“Quality of Life” Lawsuit Remanded Back to Will County

“Quality of Life” Lawsuit Remanded Back to Will County
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“Quality of Life” Lawsuit Remanded Back to Will County (Joliet, IL) — The Will County Circuit Court’s dismissal of the Stop NorthPoint “Quality of Life” lawsuit against NorthPoint and Joliet was reversed and remanded in a stern ruling by the Illinois Appellate Court on January 19, 2024. This is a huge victory for the citizens of Manhattan, Elwood, Joliet, and anyone living in the Will County region who would endure the destruction that this 4,000-acre project brings.

The dismissal of Counts I and II, that the NorthPoint Development would constitute a private and public nuisance, has been reversed by the Appellate Court and remanded back to Will County Circuit Court.

The ruling states,  “In support of their private and public nuisance claims, plaintiffs allege that constant truck traffic will (1) cause noise, vibration, pollution, and harm to the environment; (2) interfere with the dignity, serenity, and quiet of the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery; (3) endanger pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers; (4) generate noxious exhaust and diesel fumes harmful to public health and to wildlife, wetlands, and streams; (5) deteriorate streets and necessarily increase property taxes to cover repairs; (6) lower plaintiffs’ property values and cause constant noise and vibrations rendering plaintiffs’ homes unhealthy and untenantable; (7) produce vibrations likely to cause damage to nearby homes, property, and structures; (8) increase plaintiffs’ travel times; and (9) lead to a rise in semi-truck crash incidents and collisions with wildlife. Count II additionally alleges the proposed development will constitute a public nuisance under the City’s municipal code.”

Regarding Count I, the ruling goes on, “… The circuit court underscored Fink’s “real and immediate” language but overlooked its context. Even so, plaintiffs’ prospective nuisance allegations are well grounded upon a highly probable state of facts derived from defendants’ annexation agreement. … When viewed alongside plaintiffs’ allegations, the agreement substantiates the threat of a real and immediate danger. … If the agreement’s objectives are realized, there is little doubt the outcome will be an increase in truck traffic and, necessarily, all consequences of that increase. … Although the NorthPoint Development will take years to complete, there is no reason plaintiffs should wait until full build-out to seek an injunction.”

Regarding Count II, “As pled, count II sufficiently alleges rights common to the general public, the likely transgression of those rights by defendants, and resulting injuries. Accordingly, we reverse the dismissal of count II insofar as it adequately states a claim for common-law public nuisance.”

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Stop NorthPoint’s lead attorney Robert Fioretti said, “This is a victory for the citizens of Will County. The Court agreed that it is essential for quality of life and the environment that public and private nuisance counts should be permitted. We now go back to the lower court to continue to fight for the citizens of Will County and preserve the environment of the surrounding area for future generations.”

Stop NorthPoint was formed in 2020 and filed a lawsuit against Joliet in October 2020 for declaratory and injunctive relief. It is a grassroots organization with its primary purpose to stop NorthPoint Development and the City of Joliet from constructing a 4,000-acre warehouse complex in the heart of Will County. It is estimated that this project would bring at least 70,000 vehicles per day to the area, which would suffocate roads, strain local infrastructure, and damage the environment surrounding the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie and Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for veterans. This project would also destroy the quality of life for tens of thousands of residents in Manhattan, Elwood, the south and southeast sides of Joliet, and much of central Will County. It would also consume approximately 1.5 million gallons per day from Joliet’s water supply and straining aquifers.

Download a PDF of the Appellate Court ruling here.

“Quality of Life” Lawsuit Remanded Back to Will County

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