Ra'anana residents set minds against concrete factory plans

Ra'anana residents are gearing up for another battle over the controversial Highway 531 after the company building the road asked for special permission to construct a concrete factory on currently agricultural land, reports www.local.co.il. Shapir Engineering has asked the local Planning and Construction Committee to allow an extraordinary use of the land so that it can build a concrete factory close to the highway and avoid having to bring in concrete from further away, but residents have been angered by the idea of a noisy, polluting factory next to their homes. According to the report, Shapir Engineering, which is building the controversial east-west highway along the southern border of Ra'anana, sought permission to use currently agricultural land in the south-east corner of the city for the factory, a move designed to save time and money when paving the highway. The city of Ra'anana has given qualified approval for the factory, saying that a permit should be given only if Shapir and the Israel Roads Company make a commitment not to transport raw materials or concrete from the factory along Ra'anana's paved roads. But residents and some city councilors are strongly opposed to the plans. Councilor Meli Polishook-Bloch, who has led the fight for the highway to be made a tunnel, said residents were "very worried" about having a concrete factory next to their homes, with its inherent air pollution and with the additional pollution and noise caused by trucks and heavy vehicles traveling into and out of the area. She said there were other sites along the planned route of the highway that were further away from residential dwellings and could be used for the factory. The report said that residents are currently preparing formal objections for the committee.