The Tiverton Council voted unanimously on Monday to approve changes to the zoning ordinance that will attract large-scale developer's to the town's industrial park off of Fish Road.
The changes are intended to open the 177-acre plot off of Route 24 near the Fish Road exit to any business from renewable energy - as was proposed by Natural Energy Generation in February - to medical to offices.
"From our standpoint of economic development this is a step toward progressive development of the industrial park," said Leonard Schmidt, president of the town's Economic Development Committee. "This process has been going on in the town for about 20 years and it is coming to a point where we have several opportunities to turn it into an income producing asset to the town more so than it it."
The change creates an environment for planned development parks through the town's proposed subdivision of the park's former lots. Under the new plan, the Town Council will retain the authority to review and discuss the development standards and guidelines of any enterprise that attempts to develop within the park.
"This is the first step without relinquishing any control, but this at least creates more options and creates a vision for a process," said Kate Michaud, of the Panning Department. "It also creates a streamlined permitting process for someone who might want to develop in the park."
In February, His plans have a provision to develop a town square, the and municipal offices on parcels of a 70-acre site at $1 for each parcel. He also offered to pay for the town's bond to build the new library on Bulgarmarsh Road.
At the time, council members questioned whether Felise's proposal would conform to Tiverton's zoning and comprehensive plan. The zoning amendment passed tonight aims to clearly lay out the uses allowed in Tiverton's industrial park so that the town can manage developers like Felise.
Tiverton also spent the last year studying the (EBEC) that could distribute energy to nine municipalities.
"Zoning has a lot to do with the marketability of the property, it should be advanced with marketing so that we can identify what can be done with it from a development standpoint," said Schmidt. "The importance of this has a lot to do with making it marketable and enabling what is going to be a long term process of development."
According to Schmidt, the industrial park is currently providing about 13 percent revenue against the revenue invested into the park, but has the potential to grow to much more.
"This is the largest zoning decision the town has had," said Councilman Robert D. Coulter.