Start-up suppressor manufacturer granted permit by Planning Board
Belfast — Planning Board members granted a permit to allow a resident to produce suppressors for firearms in a building situated off of Lincolnville Avenue.
The business, which will operate out of a small garage on the property, is located at 255 Lincolnville Avenue in the Residential Agricultural 1 zoning district and is an allowed use subject to Planning Board review.
Applicant Eric Levangie explained to members of the Planning Board his business will focus on the production of firearms suppressors, which he will then sell to firearms dealers. Levangie said he does not have any plans to expand the size of the garage where his shop will be located.
He also said he contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to inspect the garage and was told the space was appropriate for his business. He said he has the necessary licenses that allow him to produce and sell the suppressors.
Before Planning Board members deliberated on the issue, Levangie's neighbor Doug Nelson voiced concern about noise levels in the area from guns being fired and asked for reassurances that the business would not increase the amount of gunfire he has heard in the past.
Levangie replied to Nelson's comments and said his plans to manufacture suppressors is in part due to concerns about the noise from gunfire. He also said that while he does some target shooting on his property, the amount of target shooting will not increase as a result of his business.
“The shop is about making suppressors and selling them to dealers,” Levangie said.
No one else spoke during the public hearing, either for or against the application.
Planning Board member Wayne Corey asked Levangie if the suppressors he plans to manufacture are similar to silencers that are often featured in movies. Levangie replied that silencers are not real, as it is not possible to completely silence the sound a gun makes when it fires.
He then explained that a suppressor, which helps reduce the noise of the muzzle blast from a firearm, functions similar to a muffler on a car in that it minimizes the noise without completely eliminating it.
Assistant Planner Sadie Lloyd noted the city received a comment from a concerned resident that Levangie's proposed business was not appropriate for the area where it would be located.
Lloyd also said that she spoke with Belfast Police Chief Mike McFadden who did not have any issues with the proposal.
Lloyd then briefed Planning Board members on the conditions to receive a permit that include notifying the code enforcement officer if he hires any employees; and he must notify the code enforcement officer of any plans to expand his business.
She also said Levangie is permitted to post a sign for his business that is no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet.
One question from Planning Board members was whether Levangie believed he could sell enough suppressors to support himself. Levangie replied he believed he could manufacture about 200 suppressors per year. He also pointed out that he has already spoken to one dealer who has agreed to purchase the suppressors he manufactures.
Levangie noted that while his firearms license would allow him to sell suppressors to individual customers, he is more focused on selling his product to dealers.
A motion was made to find Levangie's business is an allowed use and to grant him a permit. That motion passed with four members in favor and one abstaining.
In other business:
Planning Board members granted a permit to the city to rebuild the Thompson's Wharf facility. The proposed rebuild would would push the wharf out to the channel buffer and effectively double the amount of slip space from the existing 400 linear feet to 800 linear feet. It would also add four new slips and would deepen the existing slips.
City Councilors previously awarded the bid to rebuild the facility to Delong Marine at a cost of $163,689.
Ben Holbrook is a reporter for The Republican Journal covering general news.
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