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Ozinga Ready Mix, a concrete firm that’s come under fire from some Evanston aldermen for suing to challenge provisions of the affordable care act, is seeking city approval to expand its Evanston plant.

In a letter to city officials, Lloyd Meyer, president of Ozinga’s Chicago Division, says the new, fully-enclosed mixing facility will let the plant operate year round, rather than closing in the winter as the current operation does.

Meyer says the new building will keep any dust and noise from the mixing process out of sight and out of earshot within the building.

But he says the new building will have to be 68-feet tall, eight feet taller than permitted under the city’s zoning for the site.

Last fall Alderman Jane Grover, 7th Ward, criticized the the city’s award of a contract for concrete to Ozinga, saying it had sued to bar women employees from having contraceptive coverage in their health care benefits. And Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, said she was prepared to vote against the contract award on that issue.

A similar suit by Hobby Lobby led to a Supreme Court decision on a 5-4 vote last year that family-owned companies could refuse to provide such coverage if the owners claimed to provide the coverage would violate their religious beliefs.

Ozinga operates the only concrete plant in Evanston and has frequently received city contracts under provisions of city contracting rules that provide a preference for local vendors.

The zoning variation request for the new concrete plant is scheduled to be reviewed by the city’s Design and Project Review Committee Wednesday afternoon and then will be heard by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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5 Comments

  1. What is the nexus of concrete to birth control?

    If a privately held company has religious beliefs against abortion, why should that have any impact on their request for zoning to expand their plant.  Does the city council ask every vendor with whom they do business with what their religious beliefs are?  Must I or any other person agree with the beliefs of specific alderpersons in order to get a building permit? 

  2. Typical for the Council
    The Council does not seem to understand what they are their for—to take care of business on economic terms not their religious [if they have any], moral, philosophical views.
    Perhaps voters should vote for them based on their religion, gender, country of origin, way their name sounds.

  3. Industry is important
    Certainly don’t agree with their political views, but I believe they’re entitled to them.

    I do, however, believe in a healthy economic mix for this city, and industry is a critical piece of that. Better they expand here (and presumably add jobs during that winter period) than move off somewhere else. Hope this gets approved quickly.

  4. Infringing on bill of rights

    The City should be more focused on fixing its third world infrastructure using Ozinga concrete and less with infringing upon Bill of Rights

  5. Certainly, Grover was wrong

    Certainly, Grover was wrong for bringing this up in the middle of a council meeting, as well as many other reasons. Her Hobby Lobby comment was based on incorrect information or an outright lie that she was passing along. Burrus, who was probably the best and brightest on the council, was dumb enough to believe her. 

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