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Guns & Roses back to Planning Board April 28

By Susan Mustapich | Apr 20, 2021

LINCOLNVILLE — The Lincolnville Planning Board will again review a commercial site plan review for Guns & Roses, a high-end weapons dealer located on Vancycle Road.

The Planning Board meeting will take place at 6 p.m. via Zoom Videoconferencing.

The Planning Board's original approval of the site plan for this business on Dec. 9 was revoked after a March Board of Appeals hearing.

The March 3 Board of Appeals decision found the Planning Board did not follow town land use ordinances when it approved the plan for Guns & Roses. It remanded review of the commercial application for Guns & Roses back to the Planning Board.

The April 28 meeting will be a final review of standards, to see if the plan meets requirements of the land use ordinance, according to Code Enforcement Officer Frank Therio. The plan is determined to be a minor commercial site plan.

At a final review, the Planning Board makes "written findings of fact establishing that the proposed development does or does not meet the standards of approval and other requirements of the town," according to the land use ordinance.

Guns & Roses is owned by Garo Armen. The business will sell firearms geared to higher-end customers, and ammunition, according to the commercial site plan application. Two existing buildings on the property will be used for the shop, a 600-square-foot showroom and 350-square-foot safe room.

Sales are described as by appointment only. The possibility of offering limited hours on Saturdays is mentioned in the site plan application. There is small gun range on the property for personal use.

The property was formerly Kelmscott Farm, owned by ethernet co-inventor and internet pioneer Bob Metcalf. Armen is chairman and chief executive officer of Agenus Inc. and a philanthropist.

The Planning Board approval was successfully appealed by abutting property owners Pat Shannon and TJ Mack, because they live within 500 feet of the property, and did not receive notice of Planning Board hearings concerning the commercial site plan.

Shannon and Mack went before the Board of Appeals March 2 and 3. The appeals hearing was continued due to a power outage March 2.

The land use ordinance provides specific details on how an applicant of a commercial site plan is required to "give written notice of date, time and place of meeting to abutting property owners and anyone within five hundred (500) feet of the property as shown on the most recent tax records, and parties who have filed a notice of interest."

Notices to abutters have to be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested and the applicant has to provide the mailing receipts to the town's code enforcement officer.

Lincolnville Town Attorney Sally Daggett wrote up the Board of Appeals administrative decision.

It states that a Nov. 12, 2020, meeting was identified as a preapplication meeting for the Guns & Roses commercial site plan, but at that meeting, the Planning Board reviewed the application for completeness and voted that it was complete.

The application review process requires public notice, certified letters sent to surrounding property owners, and copies of the return receipts for the letters, according to the decision.

On Nov. 12, the Planning Board "voted 5-0 to treat the application that had been submitted as a preliminary application and to review it for completeness." The board also voted that it was complete, according to the decision.

Due to these errors, the decision to approve the site plan application Dec. 9 "was contrary to the provisions of the land use ordinance," according to the decision.

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Comments (4)
Posted by: William Pieske | Apr 21, 2021 09:11

If people are opposed to the completely legal establishment of a firearms retailer and/or against the Second Amendment, perhaps they should consider moving to a state such as New York, Massachusetts or Illinois where laws are more in line with their philosophical views. I would think a high-ends weapons dealer would be much preferable to a low-ends weapons dealer. Self-education may be in order before expressing uninformed opinions.

Posted by: Kevin Riley | Apr 21, 2021 08:23

If they are selling firearms at the level of Holland & Holland shotguns I can see "by appointment only" Holland & Holland shotguns average $100,000.
There's a dealer in Kittery that only deals in that very high end market like that and he is appointment only.

Posted by: Crawford L Robinson | Apr 20, 2021 21:59

I am pro 2nd Amendment. Please provide a gun list that will be offered within the spectrum of 'firearms geared to higher-end customers'. I do like the idea of a local gun range. Good guys need guns to protect life and property and others from bad guys with guns too and a place to practice to be proficient in their use. Most of us don't need a 50 caliber sniper rifle or an Uzi to meet that need. Why would an appointment be a requirement for a customer? That seems an odd request.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Apr 20, 2021 19:57

A high end weapons dealer is not what this country needs!


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