Proposal for gun store withdrawn

Arrington Luck

A request for a special permit to operate a controversial sporting goods store has been withdrawn after a heated public hearing on the matter.

At a Williamstown Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on Sept. 19, community members expressed concern over plans by Williamstown resident Billy Preite to open a sporting goods store on North Hoosac Road. This store had planned to sell, among other things, collectible firearms (“Proposed local sporting goods store faces backlash over gun sales,” Oct. 2, 2019).

Some attendees at the hearing expressed worries about issues of personal safety, while others expressed support for the store. 

Preite had initially submitted a request to change the non-conforming use status of the building. He has now withdrawn it as a result of sharp community opposition.

“At the [September] meeting, I thought that the people who were opposed acted very childish with their booing and cheering, and I am disappointed that it was allowed,” said Preite in an interview with iBerkshires. Preite insisted that the board itself treated him fairly, however.

Preite’s withdrawal of the request was approved 5-0.