They didn’t pave paradise

Anyone crazy enough to read all these posts knows I grew up in Manlius, so walkability was normal for me. My dear ol’ dad was a member of the Village Board for quite some time and I recall fights back in the ’60’s when he and others were trying to prevent the village from tearing down its historic buildings. For the most part, they were successful. And if you walk around Manlius today, you’ll see that there’s still a “there” there. You’ll know, from the quaintly mid-century Sno-Top to the Swan Pond to the ancient Masonic Temple and the early 19th-century homes near the gazebo, that you are in no other place than Manlius, NY.

They didn’t tear it down. They kept it walkable, despite the pressures of all that oh-so-annoying traffic. They “allowed” old people to grow old right there in the village, unlike Fayetteville, which couldn’t have any of that. There’s a senior center and a senior home in the heart of the village of Manlius. And now they’ve somehow found a developer stupid enough to build according to the village’s stupid plans. Who do they think they are? Another Skaneateles? You know which one I mean, the town so stupid it figured out how to get people to drive for 40 minutes just to take a walk in it.

Sorry, I get worked up. This article in today’s Post-Standard upsets me. The things they say! Look at this (bolding mine):

“In 2008, the village adopted its comprehensive Vision Manlius plan for development. The plan is a set of guidelines for fostering a pedestrian-friendly village with a rural feel, vibrant downtown business core, mixed residential and commercial development, plus parks and natural areas.”


“A key, said Dougherty, was to create a project that would encourage foot traffic through it and into the rest of the village. “It is nearly the inverse of how a typical developer would approach this prime site,” said Dougherty.”


Parking would be in the rear and would accommodate more than 350 cars. A new road, called Village Road, would line up with Manlius Mart. It would be closed off to vehicular traffic in the summer for pedestrian flow and to allow the restaurants to open up for outdoor, patio seating.”

So what if traffic doesn’t flow rapidly through Manlius? It doesn’t do that in any town worth living in. That’s because people find it so rewarding to live there, they put up with the inconvenience of having to take just one aspect of their lives a little more slowly (examples: Newport, Boston, all of Europe).  If traffic discourages one more developer from turning one more of Pompey’s farmer fields into a mass of McMansions, all the better for Manlius.

Let’s see, then. Eastwood has had its own visionary overlay district guidelines for eight years. It has had development on James Street during that time, and most of it pretty good. It has suffered from a planning commission still subject to pressure from a mayor who has publicly come out against the guidelines. It is mired in a system that that allows developers to toy with (read: divide and try to conquer) the property-tax-paying residents. It is facing the same problems Manlius faces. But oh, what a difference when you have plans in place that will be enforced. Look at the kind of developer you get: one who will do the inverse of what has brought Eastwood to the brink, Butternut to the pit and Salina-Ballantyne over the edge.

Makes it kinda tempting to consider moving back home.

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