Mazzeo's seeks Berkshire Flower Co. property

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PITTSFIELD — The city was slated to rescind the conservation-restricted property formerly occupied by Berkshire Flower Co., but Tony Mazzeo is hoping to renegotiate that.

On Friday, Mazzeo told The Eagle he aims to use the property across the street from Mazzeo's to further his food establishment on Route 7 & 20, but because business plans are in flux he declined to be more specific about his intentions.

On Thursday the Conservation Commission granted Mazzeo another two months to come back with a proposal to settle the conservation restriction.

The land, owned by Patriot Resorts, is tied to a planning concession made during the development of Dan Fox Drive during the 1980s. The concession came because city powers at the time wanted to preserve some green space in the area to compensate for forested land that had been cleared and developed.

Bridget Brown operated her roadside flower shop there since 1987, so the city agreed in 2011 to give her an additional 20 years to run her business. That extension expired in July when Brown passed away, triggering a 60-day time clock for the city to take the property.

Thomas Hamel, an attorney representing Mazzeo, told commissioners that Mazzeo aims to acquire the Berkshire Flower Co. property from Patriot Resorts and offer another parcel for the city to use as a greenway. In response to Hamel's request, the commission granted an extension allowing time for negotiations to take place.

One commissioner, former city councilor Jonathan Lothrop, said the alternative parcel would have to have substantial value to the city in order to win him over. From a planner's perspective, he said, it's a priority to preserve the integrity of that area as a city gateway.

"It's a multi-dimensional puzzle that you have to consider," he said.

Mazzeo said the goal is to return before the commission next month, win their approval and move forward to the City Council for a final vote. His wife, Councilor At Large Melissa Mazzeo, told The Eagle she'd abstain from any vote involving the property.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.

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