McHenry County Judge Kevin Costello on Friday set a trial date of Oct. 19 for a lawsuit challenging the Huntley Village Board’s rejection of an industrial project on the former site of the Huntley Outlet Center.
Huntley Investment Partners, which filed the lawsuit in McHenry County Circuit Court, had planned to build two 245,000-square-foot warehouse distribution and office buildings and a 177,000-square-foot warehouse building at the site.
Developers said years of market research showed that an industrial concept would garner the most investors at the former outlet mall, 11800 Factory Shops Blvd.
The village rejected the project in April with the hope of drawing a commercial project to the site. Huntley Investment Partners filed the suit in July.
Attorney Robert O’Donnell, who represents Huntley Investment Partners and declined to comment Friday, told Costello that he estimated the trial would take a full week.
Both parties were in court Friday regarding a motion to strike four affirmative defenses filed by the village in December.
The developer’s motion argued that the village’s four defenses “defy convention.”
According to the motion, an affirmative defense has to do more than make a proclamation as to why the defendant – in this case the village – believes the complaint is flawed, or simply assert conclusions of law.
“In other words, a proper affirmative defense admits the allegations in the complaint, assumes liability, but then asserts a new matter that defeats the plaintiff’s right to recovery,” the motion read.
Costello agreed to strike three defenses with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled by the defense.
However, Costello struck the village’s third affirmative defense without prejudice, meaning it could be refiled at a later date if lawyers so choose.
After the last store at the Huntley Outlet Mall closed in 2017, Huntley Investment Partners was unable in August 2017 to find interested parties to develop the property under its existing zoning classification and requested zoning relief.
About six months later, the village sued the firm, requesting that Huntley Investment Partners make repairs to the building or begin demolition procedures. A settlement agreement eventually was reached, and the building was razed in 2018.
Because of this, the village argued in its third affirmative defense that Huntley Investment Partners is judicially barred from making factual claims in its lawsuit that are inconsistent with positions it voluntarily agreed to in the proceedings of the 2018 suit.