A group of about 20 neighbors voiced their concerns to members of the Palmyra City Council during their regular meeting Thursday, Sept. 21, following a weekend incident involving a man threatening others with a weed eater — prompting them to request more information regarding a nearby home for developmentally disabled residents.

A group of about 20 neighbors voiced their concerns to members of the Palmyra City Council during their regular meeting Thursday, Sept. 21, following a weekend incident involving a man threatening others with a weed eater — prompting them to request more information regarding a nearby home for developmentally disabled residents.

Representatives of the neighborhood asked the council for specific details regarding the zoning for the home at 411 E. Ross St., along with minutes and records from the Planning and Zoning Commission meetings and clarifications about staff qualifications, who is in charge of oversight at the state level and security measures at the facility. Mayor Loren Graham said the council would look into each item on the list they provided, which included allegations that security is not sufficient and the grounds have landscaping issues.

Police Chief Eddie Bogue confirmed that Palmyra Police officers responded to reports of a man threatening neighbors with a weed eater during the preceding weekend, and the neighbors later gathered for a meeting to list their requests and present them before the council. Among their suggestions were limiting group homes to one per ward.

City Attorney Chase Hickman said the home was regulated by the Missouri Department of Mental Health, and Council member Josh Smith said that department or the Department of Health and Senior Services could shut down the facility if officials found it didn't comply with their standards. Fellow council member Ken Sheputis told the neighbors how to contact the Hannibal Regional Center for more information. A representative of the home said that the staff had just passed an inspection “with flying colors.”

Sheputis pointed out that other group homes in the community haven't experienced issues like this. He said he has a disabled son, noting that limiting the amount of facilities for citizens with mental disabilities or mental health issues would be detrimental to the community. Fellow council member Josh Smith echoed that sentiment, saying he works daily with people who have mental illnesses.

“The majority of mentally ill people are not dangerous, but they are sick and they need our help,” Smith said.

Graham thanked the group for giving packets and voicing their concerns, telling them he planned for the council to answer questions and provide feedback to them during future council meetings.

In other business:

The council approved an ordinance regarding cats in dogs within city limits. As before, the ordinance specifies that all cats and dogs must be vaccinated against rabies, but it now specifies that the clerk for the Palmyra Police Department will receive certificates of vaccination, and the free city tags would need to be renewed each calendar year instead of each fiscal year.

Graham welcomed Code Enforcement officer and Building Inspector Chuck Anderson, who had already taken a tour along a city block with fellow officials and council members to see what issues will be addressed first.

Council member Pam Behring said contacted Susan Berti with the Palmyra Chamber of Commerce, noting she had several ideas of how community organizations could collaborate for the city's upcoming Bicentennial celebration. “We need someone to take the bull by the horns and start planning,” Graham said. He announced a public meeting for the celebration set for 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Sesquicentennial Building.

The council adjourned into a closed executive session to discuss real estate matters.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com