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Board of Appeals





Owner/Applicant: Jonathan and Lisa Chi

Property: 33 Lincoln Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 44635, Page 254

Plan Reference: Plan entitled, "Proposed Garage Plan, 33 Lincoln Street in Hingham, MA," prepared by Cavanaro Consulting, 687 Main Street, Norwell, MA, dated May 4, 2015; and unstamped architectural renderings entitled, "Chi Residence (Left Side Elevation and Front Elevation)," dated April 15, 2015.


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the application of Jonathan and Lisa Chi (collectively, the "Applicant") for a Variance from § IV-A of the Hingham Zoning By-Law (the "By-Law") to construct a two-car garage with multi-purpose room above resulting in a 4' side yard setback where 15' is required at 33 Lincoln Street in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on May 13, 2015, at the Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular members W. Tod McGrath, Chairman, Joseph M. Fisher, and Joseph W. Freeman. The Applicant appeared to present the application and revised plans that proposed a reduced side yard setback of approximately 3'. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant a Variance from the side yard setback requirement under § IV-A of the By-Law.

Throughout its deliberations, the Board has been mindful of the statements of the Applicant and the comments of the general public, all as made or received at the public hearing.

The subject property consists of approximately 11,930 SF improved by a Greek revival style residence (ca. 1799). The lot has approximately 65' of street frontage and is approximately three times deeper than it is wide. The topography varies, as evidenced by a Schematic Site Plan prepared by landscape architect Sean Papich and photographs submitted in support of the application. A relatively level area exists to the northeast of the existing dwelling and the Applicant proposes to construct a two-car garage (24' x 26') in this location. Since the time of initial application, the proposed plan was updated such that the proposed setback was reduced from 4' to approximately 3' (2.9' at rear and 3.2' at front) from the easterly side property line.

During the hearing, the Applicant submitted several letters of support for the project from abutters to the subject property. The owner of the property to the east, which would be most directly impacted by the proposed location of the new garage, attended the hearing and expressed support for the requested relief.


Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, and the deliberations and discussions of Board members at the meeting, the Board has determined that:

a. There are circumstances relating to soil conditions, shape or topography especially affecting the land but not affecting generally the zoning district. The narrow shape of the lot and varying topography are limiting factors. This combination of conditions is not generally evident in the Residence A Zoning District. Given the circumstances of the property and the location of existing structures, there appear to be no other alternatives to site the garage;

b. The literal enforcement of the Bylaws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. The residential use of the sloped driveway and vehicle access areas, absent the opportunity to garage vehicles, would result in potential safety issues for owners of the property and their guests, particularly during the winter season. A literal enforcement of the zoning ordinance would result in a structure that would be functionally too narrow, thereby creating a substantial hardship for the applicant. A grant of the requested relief will allow for a reasonable use that is entirely consistent with a single family use in the Residence A Zoning District;

c. A variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The proposed project will not create any noise, traffic or result in other similar negative impacts. The design of the proposed garage is consistent with the character of the neighborhood and other single family residential uses in the Residence A Zoning District. There will be no adverse effects on the neighborhood and there will be no harm to the public good; and

d. A variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the Bylaw. The proposed structure is an allowed accessory use of the residential property . The side yard setback in no way derogates from the intent or purposes of the By-Law.


Upon a motion made by Joseph M. Fisher and seconded by Joseph W. Freeman, the Board voted unanimously to grant a Variance from the side yard setback requirement under § IV-A of the By-Law to construct a two-car garage with multi-purpose room above resulting in a minimum 2.9' side yard setback where 15' is required at 33 Lincoln Street in Residence District A, subject to the following conditions:

1. The rights authorized by this Variance shall expire one year from the date this Decision is filed with the Town Clerk, unless exercised or extended in accordance with the terms of M.G.L. c. 40A, § 10.

2. The Applicant shall construct the Project in a manner consistent with the approved plans and the representations made at the hearings before the Board.

This decision shall not take effect until a copy of the decision bearing the certification of the Town Clerk, that twenty (20) days have elapsed since the decision has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk and no appeal has been filed, or that if such appeal has been filed, that it has been dismissed or denied, is recorded with the Plymouth Registry of Deeds and/or the Plymouth County Land Court Registry, and indexed in the grantor index under the name of the record owner or is recorded and noted on the owner's certificate of title.

For The Board of Appeals,

W. Tod McGrath, Chairman
June 1, 2015