Swensons Drive-In appears to have found a home in Hilliard.

Hilliard City Council on Jan. 28 approved a rezoning request for the Swensons Drive-In on the north side of Cemetery Road, immediately west of J.W. Reason Elementary School, 4790 Cemetery Road.

The Swensons proposal will advance to a final development plan after City Council voted 5-2 on the rezoning application for a planned-unit development. Tom Baker and Nathan Painter cast the votes against it.

The proposal has been amended from the plan the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission rejected in August.

The amendments to the development plan include an increase in landscape buffering along Cemetery Road; an increase in front-parking setback from 20 feet to 38 feet and the elimination of nine parking spaces from Cemetery Road; a reduction of total parking spaces from 92 to 80; and a commitment that signs and graphics would be filed as a separate comprehensive application for review by the planning and zoning commission if the property is rezoned from a B-3 business district for offices and similar uses to a planned-unit development.

Swensons will meet city officials and Hilliard City Schools officials to create a final development plan, said Ron Dee, vice president of real estate for Swensons.

Dee said that plan would be completed “as soon as possible."

The final development plan would not require council approval, according to city officials.

The developers of the proposed Hilliard 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.

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.

The first central Ohio Swensons Drive-In restaurant, which was founded in 1934 in northeast Ohio, officially opened Nov. 9 on Sawmill Road in Columbus, just north of Hard Road.

A second location is scheduled to open Monday, Feb. 4, near Polaris Fashion Place in northeast Columbus.

Franklin Street

In other action Jan. 28, funding of $1.6 million for the first phase of improvements to Franklin Street will remain in the capital-improvements budget.

A motion by Councilman Pete Marsh to cut the project failed 4-3.

Marsh, Les Carrier and Andy Teater voted to extract the $1.6 million project from the $18.6 million budget.

“The city can’t afford it,” Marsh said.

But council President Albert Iosue, Vice President Kelly McGivern, Tom Baker and Nathan Painter voted to retain it.

“If you shelve it now, it doesn’t happen,” Iosue said.

About $1.6 million is budgeted for the project in 2019, with another $1.5 million budgeted in 2020, to add curbs, sidewalks, gutters, street lights and on-street parking to Franklin Street, making it similar to Norwich Street, according to Letty Schamp, Hilliard’s deputy engineer.

The funding allows for utility relocation to immediately begin, Schamp said, and the city could bid the project by September.

Interim law director

City Council unanimously confirmed the appointment of staff attorney Kelly Clodfelder as the city’s acting law director.

Law director Tracy Bradford on Jan. 21 announced her resignation, effective Feb. 1. Bradford had served as the city’s law director since 2004.

Hilliard Mayor Don Schonhardt told council members Jan. 28 he is “soliciting firms and individuals” and expects to make a recommendation no later than Feb. 28.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

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