will be able to proceed with plans to build a new research and development facility in Solon after voters overwhelmingly approved a land rezoning.
According to unofficial results from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, the Nestle project won handily both in the citywide vote and in Ward 5, where the rezoning also had to receive majority vote.
Across the city, 6,882 of 8,109 voters approved the rezoning, or nearly 85 percent. In Ward 5, 70 percent of voters approved the rezoning, or 969 of 1,381 voters.
The company, Solon's largest employer, wants to build a new research and development facility on land it owns in Solon off Cannon Road near Hawthorne Parkway.
Winning the rezoning does not give Nestle permission to build the facility. It only rezones the land from residential to industrial. Nestle will still have to submit a variety of plan to the city for approval, ranging from design plans to landscaping to storm water runoff.
Company spokeswoman Roz O'Hearn declined comment until the Ward 5 votes are published by the BOE.
The project would be vetted by city planners as well as a number of city commissions, including planning and public works. Public hearings will be held on the project, both at the planning commission level and, ultimately, at city council, which will issue a final decision.
That land is zoned residential and must be zoned industrial before the company can build. The company collected signatures from residents to get the rezoning on the ballot.
Company officials said the new facility will help Nestle expand its growing business for frozen foods.
The facility would expand Nestle's footprint in Solon and add between 40 to 60 new jobs. .
Opponents argued that rezoning residential land for industrial use set a bad precedent in the city. A group called opposed the rezoning.
Group spokeswoman Jacquelyn Calavitta was not available for comment at press time.