Mosaico requests zone change for Bristol Industrial Park

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The Bristol Industrial Park may soon undergo a zone change — the first in its 150-year history.

Mosaico Business and Development Corp., has filed an application with the Town of Bristol to change the zoning of the industrial park from manufacturing to land development project. The Bristol Planning Board Technical Review Committee is scheduled to review the application on Thursday, Jan. 9 at 9 a.m. at 9 Court St.

"We've always known we were going to have to (ask for a zoning change)," said Diana Campbell, executive director of Mosaico. "(The change) will help us attract a variety of tenants."

Mosaico, a non-profit redevelopment agency, bought the mill complex, located at 500 Wood St., over three years ago. The site is divided into three condominium building groups, one of which has been outfitted for fire alarms, making the space legally rentable. The second building group is currently undergoing fire alarm installation.

The change in zoning would allow for a mixed-use tenancy. In its application, Mosaico listed several business-type inquiries that include small companies looking for office space, retail stores, education facilities, service businesses such as restaurants, sports facilities, small aqauculture/hydroponics and distribution centers, that would potentially occupy the space.

"The front of that building on Wood Street would be a perfect space for a restaurant," Ms. Campbell said. "But we can't talk to anyone because it's zoned manufacturing."

However, there are stipulations to Mosaico's request, Ms. Campbell said. The site will remain at least 50-percent manufacturing, and there will not be any new residential units formed from the zone change.

The site is listed on the State Register and National Register of Historic Places, and includes buildings dating back to the 1860s when Augustus Bourn founded the National Rubber Company on the site. All changes and modifactions are subject to approval by the Bristol Historical Commission.

"In spite of offering below market manufacturing space for several decades, the (Bristol Industrial Park) has not been fully occupied since Kaiser Aluminum abandoned the facility in the early 70s," Mosaico states in its application. "Currently, 60-percent of it is occupied. In order to best utilize the remaining 40-percent, a zone change is required."

Mosaico has been granted $600,000 in federal funds to renovate the site thus far.

Ms. Campbell said that by the end of 2014, she's hopeful that the parking lot will have been paved, and the site will be beautified with shrubbery.

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