The Village President of Elwood is urging the city of Joliet to extend the boundary agreement between Joliet and Elwood. Doug Jenco sent a letter questioning Interim City Manager Steve Jones, response–Jones had stated “that because the Joliet Comprehensive Plan update was now in process that no decision should be made on the boundary Line Agreement until after the Plan is complete” Jenco says this is an excuse. The village of Elwood requested the boundary line agreement in July of 2017. The agreement is set to expire at the end of this year. The land could affect future development including a Compass Business Park by NorthPoint which was voted down by Elwood.
On WJOL, Mayor Bob O’Dekirk says there is a proposal that will be discussed at the next Joliet Plan and Zoning Commission meeting on October 17th. Mayor O’Dekirk says while he hasn’t seen the proposal from NorthPoint for a 103 acre parcel of land for development but says either we allow private business or we have to raise taxes. O’Dekirk says he’s not sure Joliet residents wants to see “taxes raised in Joliet so we can preserve farmland in Elwood.”
Full interview with Mayor O’Dekirk below.
Below is the entire letter unedited.
September 30, 2019
Mayor O’DeKirk and members of the City Council,
My name is Doug Jenco. I am the Village President of the Village of Elwood.
I come before you tonight on behalf of the residents of the Village of Elwood to request that the current Boundary Line Agreement between Elwood and Joliet be extended for an additional 15 years.
The current Boundary Line Agreement was for a period of 15 years and it makes good sense to continue it on.
Manager Jones spoke to you at the last Council meeting about Elwood’s request to extend the Boundary Line Agreement. Mr. Jones stated that because the Joliet Comprehensive Plan update was now in process that no decision should be made on the Boundary Line Agreement until after the Plan is complete.
Frankly, that strikes me as a convenient excuse. The Village of Elwood has requested the Boundary Line extension since July 21, 2017. Numerous requests have been made to Joliet for two (2) years to no avail. The Village was told in writing by Martin Shanahan and Mayor O’DeKirk that it was too soon to address the issue and we will re-negotiate when the agreement is set to expire, which will happen at the end of the year. Now the City has refused to consider the extension citing the Comprehensive Plan as the basis for the City’s refusal to extend the Agreement.
The City of Joliet has Boundary Line Agreements with all or most of its neighbors. The City is willing to work around all of these Boundary Lines in forward of its Comprehensive Plan but not Elwood’s.
I have been told over and over again that Joliet intends to proceed with the Northpoint Development after the Boundary Line Agreement expires. If this is true, it is unfortunate that the City has allowed a Developer to form a wedge between the two municipalities that have respected a common border for the last 15 years.
Again, my request is that you extend the Boundary Line Agreement for 15 years. If you are unwilling to do this and your concern is truly to postpone the extension decision until after the Comprehensive Plan is completed, then the Boundary Line could be extended for two years until the plan is complete.
In any event, if Boundary Line discussions are premature because the Comprehensive Plan is in the works, then it would likewise make no sense to discuss, plan or approve development projects in this area until the Comprehensive Plan is complete, and you should voice your commitment to place a moratorium on development in the area until the plan is approved.
Doug Jenco Village President