In December, on a vote of 2-1 the Marion County Commission rejected a rezoning request for four acres of land just west of Hannibal. On Friday, the vote to rezone the same site from agriculture to commercial was again decided by a 2-1 margin, only this time the outcome was reversed as the Commission approved the request.

In December, on a vote of 2-1 the Marion County Commission rejected a rezoning request for four acres of land just west of Hannibal. On Friday, the vote to rezone the same site from agriculture to commercial was again decided by a 2-1 margin, only this time the outcome was reversed as the Commission approved the request.

“I’m real happy,” said developer Lee Atkins, who intends to build high security storage on the land he will be buying from William Wilson. “I feel it should have gone this way the first time, but I’m glad to see commonsense prevailed with the commission, the zoning commission and county commissioners.”

“I’m as glad it passed as they (opponents) would be glad that it didn’t pass,” said Wilson.

Changing his vote since December was Western District Commissioner Randy Spratt, acknowledging before casting his vote in the Marion County Courthouse in Palmyra that “somebody would be unhappy.”

In voting in favor of the rezoning, Spratt explained that he was following the recommendation of the County’s Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Committee, as he has traditionally done since joining the County Commission in 2004.

Buzz Dennison, who spoke in opposition of the rezoning, contended that Spratt had “no reason” to change his vote since December.

Joining Spratt in supporting the request was Larry Welch, Eastern District commissioner, who had also voted in favor of the measure last year.

The lone dissenting vote was cast by Lyndon Bode, presiding commissioner, who said his preference was to keep commercial development on the south side of U.S. 36, just west of Hannibal.

Bode advised residents who reside in the area north of Jimmy O’Donnell Road that more changes in their neighborhood are likely as the city continues to extend west.

“Growth will be occurring,” he said.

Bode addressed one of the many arguments presented by opponents during Thursday’s P&Z hearing and Friday’s Commission meeting, that approving the request would amount to “spot zoning.” Bode explained that since commercial property on the south side of U.S. 36 is within 1,000 feet of the plat in question north of the highway, it did not constitute spot zoning.

On Thursday night, many of the same residents who had testified during the first of two P&Z hearings on June 11, voiced similar concerns regarding the placement of storage units in the area.

Following the unanimous approval Thursday of an amendment to the rezoning request that the lot could only be used for storage units and all storage must be indoors, the P&Z body approved the proposal 4-2. In December, P&Z denied the rezoning request on a vote of 4-3.

On Friday, Wilson noted that changes had been made to the development in accordance with concerns expressed in December. In response to an inquiry from Welch, Atkins said a drainage issue at the site would be addressed by a local engineering firm.

Following Friday’s approval of the rezoning request, Wilson said the sale of his four acres to Atkins might not be finalized “until October or November, maybe the first of next year.”

Atkins expressed the desire to get things rolling.

“We want to get things started relatively quick,” he said.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com .