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Manlius Planning Board rejects Madison Row proposal

Developer may leave project entirely, lot would remain vacant

— The village of Manlius Planning Board held a special meeting on June 26 to review Morgan Management’s revised Planned Unit Development (PUD) amendment for the Madison Row project. Morgan Management, a developer from Rochester who signed onto the project in March, made changes to the plan based on comments from the May 7 meeting. But the changes weren’t enough to appease the board, which voted 3 – 2 against moving the project forward.

The board members who voted against the project said they were wary of the idea of a drive through at the proposed Kinney Drug store, the anchor tenant for phase two of the project. There was some confusion about whether a drive through is allowed under Manlius village code. So planning board attorney Brad Hunt explained that the village code does allow for drive throughs for banks and drugstores under PUD zoning, prior to the vote.

“There are different rules in different zoning districts – PUD is a special zoning district and the village basically sets the rules for what’s appropriate for this district,” Hunt said. “The planning board certainly has the power to allow a pickup window.”

The nearly 40 residents who attended the meeting erupted with displeasure when the PUD amendment was voted down. The planning board members then adjourned the meeting when audience members began speaking out of turn. Judy Dardzinski, a village resident and owner of Worldlink Travel in Manlius stood up and asked to have a dialogue between the board and the residents.

“You have five people deciding what the village wants and I’m concerned about the precedence you’re setting for our area,” Dardzinski said. “Over the years we’ve had so much difficulty getting businesses to come in. We can’t say ‘no’ to everything.”

A discussion ensued, mainly between Janet Webb, the most outspoken board member about the pickup window, and the audience. Webb said her reason for voting against the amendment was because she believes the pickup window is not safe for pedestrians. John Urcioli, who also voted against the amendment, said he thinks there should be a sidewalk instead. But project manager Matt Lester, of Morgan Management said that without the drive through window, the project will never get off the ground.

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