Manlius residents gathered for an Aug. 12 public hearing where the Manlius Town Board ultimately approved the designation of "Three Falls Woods" as a Critical Environmental Area. The board approved the label 4-2 with councilors John Loeffler and Sandy Schepp voting against the designation. Councilor Dave Marnell was not present. The CEA label ensures an added layer of protection from any future developmental plans.
As the residents who live near Three Falls Woods shared stories and memories involving their love and appreciation for the land, the property owner, William Camperlino, expressed his anger and lack of support for the extra layer of protection. He said the action imposes on the property owner's rights and will cause a much larger burden on him when it comes to any type of development. Camperlino has already invested millions of dollars into developing the land and promised he is only looking to improve the land rather than hurt it.
A town resident expressed her concern that the water streams would be tampered with because her family drinks water from a well.
"If we were to lose the water for our home or the water for our pond that would immediately affect the health of the humans living on the property" she said.
Camperlino responded with the reassurance that no development plans would affect the waterfalls or streams as he is looking to improve the purity of the water.
Another resident said she has had many friends visit from several different places around the world, and they were able to enjoy the beauty of the land during hikes and nature walks. Therefore, the land is not only important to the residents of Manlius, but many others as well.
Although a majority of the residents were in favor of a CEA designation, the town board did express if they were to approve the designation, this would not protect the land against development forever. This would just be a small step towards preserving the land permanently.
Ashley McCoy is a contributing writer for the Eagle Bulletin.