Hilliard City Council is expected to decide Jan. 28 whether to approve the rezoning necessary for a Swensons Drive-In to open at 4810 Cemetery Road, adjacent to J.W. Reason Elementary School.

Four affirmative votes – a simple 4-3 majority – would be required to overturn the nonbinding recommendation issued Aug. 9 by the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission to reject the rezoning application, law director Tracy Bradford told council members Jan. 14.

“It does not require a supermajority (of five votes)” to overturn the negative recommendation for Swensons, she said.

In researching the city code, Bradford said, city officials discovered that language for the requirement of a council supermajority to act contrary to the recommendation of the planning and zoning commission was absent concerning a planned-unit development, which is the requested rezoning classification.

Council President Albert Iosue and council member Les Carrier both said they thought five votes were necessary until receiving an email from the administration late last week.

Bradford spoke about the finding in further detail Jan. 14.

Meanwhile, council members on Jan. 14 acted to amend the development text for Swensons and on Jan. 28 will consider an application that is slightly different than the application the planning and zoning commission rejected in August.

City Council voted 5-1 to approve the amended proposal.

Councilman Nathan Painter voted against it and Vice President Kelly McGivern was absent.

“I don’t have a problem with Swensons coming to Hilliard; it just needs to be in a different location,” Painter said.

Read the full story in the Jan. 17 edition of the ThisWeek Hilliard Northwest News.

In other news from the council meeting, a three-member transition committee will begin the process of choosing candidates for Hilliard’s first city manager.

Iosue named McGivern and council members Pete Marsh and Andy Teater to the committee.

Iosue also tasked human-resources director Julia Baxter and new director of communications David Ball to join the committee.

Baxter must be involved in her role as human-resources director, and Ball should communicate its progress to the public, Iosue said.

Teater will serve as chairman of the committee.

The committee will meet “as necessary” to begin the process of hiring a consultant to aid in the search and interview candidates.

The committee will initiate a search “but the whole council” will choose the city manager and likely participate in creating short-lists and identifying finalists, too, Teater said.

Hilliard voters in November approved a city-charter amendment that replaces the strong-mayor of city government with a city manager, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Although Iosue opposed the city-manager model, he said, he is confident Teater “will do a great job” leading the search, owing to his similar experience, when as a member of the Hilliard school board, he helped choose John Marschhausen as the district’s superintendent.

Marchhausen was hired as superintendent in March 2013 and began serving July 1, 2013.