Hannibal City Council talks trash, development, and prepares for a new budget

Joe Churchill addresses the Hannibal City Council

by JIM DEWEY

HANNIBAL – The Hannibal City Council had a full agenda for a meeting that lasted 2.5 hours meeting Tuesday night in council chambers.

The issue of trash collection was brought up by Jared Campbell, co-owner of Haul-A-Way Company. Campbell proposed the development of software which would locate residents that are without a weekly trash hauler. Campbell said he would even pay for the development if need be.

Residents of Hannibal are required by the city to have a trash hauler but the city is unable to enforce the ordinance and many residents are not in compliance. There are as many as eight different trash haulers operating in Hannibal and those businesses often refuse to let the city know who their customers are which further complicates enforcement. No action was taken on the idea but council members indicated they will consider it.

The issue of streets and sidewalks in new subdivisions also came up. In 2020, the city council passed amendments to the city’s subdivision ordinance which require new subdivisions to include streets that are at least 30 feet wide and ADA compliant sidewalks. IT would also require greenspace in many new subdivisions. Several inspections of those streets and sidewalks by engineers are also included in the ordinance. 

Developer Joe Churchill (pictured above) told council members that those changes would add too much to the cost of properties in those subdivisions and lead developers to build outside city limits. Churchill and others opposed to the changes said those changes will cost jobs and tax revenue for the city.

Speaking in favor of the changes was Carl Ball who is part of a group developing property on the west edge of Hannibal. Ball called sidewalks “safe zones” and said even with the added costs, they are needed. Also speaking in favor was longtime Hannibal real estate agent Kristy Trevathan. Trevathan was a member of the city council in 1993 when the Mississippi River flooded out hundreds of Hannibal homes. The city saw a number of subdivisions built at that time. Trevathan noted that many people looking into moving to a community consider its “walkability.”
 

The final speaker on the topic was Acting City Engineer Mark Bross. Bross noted that there were a number of opportunities for developers to speak out about the ordinances before the changes were adopted. Bross said one issue cited by city employees was the number of complaints they received from residents of subdivisions about their streets.  The city is unable to address those streets because they are not owned by the city. 4th ward council member Alan Bowen noted that some time in the future, the city will own those streets and will have to bring them up to modern standards. That issue was addressed in the 1990s as the city accepted several streets that had to be rebuilt. Contractors raised many of the same arguments at that time. 

Bross also pointed out that developers and other opponents to the changes had several opportunities to speak out about the issue during public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Board and when the changes went to council for a vote.

No action was taken on that issue either as it would require action from Planning and Zoning before anything could happen in council.

The Historic Development District Commission Asked council to allow changes to its design review guidelines. They plan to revise the guidelines one step at a time and Tuesday night asked council to allow them to revert back from guidelines set in 2009 to those set in 1988 when it comes to window replacement and restoration. After hearing the request, Third Ward council member Stephan Franke said such changes would cause the city to lose out on grant opportunities related to the district. The issue was sent back to Planning and Zoning.

The final big issue of the night centered on the ban on Utility Task Vehicle on city streets. Council member Bowen requested changes that would allow the use of the vehicles. When the city banned the UTVs, city departments were also banned from using them. That issue will likely come up again as city departments have a need for using the vehicles. No vote was taken Tuesday night.

Council also heard the second reading of an ordinance that will allow council to meet by methods other than in person if need be. The Ordinance was needed after Hannibal residents approved the change to the city charter.

Council will next meet Wednesday, May 19 for a Committee of the Whole Council to discuss City Manager Lisa Peck’s budget proposal.

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