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City Council Approves Nestle R&D Facility Site Plan, Variances

City Council approved the site plan and variances for Nestle's new research and development building off of Cannon Road.

Nestle's new research and development center is moving forward after Solon City Council unanimously approved the site plan and variances for the project Monday.

Councilwoman Nancy Meany, who represents the ward where the facility will be built on Cannon Road near Harper Road, had some objections about traffic coming and going into the residential area off Cannon, but decided in the end to support the project.

Vice Mayor Ed Kraus said he has no problems with the variances and is pleased the project is going forward.

"I certainly think it's a wonderful opportunity for the community," he said.

The $53 million investment will help Nestle develop frozen food products for consumers around the world. Construction is set to start this November, and the building is expected to be finished by the end of 2015.

Meany said that she would like to see traffic from the R&D facility exit onto Harper Road -- which employees from the Stouffer's plant and truck traffic will use -- instead of Cannon Road.

But Police Chief Chris Viland and Fire Chief Bill Shaw both said they did not foresee traffic problems on Cannon Road from traffic from the R&D facility.

The Nestle project was announced publicly about a year ago, and required voters to approve a zoning change. That passed by wide margin, but the company still needed to have any variances and a site plan approved by city council. That happened Monday.

The research facility is expected to both create new jobs and retain existing ones in Solon. The company expects there to be 116 employees in the facility, with 41 new jobs added to the 75 existing jobs. The company plans to bring 28 new jobs in the first year of the building's life, according to city documents.

City Council will reward Nestle for its investment by awarding the company a tax exemption for the property improvements. The exemption would begin after the facility is complete and expire at the end of 2020.

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