Community Planning

The Community Planning Department is an administrative unit of town government including staff and department heads from the Building, Zoning, Planning, Conservation and Historic Departments.

The role of Community Planning is to promote enhanced operational efficiency, and cost savings among the included regulatory departments through shared clerical services, and a consolidated budget. Community Planning also aims to ensure a continued high level of communication among regulatory disciplines, and serves as a single point of contact for residents and developers relative to proposed and ongoing development projects. An important goal of the Department is to promote the widespread dissemination of information about development and land use issues to all members of the Hingham community.

Department staff provide professional and administrative support for several town boards and committees including the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Conservation Commission, the Historical Commission, Historic Districts Commission and Planning Board.

Building Department

For new construction, renovation or additions to a building we suggest you start here. The Building Department staff will be able to advise you of the regulations that may be applicable to your project, and any other permits that may be required.


  • Building permits
  • Gas, plumbing, electrical permits
  • Zoning by-law enforcement
  • Massachusetts State Building Enforcement
  • Architectural Access Board regulations
  • FEMA flood map enforcement

Conservation Commission

Work in or within 100 feet of a wetland or within 200 feet of a perennial stream (defined in the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the Hingham Wetlands Protection By-Law) and work on storm drains or drainage systems, projects affecting or abutting town-owned space, and projects affecting or including conservation restrictions, must be reviewed by the Conservation Commission. The Conservation Officer can tell you if your project falls under Conservation Commission jurisdiction.


  • Wetlands Protection Act enforcement
  • Open space maintenance
  • Rivers Protection Act enforcement

Historic Districts Commission

Demolition of all or a portion of a structure listed in the local inventory of the historically significant assets requires Historic Districts Commission approval.


  • Work within Historic Districts
  • Design review / approval of exterior demolition approval

Planning Board

The Planning Board is the permit granting authority for subdivision, flexible residential developments and waivers from the off-street parking regulations. The Board conducts site plan reviews in association with applications for Special Permit A2 from the Zoning Board of Appeals, and for all non-residential building permits for work greater than $20,000 in value. The Planning Board also reviews all work done in the right-of-way on any of the town's designated scenic roads.


  • Land division approval
  • Site plan review
  • Subdivision rules and regulations
  • Zoning amendments
  • Scenic road regulation

Zoning Board of Appeals

The Zoning By-Law authorizes the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to issue special permits for regulated uses, consider requests for variances from zoning regulations, and hear appeals of decisions of the Building Commissioner.


  • Zoning special permits
  • Zoning variances
  • Appeals of the Building Commissioner