The city is preparing to allow short-term rentals and B&B hostels in Old Hilliard.

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A developer and Hilliard administrators are collaborating to open the city’s first Airbnb by July 4 in the Old Hilliard neighborhood.

Andy Warnock, chief executive of The Westwood Collective, said on May 17 that his company had identified three potential sites, two on Main Street and one on Norwich Street, as potential Airbnb locations.

Meanwhile, the Hilliard Planning and Zoning Commission on May 12 unanimously recommended that Hilliard City Council approve an ordinance that would amend the city code to add “short-term rentals” and ” bed and breakfast inns” as permitted uses in the Old Hilliard mixed-use district and the Old Hilliard residential area, and to add associated development standards.

The text originally provided that buildings of at least 1,500 square feet would be eligible for short-term rental and bed and breakfast status, but commission members reduced the area required for such status to 800 square feet, according to David Ball, director of community outreach for Hilliard.

An ordinance amending the city code to add definitions and allow short-term rentals and bed and breakfasts as permitted uses in Old Hilliard is scheduled to have first reading May 23 at Hilliard City Council, according to Ball.

If the ordinance follows the usual schedule, it would have a second and final reading on June 13, according to Ball.

Warnock said he wanted to create a “vibe” at Old Hilliard similar to the one he experienced on a trip to the Lone Star State.

“After visiting Waco, TX with my wife, it was clear that Chip and Joanna Gaines (of HGTV and Magnolia Market) had on this town. We want to create a similar vibe to Old Hilliard with hospitality options in the heart of our town,” Warnock said.

The places are meant to be picturesque, he explained.

“(It is) not a party room, but rather an upscale, distinctively furnished home that provides a unique experience for our guests. We’ll stock local beer, local coffee and local desserts, and offer an entertainment guide to all that Hilliard has to offer. “

Warnock said Trove Warehouse, an Upper Arlington furniture retailer, is designing and furnishing the space.

“We hope to open our first Airbnb by July 4,” Warnock said.

But other options are expected.

“We will be using Airbnb heavily, but not exclusively. VRBO is another site and we will self-market outside of national platforms,” Warnock said.

He said that’s an important distinction because Airbnb and guesthouses aren’t the same.

An Airbnb is a loosely regulated home-sharing site, while bed and breakfasts are subject to state and local lodging laws, just like a large hotel chain, according to Warnock.

Hilliard City manager Michelle Crandall said such amenities are welcome at Old Hilliard.

“If approved by City Council, this change will create an additional type of accommodation experience for visitors to Hilliard Town Center which is the most appropriate location for bed and breakfasts and entities. Airbnb-like,” Crandall said.

Under his auspices as interim director of Destination Hilliard, Ball said such amenities would add to the vibrancy of Old Hilliard, which has been at the center of the city’s revitalization.

“Having this type of accommodation for visitors is one more feature that adds to the vibrancy of the downtown area, which has been at the heart of the redevelopment and revitalization of the city. We know that a healthy downtown benefits the whole community because it attracts visitors. to Hilliard who will spend their money on local businesses and improve the quality of life for our residents,” Ball said.

In early 2020, Center Street Market, anchored by Crooked Can Brewing Co., opened on Center Street between Main and Wayne streets and has since added vendors inside the outdoor market.

In 2010, the city opened First Responders Park, a memorial to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and several years later built Hilliard’s Station Park, home to the concert series of city ​​summer.

In March 2021, the Hilliard Station Baking Company opened, adding to the growing niche of stores in the neighborhood that also includes Starliner Diner.

Sextons Pizza opened earlier this year on Center Street, one of many other Westwood Collective developments.

Libby Gierach, President and CEO of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, also welcomes the concept.

“Old Hilliard is the center of Hilliard and people want to be part of this vibrant area. Having short term rentals and bed and breakfasts makes Hilliard a more desirable location for visitors to experience all that Hilliard has to offer. offer, not only in Old Hilliard, but also in the other neighborhoods of our city, ”said Gierach.

There is a desire for amenities, according to Warnock.

“We have interviewed members of the community who wish to do so. They want another option for family and friends out of town,” Warnock said, and includes those who attend Hilliard Ohio Soccer Association football tournaments and weddings at the Makoy Center.

“These short-term home options are an important missing piece to add vitality to our charming downtown.”

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo

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