Medical marijuana dispensary proposed for Mill Run site in Hilliard

The Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission on Oct. 14 will consider the city’s first application for a medical Marijuana Dispensary site.

But Hilliard City Council will have final consideration of the matter after the commission issues its recommendation, said David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard.

The proposed site is at 3799 Park Mill Run Drive.

The site is best known as the former Damon’s Grill and Sports Bar, but it operated for a short while as Jed’s Fireballs & Brew after the closure of Damon’s.

The property has been unused since Jed’s Fireballs & Brew closed.

The Jed’s restaurant closed in 2014, said Mike DeVito Jr., a manager at the Jed’s Fireballs & Brew location in Perrysburg in suburban Toledo.

The building on the site also was demolished early this year.

The application is for a modification of a planned-unit-development zoning to allow for a medical Marijuana Dispensary, according to the application document submitted to the city.

The current PUD allows for commercial and retail uses, as well as a hotel, but a PUD modification would be required for its use as a medical Marijuana Dispensary, according to the application.

The applicant is Jackson Real Estate & Development LLC, a Dublin-based business owned by Randall Jackson, who previously attempted to open a gun range and story on the site.

When reached for comment about the new proposal, Jackson answered but replied he was not available to speak at the moment. He did not return subsequent calls before publication of this story.

The owner of the 1.9-acre site, according to the Franklin County Auditor’s Office, is 3799 Mill Run Partners LLC of Dublin.

The parcel has a history as the subject of a past attempt for a PUD modification and a subsequent lawsuit.

The lawsuit stemmed from the denial of a PUD modification by the city when considering a proposal from Shoot Point Blank to open a gun range and shop at the site.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in December 2020 upheld a June 2020 decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio to dismiss the complaint by 3799 Mill Run Partners against the city of Hilliard.

The federal lawsuit was filed in the district court in August 2019 after it was discovered during an unrelated zoning matter that city officials had erred in their interpretation of the zoning code in 2016.

City Council in May 2016 voted 4-3 in support of the PUD modification for Mill Run Partners, but the PUD modification was said to have failed because, according to Tracy Bradford, the law director at the time, a 5-2 supermajority was required to overturn a negative recommendation by the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission.

Bradford’s ruling later was found to be incorrect.

Rex Elliott, a Columbus attorney who was representing Mill Run Partners, told ThisWeek at the time that the mistake came to light in January 2019 when Swensons Drive-In Restaurants sought to reverse a PUD modification the planning and zoning commission had rejected.

In a similar manner, City Council voted 4-3 to allow the PUD modification, contrary to the recommendation of the planning and zoning commission.

With the approval, Swensons eventually opened in September 2019 at 4810 Cemetery Road.

After researching the city code, city officials had discovered language for the requirement of a council supermajority to act contrary to the recommendation of the planning and zoning commission was absent concerning a PUD modification, for which only a simple majority was required, Bradford previously told ThisWeek.

However, the language in the Sixth Circuit decision indicated the court considered it incumbent on the plaintiff to have discovered that error.

The complaint sought to establish “equitable tolling,” an action that allows a plaintiff to pursue a claim outside the normal statute of limitations period, as well as alleging deprivation of property and liberty interests without due process under the Fifth and 14th amendments.

Mill Run Partners argued that the proposed modification of the PUD required for the gun shop should have been permitted by way of City Council’s 4-3 vote in 2016 and implicated both property and liberty interests were violated as a result of the city’s application of an incorrect voting requirement.

In October 2019, the city moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that it was filed beyond the two-year statute of limitations and the misinterpretation of a statute did not amount to a due-process violation; that motion was upheld by the U.S. District Court and the Sixth Circuit.

Shoot Point Blank would have been a $3.5 million facility with 30 new jobs and annual revenue of about $3.6 million, Jackson told ThisWeek at the time.

The range instead opened as Shoot Point Blank in Lewis Center in Delaware County.

The planning and zoning commission is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Hilliard Municipal Building, 3800 Municipal Way.

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Author: Sunny Dupree
Sunny Dupree is a seasoned journalist, keynote speaker and founder of Weed America: A Journalism-Minded Agency, which handles public relations, content marketing, social media, events and thought leadership for brands and executives in legal cannabis, hemp technology, alternative healthcare, and other new industries.