manhattan, the current border agreement expires in 2026 and is roughly on Ridge Road. Manhattan voted to extend the border agreement for a further 20 years until 2046. Immediately after the presentation of this letter (which was not on the agenda), Elwood Mayor Doug Jenco asked Manhattan Mayor Jamie Doyle, who was present at the Elwood Board of Directors meeting, to come and explain why they wanted to extend it. He explained the reasons above. In a humiliating move, the Elwood Board of Directors immediately opposed the extension of the agreement with Lowrance, which filed an application for non-renewal of the border agreement. All voted in favor of exiting the border agreement (vote against the renewal of the current agreement) with the exception of attorney Darryl Lab. JOLIET, IL – Joliet City Council was informed Friday that The Kansas City-based developers of NorthPoint were planning to move forward with a $1.2 billion industrial park in Joliet. City Hall officials were informed that NorthPoint has filed a pre-annexation agreement with the city, the first step in the process to obtain authorization.

The fear is that Elwood, who deals exclusively with NorthPoint and leaves Manhattan completely out of negotiations (already a violation of the border agreement, if you read the language), that they will get permission for the bridge, that they will build the bridge and build the warehouses on their side of the border agreement – after 2026, they cross the border and cancel all the property that is currently in the Manhattan area. Elwood`s meeting room was full, people flocking into an overflow room and into the hallways. Community members were still voting by the Planning and Zoning Committee, during which, after nearly 14 hours of testimony against the Compass Business Park project, they voted in favour of NorthPoint Development`s recommendation without any questions or discussion. The vote on the border agreement was a critical step because it speaks volumes about how board members can vote on the development of NorthPoint. The border agreement is intended to protect the interests of two neighbouring villages and to establish a consensual border in which each municipality would have the power to annex non-communal goods to the border. It also provides that if one in three people (such as NorthPoint Development) were to approach one of the village development/project authorities that would cross both sides of the agreed border (such as Compass Business Park), the two villages would have to work together. In case they are not involved, the village in question should denounce the project. All eyes are on Elwood and Manhattan. The village of Manhattan certainly has enough evidence – exactly from what I have seen from FOIA – to sue the Village of Elwood for violating the border agreement.

Time will tell if that happens, and they choose that path. The Manhattan Village`s request to extend the current border agreement for a further 20 years was made to allay concerns that the Village of Elwood would be interested in moving forward with NorthPoint Development without the Manhattan Village. It seemed like a last-ditch attempt to secure a place at the negotiating table after months of ignoring requests for information from the Village of Elwood and northPoint Development regarding the Compass Business Park project. Without a border agreement (like the two villages after 2026), Elwood would have the opportunity to have absolute power over negotiations with the developer, on development and on non-communal land that could be annexed to the village of Elwood as it sees fit.

Fotos: Kathrin Leisch
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