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by Mark Cheffey
The Marion County Planning & Zoning Commission held the first hearing Thursday of a rezoning request for expansion of a self-storage facility west of Hannibal.
Lee Atkins told the commissioners he wants to rezone approximately five acres located north of his current storage facility from agriculture to commercial to make room for 62 more units.
A second hearing will be held at 7 p.m. May 13 at the Marion County Courthouse in Palmyra, at which time commission members will vote on a recommendation for the county commission, which would then act on it the following Monday at its regular morning meeting.
Atkins said he was getting close to filling all of his available storage units and was in the process of adding more on at his existing site, but was wanting to prepare for more in the future.
“I think it’s been good for the county, and it’s been good for me,” Atkins said, noting that he paid $14,000 in taxes for his existing storage this past year.
Of his current 281 units, Atkins said 91 percent are filled at this point.
Atkins said the new area will not require a new access to the north outer road along U.S. 36, but he would have to expand the existing storm-water retention facilities to accommodate the new storage units.
According to Atkins, there is a shortage of storage units overall in the Hannibal area.
Charles Webster, chairman of the zoning commission said he had called four storage facilities in the Hannibal area, and only two of them had any openings.
The proposed rezoning did receive opposition from a neighboring land owner at Thursday’s hearing.
Kim Glenn, who lives on a farm on the east side of the property said she had a “list of grievances” concerning the current storage facility.
She said there are storm drainage and trash issues as well as excessive traffic and allowance of outside storage, and claimed that Atkins had not followed through with agreed-to requirements including adequate fencing.
“It hurts me to see this take place,” Glenn said.
Thursday’s meeting saw a change in commission membership.
Karl McElwee was honored upon stepping down as the commissioner for Liberty Township after 14 years.
It was also the first meeting for his replacement, Andrew Lehenbauer, who recently moved into Liberty Township, as well as a new member representing South River Township, Denise Damron.