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Manlius Planning Board rejects Madison Row proposal

Developer may leave project entirely, lot would remain vacant

— “You commented earlier that ‘we can just wait,’” he said. “But you can’t – sometimes you need to allow the zoning to do its job and be flexible. When the economy calls for it, maybe you react to get a project done. But we can always find another town, we’ll find another place to build.”

One resident, who works in commercial real estate, stood up and said decisions like this one are giving Manlius a negative stigma among developers.

“I’ve got nothing to do with this project, but I hear people say ‘don’t even bother with Manlius’ all the time. No one wants anything to do with it. DeWitt used to be the place everyone was afraid of – now they’re running to DeWitt, they’re running to Fayetteville because those municipalities will work with them. That’s the reputation that has developed when you guys look for a way to say no instead of a way to say yes.”

Lester indicated that he would be interested in coming back for a resubmission of the plans in July, but he said the decision will ultimately be up to the team at Morgan Management to decide whether another trip to Manlius will be worth it.

“We’re on the fence,” he said. “We’ll take the comments from the board into consideration. It’s too bad really, but we’ll see what happens. It’s going to be up to the team to evaluate the expenses – this is an expensive process. I don’t think the planning board realizes how much time, money and effort go into the process.”

Christine Stevens, deputy director at JGB properties and Manlius resident, has been to every meeting concerning Madison Row since the early stages. JGB, the former developer, still owns the land. And she thinks that the land will stay vacant for years after this decision was made by the board.

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