Manlius: Town to set CEA limits

On Jan.10, town of Manlius board councilors discussed issues pertaining to the pending declaration of a Critical Environmental Area within the town of Manlius.

The CEA request was initiated by Manlius residents as well as members of community groups, the Manlius Greenspace Coalition and the Appletree Ridge Association. It relates to the Manlius portion of the Onondaga Escarpment Nature Corridor, a seven-mile-long wooded corridor southeast of Syracuse.

"We've got to start saving these treasured lands," said Ellen McGrew, Manlius resident and CEA advocate. "We're trying to preserve what's left of the escarpment to preserve."

McGrew created and presented a map to the board councilors, outlining an area to be declared for CEA.

"Basically, [the map] shows a delineation of what remains in the Onondaga escarpment within the town of Manlius in a virtually undisturbed state," said Benita Rogers, another prominent CEA advocate.

Town Attorney Tim Frateschi said the current struggle is with the New York State code that requires a public hearing, and identifying the boundaries of the designation.

"We don't have boundaries on this," Frateschi said. "Boundaries need to be identified. Then a public hearing can be held."

Boundaries would include street names and possibly property lines.

Frateschi said he will talk to the Department of Environmental Conservation about what type of map is acceptable in order to move forward. "Right now we have just an aerial view of the area," he said.

Town Councilor John Loeffler considered the possibility of boundaries cutting through the middle of properties.

"Bottom line is we need to be able to pinpoint [the boundaries]," said Supervisor Hank Chapman. "[They] need to be clarified."

"This is a very good starting point. Now we have to make sure from a legal standpoint -- we have to notify the public," Frateschi said.

The target date for the public hearing is Feb. 14.

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