Swensons Drive-In has received a stamp of approval from the Northland Community Council development committee -- for a second time.
The committee said yes April 24 to a rezoning request for a site at 5720 N. Hamilton Road. It already had assented in March to the Akron-based burger chain's request to Columbus City Council for a variance in a commercial planned development, or CPD area, the site's current zoning status.
Although the rezoning is also for a CPD designation, it -- rather than just a variance -- gives Swensons a greater ability to address landscaping, signage and access restrictions on the property, said attorney David Hodge, representing the burger chain.
"Essentially, we needed to address landscaping and wanted to enhance the buffer to the residential (properties) to the east," Hodge said. "There were some other odd provisions in the CPD text we needed to address because they wouldn't exactly address Swensons' plan."
Dave Paul, chairman of the development committee, said the landscaping and other screening will go a long way in helping mitigate lights from vehicles shining on surrounding properties.
"I think we're pretty comfortable that these applications are about as good as they can be," he said.
The rezoning will be considered by the Columbus Development Commission and then Columbus City Council.
No hearings have been scheduled on the issue yet, said Anthony Celebrezze, spokesman for the city's building-and-zoning services. Swensons, a northeast Ohio tradition since 1934, opened its first local store in December on Sawmill Road.
A second location followed in February in Polaris.
Two more locations, including one in Hilliard and the site on North Hamilton Road, are planned.