A plan to put a commercial firearms repair and retail store in the former Fayette fire station has hit a snag.

One resident has appealed the permit granted 4-0 by the Planning Board, and an Appeals Board hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Fayette Central School.

Christopher Leighton, of Readfield and formerly of Mechanic Falls, and his son Brian Leighton, of Boston, were granted a permit to open a “gun repair/sales store and other recreational equipment” at 1913 Main St., property owned by LeeAnn and Archie Miller, who also own the Fayette Country Store. That store sells ammunition and hunting and fishing supplies, which probably would be relocated across the street.

LeeAnn Miller said there’s a family connection because Christopher Leighton is engaged to her sister.

LeeAnn Miller said Christopher Leighton is an experienced gunsmith who had his own business previously.

“His intention is to start doing firearms repairs and later branch into some sales of sporting goods and firearms,” she said.


In their application for a construction permit to do about $5,000 worth of improvements to the property, the Leightons say the shop will carry hunting and fishing supplies, shooting accessories and later possibly camping gear and archery equipment; and it would offer canoe and kayak rentals.

Jeannette Kassel, owner of 1902 Main St., Fayette, appealed the April 13 decision, citing public safety and land values concerns.

“A gun supply store increases the risk to public safety in Fayette and neighboring towns,” Kassel’s appeal says.

Kassel also cited the proximity to schools and camps, including Fayette Central, Wayne Elementary, Kents Hill and Maranacook High schools, as well as camp Vega, Winnebago, KV and Laurel.

“Current zoning allows for the establishment of a Gun Supply Store in the same manner as a food store or an ice cream shop. While the last two are benign, a gun supply store stocks weapons,” Kassel wrote in the appeal. “While the current process to approve a store such as this may be adequate for a food or ice cream shop, the establishment of a store that supplies weapons begs for more consideration and a more informed and thoughtful process.”

Saying she has been a resident of Fayette for more than three decades, Kassel said the presence of such a shop would hurt land values.


She refers to a list of risks from a summit held at Johns Hopkins University in 2013 that produced “consensus recommendations for reforms to federal gun policies.”

Kassel didn’t return a phone call seeking comment.

Gerald Miller, a former selectman in Fayette who serves on the three-person Board of Appeals, said he expects that the board will hear testimony and vote on the appeal at the end of Monday’s meeting.

In October 2012, when the Millers purchased the former fire station property from the town for $22,000, they said they intended to use it for parking and potentially for retail space.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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