Hilliard residents – as well as enthusiasts from northeastern Ohio now living in central Ohio – might be able to enjoy a “Galley Boy” in their backyard next year.
Hilliard City Council is scheduled Dec. 10 to consider a rezoning application to allow the construction of a Swensons Drive-In on the north side of Cemetery Road, immediately west of J.W. Reason Elementary School, 4790 Cemetery Road.
The developers of the proposed Swensons, whose signature burger is the Galley Boy, are Jamie Moore of Dublin-based Crawford Hoying and Tim Reardon, a managing partner of New Start Development, who together founded a limited-liability company for the project.
Reardon said Nov. 9 the partners are moving forward with the proposal and have asked for City Council to hear it Dec. 10.
City Council on Sept. 24 tabled the development proposal, which was was being “tweaked," Reardon said.
To be successful, the developers will need to achieve a City Council supermajority, or five of its seven members, to overturn the negative recommendation from the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission, whose decision is not binding.
“It’s just a recommendation. ... We will go to City Council and win, we’ve done everything right,” Reardon said after the commission on Aug. 9 voted 6-0 to reject the rezoning required for the restaurant to open.
Commission members, acting on a staff report that suggested the commission reject the rezoning proposal, said the proposed site on an arterial road – Cemetery Road – was not a good fit.
“This is just the wrong location but I can’t convince you on that. You’ve got to be able to find a better location,” commission member Bill Uttley said at the time.
John Talentino, Hilliard's city planner, told commission members the proposal was “not consistent” with the city’s standards for building materials, signs and tree replacements, and staff members had further concerns about the traffic plan.
Currently zoned B-3, the site allows for a restaurant but a change to a planned-unit-development is required for a drive-thru or drive-in, Talentino said.
If approved, the 1,711-square-foot sock-hop-style drive-in restaurant would be built on 1.8 acres at 4810 Cemetery Road, according to the application.
It would have no indoor or outdoor seating and would not have a drive-thru, Reardon said. Orders would be delivered to vehicles to be consumed there or taken to go.
Swensons’ first central Ohio location officially opened Nov. 9 on Sawmill Road in Columbus, just north of Hard Road, and a second location is scheduled to open soon near Polaris Fashion Place in northeast Columbus.
Founded in 1934, Swensons was limited to eight locations in the Akron area until the opening of the Sawmill Road location.
Hilliard officials visited the Sawmill Road site while it was under construction, said Ron Dee, vice president of real estate for Swensons.
Crystal Griffith, director of marketing for Swensons, said the company is aware of its customer base in Hilliard and looks forward to an opportunity to open a third central Ohio location.