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Sep 27 2014 Fire Prevention Week Event

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By: Sarah Blazonis Updated 08/11/2014 10:46 PM


MANLIUS, N.Y. -- From medical supplies stored in tiny closets to a small and outdated decontamination area, Manlius Mayor Paul Whorrall says the village's fire stations are in definite need of updates.

"We've outgrown both stations, and they don't meet the needs. They don't meet the needs of the career staff, they don't meet the needs of our volunteer staff," said Whorrall.

The station's 70 volunteer members were a big part of the reason officials chose this site at the corner of Route 92 and Enders Road in the town instead of a dozen other locations for the new station it plans to build. Officials say it's a more central location that would allow for better response times and other benefits.

"It'll give them the opportunity to have better training facilities, allow them to train at a higher level," said Village of Manlius Fire Chief John Buskey.

Village residents were supposed to head to the polls later this month to decide on whether or not to buy this plot of land, but village officials say a disagreement with the Town of Manlius has postponed that vote indefinitely.

Whorrall says both the village and town want to be lead environmental agency on the project. Postponing the vote until the DEC reaches a decision on the matter puts the village in a tough spot. Its contract with the property's current owner giving it the option to buy the land is up at the end of the month.

"Our chances of losing that property will make us have to go back to square one," said Whorrall. "Right now, we -- I feel, personally -- would be doing an injustice to the community if I said, 'Oh, well, we can just pick one of the other sites."

Whorrall said $450,000 has already been put into the project that could total $9.5 million once it's finished. If they're not able to build on the site, renovations for the existing stations would likely be the back-up plan, but officials say those improvements wouldn't fully meet the department's needs.

If construction of a new station does move forward, the mayor said the current stations would be sold to help with building expenses.

Officials with the Town of Manlius did not respond to requests for comment.
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First Posted: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 -11:42 a.m

Manlius town board and zoning board members discuss disagreement with village over lead agency status for proposed new fire station


— Town of Manlius government leaders said last week the village of Manlius is squeezing them out of the planning process for the proposed new fire station at the corner of Enders Road and Route 92, even though the site of the new station is entirely outside the village.

The Manlius town board and town zoning board of appeals held a joint public meeting last week about the issue and, after receiving information and guidance from the town attorney, both agreed to consider the situation and make decisions about project jurisdiction at their respective upcoming meetings.

The town and village have been at odds over the project since the village board unanimously passed resolutions in late June declaring their “municipal sovereignty” from the town and seeking immunity from town regulations as they try to bring the fire station project to fruition. While the village is charged with providing fire protection to the town, the land for the proposed station is on town land.

“This has to do with the sovereignty of the process,” said Manlius Town Supervisor Ed Theobald. “We do want to make this work, but we want to do it the right way.”

“The concern is, why wouldn’t the town board have jurisdiction over this like any other project in the town?” said town attorney Steve Primo.

Manlius Mayor Paul Whorrall, who attended the meeting but did not speak, said the next day, “I took away from the meeting exactly why, after six months, there is no inter-municipal agreement. If it’s going to be this long and arduous climate, couldn’t they just turn around and say it’s not appropriate to build the fire station there? That’s exactly our concern.”

Until one of the municipalities — either the village or the town — is declared the “lead agency” in terms of the state-mandated environmental impact review process of the project (State Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQR), the project cannot get started.


The village has spent nearly seven years — and more than $440,000 — working to improve the fire station situation.

Manlius currently has two fire stations, station 1, which is located on Stickley Drive, and station 2, on Pompey Center Road. The village spent six years — from 2007 to 2013 — investigating the possibility of renovating both fire stations due to the deteriorating conditions and lack of sufficient facilities, such as restrooms, cleaning facilities, bunk rooms and overall handicapped accessibility. Both stations have issues that require remediation to ensure the “health and safety” of emergency personnel, Whorrall has said.

After numerous studies and much deliberation, the village Fire Facilities Committee decided to take the plans of what was needed at the two stations and combined them into one 20,000-square-foot building, which is proposed to be located at the corner of Enders Road and Route 92.

The new station would become the hub for all Manlius fire personnel, and the proposed location would be right in the middle of the Manlius fire district, which reaches south into the town of Pompey and as far east as the border of the town of Sullivan. The location would not only be more central in terms of response time to emergencies, but also for emergency responders to reach the station when they are called to respond to a situation, Whorrall said.

The proposal for a single, consolidated station was announced last September.

The village has been paying the landowner, Walrus Enterprises, $1,000 a month to hold the four-acre property at Enders and Route 92 for the village. That contract expired at the end of August, and the village had hoped to hold a village referendum on bonding for the new fire station before that expiration, but no vote occurred because the village and town could not come to an inter-municipal agreement. As a result of the six-month delay and the need to move the project forward, the village board voted unanimously on June 24 to declare its municipal sovereignty from the town.

On July 1, the mayor and village clerk were invited to the town board’s regular meeting to discuss the village’s position. Town Supervisor Ed Theobald said afterward that the town board still had “major concerns” about the issue, and would make a decision by the end of July. The town board never made an official decision, but it did vote to object to the village’s application for lead agency status under the SEQR, and sent a letter to the state Department of Environmental Conservation stating its objection.

In the meantime, the village’s contract with Walrus Enterprises expired, although it has been extended while this issue continues, Whorrall said.

Joint meeting

At the joint town board and zoning board of appeals meeting last week, Primo told the two assembled boards that the purpose of the meeting was to make a determination as to the town’s jurisdiction in the fire station proposal, specifically as to the village’s assertion of sovereign immunity and exemption from town regulations. He said the board also had to decide whether the project should be allowed to go forward without the town being named lead agency for SEQR review.

Primo said the boards needed to discuss the “balancing test” criteria as related to one municipality declaring sovereignty from another for a specific project, and laid out nine criteria as set forth in the main legal precedent case on the issue, Monroe County v. City of Rochester, from 1988. Those criteria included items such as considering alternate project locations, alternate methods to provide project improvement, impact on legitimate local interests and the extent of inter-governmental participation in the project.

“The procedural law is not that clear” to help make a determination in this case, Primo said. “It is somewhat confusing and it is unique.”

Primo said that from his perspective, once the village adopted its June resolution of sovereign immunity, the town does not even have “involved agency” status in project planning and zoning decisions. “We’re looking for some give-back,” he said.

Other town board members agreed.

Councilor Nicholas Marzola said the town board is concerned about having “at least some say and standing in the process,” and having an opportunity to review all the necessary project information and studies.

Councilor John Loeffler said there is a concern that, while the SEQR process is always the same, different boards can reach different outcomes in how they answer the SEQR questions based on their specific concerns. He said the boards’ decision was about what was the “right process” and “best approach” to the question of whether the village or the town is the lead agency for SEQR review and, ultimately, chooses how the process is administered and accomplished.

Theobald said he had heard from town constituents that because the proposed fire station is on town property the town should be named lead agency and the project should go through the town zoning and planning process.

“There are checks and balances here — there are due diligence issue by us, the town board,” he said. “We want to do everything we can to make this work, but we must do it correctly and do it together.”

Village attorney Matt Kerwin told the joint meeting that the village is “committed to this project and sees it as crucial to improve and maintain emergency services in the village and town alike.” He said the village board is dedicated to working together with the town. “I think there’s a solution to be found here among everyone,” he said.

Ultimately, the state DEC will make a determination as to who the lead agency will be for the fire station project, Whorrall said, although he has no idea which way the DEC may decide to go.

If the DEC chooses the village as lead agency, they will work together with the town board on the project; if the DEC chooses the town to lead, then the village board will have to discuss that decision with its attorney and decide the best way to move forward, Whorrall said.

“We will work with [the town], as we have all along; we’ve never left them,” he said. “What they’re willing to do, we don’t know.”

As to why the village and town are arguing over this if the DEC is making the decision anyway, Manlius Village Clerk Martha Dygert said it is her understanding that if the town disputes the lead agency issue now, then if the DEC chooses the village the town can challenge that decision in court and dispute the village’s claim that the town is not an involved agency.

The two town boards agreed to consider the issue further and vote as boards at their next respective meetings. The next ZBA meeting is Thursday, Sept. 18, while the next town board meeting is on Wednesday, Sept. 24.

Jason Emerson is editor of the Eagle Bulletin. He can be reached at or at 434-8889 ext. 335.

written by davidhaase | 1758 Views | Rating: (0 rates)


Manlius, N.Y. – Manlius police are asking for the public’s help in their investigation of a fire Thursday at The Beverage Outlet recycling center, 312 Fayette St., in the Village of Manlius.

The call came in about 6:30 p.m. It took firefighters about 50 minutes to put out the fire in the building that was filled with plastic bottles and cardboard boxes, said Manlius Fire Chief Paul Whorral. The fire traveled through the building's false roof, he said.

Nobody was injured, he said.

Fire investigators from Onondaga County Emergency Management are investigating the fire, Manlius police said.

Police ask that anyone with information call 682-2212, or 682-8673.


Our 2014 Every 15 Minutes Program has now concluded. We truly hope this has a positive impact on the 11th and 12th graders in attendance. A big thank you to all who had a part in presenting this worthwhile program. Article Article

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