A conflict regarding development of the former Fette Orchard property received much attention in Hannibal City Council chambers.

Numerous comments were heard at a Public Hearing held just prior to Tuesday’s council meeting. Scott and Jean Meyer own a portion of the property at 2200 Palmyra Road  that includes the historic Fette home. The Meyers plan to live in the home. The controversy surrounds their request to have the property rezoned to allow for events such as meetings and parties to  be held in the outbuildings.

Developer Brad Peters owns a bordering portion of the former orchard property and plans to develop 50-plus lots into homes. Peters expressed concerns the noise level of some events could disturb residents in his development.

Joseph Bean told the council the Meyers purchased the property knowing what the zoning was, and it is not fair to rezone just so they can recoup some of their costs.

Several others spoke in favor of the Meyers: Preservationist Bob Yapp praised their plans for adapative reuse of the iconic historic property. Lynn Boland spoke on the character and integrity of the Meyers. Boland stated it would be an “oxymoron” to equate the Meyers with wild parties. Bill Martin said there is a need for classic venues for events, and assertions that the area would turn into a state of debauchery was a “weak argument.” McKenzie Disselhorst spoke in favor of the rezoning on behalf of the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce. Mary Lynne Richards told the council her home is closest to the proposed venue, and while she is not thrilled the orchard is gone, she is all for the rezoning.

A First Reading of the rezoning Bill came up for a vote in the regular council session. Councilman Mike Dobson made a request to table the issue. Dobson told the council he wanted to work with the owners to help iron out their differences. However, Mayor Roy Hark asked why the two parties couldn’t work out differences on their own. Dobson withdrew his request to table and the council gave the Bill a First Reading.

After the council meeting, a discussion did take place between Meyer, Peters, and Dobson. Peters said later he was hopeful that an agreement could be crafted that would protect his investment and still allow for events on the property. Another developer, John Borrowman owns another portion of the orchard land. He was not present at Tuesday’s meeting. Peters said Borrowman would also be involved in negotiations with the Meyers.

Several other issues concerned property:

Monica Williams appeared before council regarding run down properties in the Spruce and Gordon Street area. Williams said several houses in the area need to come down because they are uninhabitable. Mayor Hark asked Building Inspector Joey Burnham to look into the matter.

Second and final reading was given to an amended Bill establishing the SZC Community Development District for infrastructure and road costs associated with the Sleep Inn Hotel Subdivision west of Hannibal.

A First Reading was given to a Bill rezoning lots 7-14 of Hummingbird Estates to Planned Density Residential.  Stuart Link plans to build townhouses in the area.

The council approved the transfer of $213,000 in reserve funds for the Hannibal Convention and Visitors' Bureau to the current budget. Director Gail Bryant told the council digital marketing is becoming increasingly  important and this has created demand outside the current marketing plan. A significant portion of the funds will be put into digital advertising. A multimedia/IT specialist will be hired to beef up digital marketing efforts as well. Bryant says in the digital age, requests for visitor information are coming from all over the world. Also some repairs to the HCVB building need to be made.