DuPage Co. judge refuses to halt Navistar hearings
A DuPage County judge has denied an emergency request to stop Lisle from continuing the public hearing process for Navistar's proposed relocation to the village.
Judge Bonnie Wheaton said Tuesday she wouldn't grant Lisle resident Brian McClure's temporary restraining order request that would have stalled the hearings because she "cannot make a finding the plaintiff's request for a permanent injunction will be successful in its merits."
McClure's lawsuit contends that Lisle violated state law regarding administration of public hearings when officials appointed retired Appellate Court Judge Thomas Homer to oversee the proceedings, but gave him no recommendation powers as required by statute. The lawsuit claims either Homer should be the recommending voice to the village board or the plan commission should, but using a mix of both a public hearing officer and the plan commission to oversee the proceedings is illegal.
However, Wheaton ruled that Homer's presence as the public hearing officer was a valid way for the village to keep the hearings civil and on task.
"Nothing divests the planning and zoning commission from doing its duty," she said.
Mark Daniel, an attorney representing a group of residents also opposed to the engine and truck manufacturer's move from Warrenville to Lisle, argued that because Homer was deciding for the commission what evidence was relevant that he was inserting himself in the decision-making process.
"The commission is being told what's relevant instead of making that decision on its own," Daniel said.
But Wheaton countered that having Homer decide relevancy issues was no different from having the commission chairman ask the village attorney for advice before making a ruling on evidence. She went on to praise the village, which has a lengthy legal history of public hearing improprieties.
"The village has learned from its prior mistakes," she said.
So far, the plan commission has held three hearings on the company's proposal to move to the former Alcatel-Lucent building at 2600 Warrenville Road since design plans were resubmitted in March. A number of additional hearings are slated for later this month. Residents are opposed to the proposal because, among other things, there are no limitations on future growth at the site.