EDITORIAL: No ‘public comments,’ but plenty discussion at Manlius Town Board meeting

Anyone who doesn’t think the Manlius Town Board is listening to the concerns of residents should have been at last Wednesday’s meeting.

In its first meeting since suspending public comment for 30 days, the Manlius Town Board held a public hearing to consider amending local zoning law with regards to its residential multiple-use district just west of Fayetteville. The board proposed changing the law to allow no more than two business per structure, and require at least 1,000 square feet of space per business.

The hearing saw a variety of feedback from at least 10 residents, some taking the opportunity to commend the town board on its support of business in the district, others strongly urging the board to tighten up restrictions to keep business in the historical area from expanding, and to do something about the size and inconsistency of the district’s signs.

Some, like Schepp Funeral Homes owner Tom Schepp, thought that if it’s the exterior of the buildings the town board is concerned with, it should regulate exteriors, and leave the permitting of what’s inside those buildings to the planning board.

The conversation was civil, and brought up factors that had not necessarily been considered by the board. At the close of the hearing, Supervisor Ed Theobald said the board was not ready to act on the proposed amendments, and would need to first consider comments made that night.

We hope the board acts in a way that encourages a residential-leaning look without stymying current business owners. Regardless, Wednesday’s conversation would not have been as fruitful had the board and residents had to sit through a lengthy public comments period where a few residents dwelled on less timely business.

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