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Local News

NorthPoint: All was quiet in Joliet

This was the reaction from NorthPoint opponents after the Joliet Plan Commission approved a 103-acre rezoning for the developer Oct. 17.
This was the reaction from NorthPoint opponents after the Joliet Plan Commission approved a 103-acre rezoning for the developer Oct. 17.

It got raucous at Manhattan Village Hall, which was filled with NorthPoint protesters on Tuesday.

Many of them were shouting at Mayor James Doyle, who was shouting himself to be heard.

Doyle at one point shouted a question to the the angry crowd: Why weren’t they in Joliet?

That was a good question.

The Just Say No to NorthPoint movement had no voice at a Joliet City Council meeting the same night Joliet officials announced they planned to take NorthPoint’s 1,800-acre annexation proposal to the city’s Plan Commission in February.

That means the Joliet City Council could be voting on it in March, and the dreaded Compass Business Park could be well on its way to reality whatever happens in Manhattan in the future.

“This really came fast,” interim City Manager Steve Jones told the council.

“Fast” refers to NorthPoint bringing its Compass Business Park only two months after it got zoning for 103 acres in Joliet that will be attached to land the developer owns in unincorporated Will County, according to the annexation plan.

Jones insisted the NorthPoint annexation is no done deal.

But in another two months it could be.

How long for Jones?

Will Jones be around Joliet when the NorthPoint proposal goes to City Council?

He is scheduled to retire Feb. 29, when, according to an agreement he made with the City Council, he would then continue doing city duties on a contractual basis or not at all.

Council member Larry Hug referred to Jones’ pending departure at the Tuesday council meeting.

But Hug later acknowledged Jones’ future role with the city “has not been decided formally at all.” Hug is against Jones staying on contract, calling it “double-dipping on steroids.”

Does Jones want to stick around?

He wouldn’t say when asked.

“My last day as an employee is Feb. 29,” Jones told me more than once without clarifying whether he would be interested in staying on contract.

That means the city manager situation could be unsettled again on March 1, since the City Council has not picked a replacement yet.

Mortimer Snerd?

Mary Beth Gannon, who criticizes Jones on a regular basis at City Council meetings, on Tuesday referred to him as Mortimer Snerd while she also was critical of two of the three finalists for the city manager job.

“I sort of laughed out loud, and I don’t like to do that at council meetings,” Jones said later about the Mortimer Snerd reference. “I found it kind of entertaining.”

Gannon is a member of the city’s Historical Preservation Commission and was among those who opposed the removal of City Attorney Marty Shanahan as interim city manager.

• Bob Okon is a longtime Herald-News reporter. He can be reached at 815-280-4121 or bokon@shawmedia.com.

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