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Community has concerns for Marcellus Main Street project

Extra chairs were needed for the Aug. 4 public meeting regarding the proposed Marcellus Main Street development project.

More than 60 residents gathered at the Marcellus Fire Department Community Room to hear Village Planning Board members and Emanon Equities representatives talk about the project and answer questions.

Planning Board Chair Dick Kelley refreshed the crowd on the responsibilities and authorities of the board, and explained that although the project had already been granted sketch plan approval, it was still a long way from fruition. Approvals from many other agencies, including the Department of Conservation and Department of Transportation, would be required for the project to get the green light.

"Everybody can have their say, but not everybody can have their way," Kelley said, emphasizing the obligation the planning board has in weighing the input from a multitude of entities, including community members.

Developer Jeremy Gorelick of Emanon Equities then outlined the proposed project, which would create a street-front mixed use building that would include 5,000 square feet of commercial retail space, 5,000 square feet of commercial office space, and seven apartments. The building mix new construction and existing "Monster Mansion," which would be renovated. South of the mixed-use building 33 townhouses are planned, though 17 would have to wait until the village's sewer capacity was capable of handling the additional residences.

"This is a community where people care about where they live, that's why all of you are here tonight," Gorelick said.

One of the major concerns residents expressed was whether a brand new retail space would sit empty in a village that already has too many vacant storefronts.

"If you build something to this standard, they will be full within a year," Kelley said. "I almost guarantee it."

He used Syracuse's Armory Square as an example of how quality, well thought-out design is a recipe for success in otherwise business un-friendly territory.

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