Please support local news coverage –

Donate Here

Gunsmith shop proposed for Portsmouth Business Park

Petition goes before zoning board on Thursday, Aug. 20

By Jim McGaw
Posted 8/15/20

PORTSMOUTH — A proposed gunsmith shop in the Portsmouth Business Park cleared a hurdle Wednesday as the Planning Board voted unanimously to give it a favorable opinion to the zoning …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Please support local news coverage –

Donate Here

Gunsmith shop proposed for Portsmouth Business Park

Petition goes before zoning board on Thursday, Aug. 20

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — A proposed gunsmith shop in the Portsmouth Business Park cleared a hurdle Wednesday as the Planning Board voted unanimously to give it a favorable opinion to the zoning board. 

On Thursday, Aug. 20, the Zoning Board of Review will hear Aquidneck Gunsmithing, LLC’s petition for a special-use permit to construct a 1,800-square-foot building on a 73,914-square-foot lot for a gunsmith/repair shop for firearms on High Point Avenue.

The town’s Design Review Board, on Aug. 3, also gave the proposal a favorable opinion, saying owner Bill Breyer had met the criteria for the site plan, building façade, landscaping, lighting, and signage. 

“The criteria for architectural expression has been met in that it proposes to fit in with the other buildings on the site, in keeping with the barn style that was existing,” the design board stated in its opinion.

The proposal is technically considered a manufacturing use, but that’s only because the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) considers any kind of work with firearms as manufacturing, according to Mr. Breyer. 

If two pieces of a gun are attached to one another, “they call manufacturing for the purpose of their permitting,” he said.

Michael Murray, Mr. Breyer’s attorney, agreed. He said the manufacturing designation was used “under an abundance of caution” in order to comply with federal guidelines.

Michael Asciola, assistant town planner, told the board he believes the proposed venture would be a service business, not a gun manufacturer. 

There will be no mass production of firearms at his shop, only the building of “one-off rifles for individual customers” and repair work on guns to improve safety and performance, Mr. Breyer said, adding he also won’t be selling guns.

The testing of firearms will be done off site — either at the Newport Rifle Club or the Tiverton Rod and Gun Club, said Mr. Breyer. “I will be doing no firing at my shop,” he said. “I won’t even be doing any chambering at my shop.”

Local resident John Carcone asked whether any “caustic” or dangerous chemicals, which are often applied during plating, would be used at the business.

“I will be doing some spray-painting on metal work and I will be disposing of that in accordance with the law. Other things I will be doing don’t really require caustic chemicals,” said Mr. Breyer, adding he will not be doing and plating or using acids in his work. The business will also comply with any requirements regarding the storage of chemicals or paints set by the fire department.

Board voted unanimously to grant the favorable opinion, subject to approval of a septic system, a R.I. Department of Environmental Management permit for the wetlands on the east side, a landscaping agreement with the Design Review Committee and fire department review.

Please support your local news coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the local economy - and many of the advertisers who support our work - to a near standstill. During this unprecedented challenge, we continue to make our coronavirus coverage free to everyone at eastbayri.com - we believe it is our mission is to deliver vital information to our communities. If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please consider a tax-deductible donation. 

Donate Here

Thank you for your support!

Matt Hayes, Portsmouth Times Publisher

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.