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Will perseverance pay off?

Proposed Price Chopper remains on the table for developers

A 30-acre land contribution and a fire house. What do the two have in common? They're incentives for the Manlius Town Board to pass a commercial proposal, that, according to Supervisor Mark Tetley, is currently off the table.

The proposal? The construction of a 78,000 square-foot project that includes a Price Chopper on Route 92. But while the Manlius Town Board nixed the initial request for a property zone change last year -- which is required to take the project further -- Sphere Development has yet to give up. A nine-year-old corridor policy is the developer's number one obstacle.

In December 2008, Sphere managing partners Kurt Wendler and Greg Widdick, residents of Manlius and Cazenovia respectively, requested that a 15-acre parcel of land be rezoned from Residential 3 to Neighborhood Shopping Center. This land is located south of Enders Road and is adjacent to the Eastern Hills Bible Church. The grocery store would primarily service people commuting to and from Cazenovia and Manlius. The board voted the request down due to the Route 92 Corridor Policy that was authored by Councilor John Loeffler and was approved by members of the Manlius Town Board in 2001.

Last month, Wendler and Widdick asked the board to reevaluate the study, particularly since some of the members admitted to never having read it at length. On Oct. 14, the board -- with three councilors absent (Paul Susco, John Loeffler and Sandy Schepp) -- agreed to form a review committee. At the next meeting, the board reversed its decision. Why?

According to Councilor John Curtis, the initial approval on Oct. 14 was a quick reaction by the board based on attendee comments that night.

"After giving it some thought, it was not in the best interest based on what was said that night," Curtis said.

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