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Proposed Manlius shopping center prompts mixed reactions

Plans for a grocery store and an athletic field hinge on the town board's decision on whether to grant a zoning change for the proposed site in the village of Manlius.

Representatives of Sphere Development LLC introduced plans Wednesday night for Manlius Place, a shopping center that would be located on Route 92 near Enders Road in what is now residential zoning. In order for the firm to move forward with the project, the town board would need to approve the request to change the site to commercial zoning.

The project would then be referred to the town planning board to make recommendations for or against it.

Along with the 78,000-square-foot grocery store, three retail spaces and a new office for the Cazenovia-based design firm are also planned at this location.

Kurt Wendler, managing partner of Sphere Development, said the center would be convenient for residents of Manlius, Pompey and Cazenovia with easy access to a major road. It would also provide a much-needed sports field for sports programs that have outgrown the school fields, as well as bring approximately 100 jobs into the area, he said.

Several other developers and residents from Mallard's Landing voiced their disapproval after the presentation, reminding the town board of a 1998 corridor study of zoning that aimed to protect that residential area from too much future development. Other audience members, including the presidents of Fayetteville-Manlius lacrosse and football associations, said the field and concession stand would help their programs immensely. However, the town board said the fields should be a separate but important issue.

Everyone in the room wanted more information about how the center would influence traffic in the area, as residents worried that it might attract a larger population than the firm projected. A study must be done before the town planning board can make any recommendations.

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