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New Onondaga County plan looks to accommodate growth from Micron

A man in a blue suit jacket behind a lectern holds up a card.
Scott Willis
County Executive Ryan McMahon holds up a card that invites residents to read the 258-page comprehensive plan, May 9, 2023.

Onondaga County on Tuesday released a blueprint of sorts to help guide and accommodate community growth in the years ahead, largely driven by Micron.

County Executive Ryan McMahon said work began on the comprehensive document called Plan Onondaga about a year ago, with the idea they’d eventually land a high-tech manufacturer. With that dream realized, he said the economic driver is in place to help communities like Clay, Cicero, Salina, and others plan and manage growth.

“Really what this is, is we have a regional document, we can actually implement this stuff," McMahon said. "Previous documents were a little aspirational. Our local communities need to work through their own plans and their own conversations, and then from there, we all work together to implement those goals.”

McMahon said the plan focuses on developing strong centers that have a mix of housing, shopping, dining, entertainment and services, much like Armory Square in Syracuse. Other priorities include higher-density housing and neighborhoods, expanding transportation options, additional investments in natural resources and supporting agriculture.

Plan Onondaga now heads to the Onondaga County Legislature for consideration, where initial reaction seems positive. Legislator Colleen Gunnip, who represents the Salina area, said she’s hearing from the community about concerns around growth.

“Just this weekend, I was out doing petitions, and residents are concerned that the traffic as a result of Micron is going to be overwhelming, and that we're not going to do what we need to make sure that that doesn't happen," Gunnip said. "And I think this [plan] is what needs to happen.”

Over in Cicero, Legislator Deb Cody said traffic is already gridlocked on Route 11, and worries it will get worse when Micron comes along.

Lawmakers could vote on Plan Onondaga in July.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at