February 14, 2020 10:45 AM, EST

Proposed Cargo Hub for N.Y. Town Faces More Delays

The CSX rail yard seen from Fremont Road in Manlius, N.Y., in June 2018.The CSX rail yard seen from Fremont Road in Manlius, N.Y., in June 2018. (Tim Knauss/Syracuse Media Group)

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MANLIUS, N.Y. — The Manlius town planning board this week urged “great caution” as town officials consider how a proposed rail-and-truck cargo hub near the CSX rail yard would affect traffic on Fremont and Kirkville roads.

It’s the latest delay for developer 3Gi CNYIP, which has sought for nine years to build an “inland port” for international shipping.

Developer Eckardt “Chris” Beck of 3Gi CNYIP said he plans to respond soon to the planning board’s concerns so that town councilors can vote on a proposed zone change needed by the project.

“I will be responding,” Beck said. “I’m going to be showing them how to mitigate problems.”

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Beck has asked to change the zoning on 43 acres off Kirkville road to industrial, so that he can build a cargo hub where international shipping containers could be transferred between trucks and railcars. CSX Corp. is upgrading facilities at its adjacent rail yard to load and unload containers from the Port of New York of New Jersey.

But members of the planning board raised multiple concerns about the project this month, especially about truck access to the site. Town officials do not want to increase traffic on Fremont Road, which is the only way in and out of the CSX yard.

In an unusual move, the Manlius planning board declined to make any recommendation — for or against — the requested zone change. Instead it approved a four-page resolution itemizing all the unresolved variables, most importantly truck access.

“Access to this site is a primary concern that this board suggests the town board consider with great caution,” the planning board said.

The town board, which had requested an opinion from the planning board, will resume consideration of the zoning request after 3Gi CNYIP responds to the planning board document, supervisor Ed Theobald said. The board will conduct a public hearing as part of the review.

If 3Gi provides answers to the planning board concerns, the town board will invite them back to discuss the project, Theobald said.

“We’re a little further,” he said, “because at least the planning board gave them some direction about what their concerns are.”

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