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NOTICE OF DECISION
IN THE MATTER OF:
Owner/Applicant: Blair Collins
Premises: 44 Gilford Road
Hingham, MA 02043
Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Land Court Cert. #101293, Book 598, Page 72
Plan References: Plans entitled, "Plan of Land, 44 Gilford
Road, Hingham, MA," and "Plan of Land Showing Structures Abutting 44
Gilford Road, Hingham, MA," prepared by Hoyt Land Surveying, 1287
Washington Street, Weymouth, MA, dated March 17, 2015 and an
architectural plan set, including floor, elevation, and section plans,
prepared by Virtual Architec LLC, dated January 31, 2014.
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the
application of Blair Collins (the “Applicant”) for Variances from §
IV-A of the Zoning By-Law Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as
necessary to construct a covered porch addition to a reconstructed
single family dwelling, resulting in a 24.4' front yard setback where
50' is required, and to locate a 16’x20’ shed approximately 5' from the
side and rear property lines at 44 Gilford Road where 20' is required in Residence C.
A public hearing was duly noticed to open on November 19, 2014;
however, the Board continued the hearing to January 14, 2015 in the
Applicant's absence. Subsequent sessions were held upon mutual agreement
between the Board and the Applicant on February 11, 2015, March 18,
2015 and May 6, 2015. All hearings took place at the Town Hall, 210
Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular members W. Tod
McGrath, Chairman, and Joseph M. Fisher and associate member Robyn
Maguire. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously
to grant the requested relief subject to the conditions contained
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 approximately 10,240 SF and includes a
pre-existing, nonconforming single-family dwelling. The Applicant
represented and the submitted plans confirmed that the property is
affected by significant ledge outcroppings and topographical changes.
The existing dwelling is serviced by a cess pool located to the
immediate rear of the structure.
The proposed plan calls for reconstruction of the dwelling and the
addition of a covered front porch, which would extend into the required
front yard setback. The Applicant also seeks to replace an existing
nonconforming shed with a larger structure that would be located within
both side and rear yard setbacks.
During the initial hearing, abutters expressed support for the
proposed front porch construction, but also concern about the size and
location of the proposed shed. Members noted that there is presently a
nonconforming shed in the backyard (approx. 10.5' x 10.5' in size and
approx. 9' from the rear property line), but agreed that the initially
proposed shed would be too large and too close to the property line. The
Board also noted that the submitted site plan did not accurately
reflect the applicant's requested relief in terms of the front yard
setback. The applicant asked for time to both consider alternative
designs and locations for the shed and correct the front yard setback
discrepancy and the Board continued the hearing.
The Applicant subsequently submitted revised plans in advance of a
subsequent hearing on March 18, 2015 to address expressed concerns. The
proposed plan as revised calls for a minimum 23.3' front yard setback
at the southwesterly corner of the covered porch. The proposed front
yard setback increases to approximately 27' on the southeasterly corner
of the front porch due to slight variations in the lot shape. Members
noted that the front setback could be as near the street as 29'
pursuant to the averaging exemption contained in § IV-B, 9. of the
By-Law. The Applicant also reduced the proposed size of the detached
accessory structure from 16' x 20' to 16' x 12' with a 4' x 16' porch.
The location likewise reduced the incursion into side and rear setbacks
from 5' to 7.5'.
A direct abutter to the property expressed interest in screening the
proposed shed from view. The Applicant agreed to install a vegetative
buffer along the rear property line to screen the accessory structure
from the neighboring property at 37 Lydon Rd.
Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, the Board has determined that:
1. There are circumstances relating to soil
conditions, shape or topography especially affecting the land but not
affecting generally the zoning district. The property is
affected by large areas of ledge as well as a significant grade
changes. The only available location for the new septic system is to
the rear of the dwelling, where a nonconforming accessory structure is
presently located, due to the presence of ledge and absence of adequate
soils elsewhere on the lot. Finally, there is variation in the shape
of the lot such that the side meet the front property line at a slight
angle. These conditions are not generally found in the zoning district.
2. The literal enforcement of the Bylaws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise.
The applicant is not able to maintain the existing detached accessory
structure, which is required for storage, in its current location
because this is the only area available on the lot for the new septic
system. Other properties in the neighborhood include similar porches to
the proposed. If relief is not granted, the applicant would not have
the same enjoyment of the property as others.
3. 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 proposed shed will provide the
same utility as the existing detached accessory structure, while
improving its appearance. There will be no adverse effects on the
neighborhood and there will be no harm to the public good; and
4. A variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the By-Law.
The proposed shed relocates the existing shed's nonconforming setbacks
from one side of the lot to the other, but does not substantially
intensify these noncompliant dimensions. The proposed increase in the
size of the shed is modest. The requested incursion into the front yard
setback for the covered porch is relatively small. Both improvements
will conform to the character of the neighborhood. The granting of a
dimensional variance in this instance is consistent with the purposes
of the By-Law.
Upon a motion made by Joseph M. Fisher and seconded by Robyn
Maguire, the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested Variances
from § IV-A of the By-Law to construct a covered porch addition to a
reconstructed single family dwelling, resulting in a 23.3' front yard
setback where 50' is required, and to locate a 16’x12’ shed with a 16' x
4' porch approximately 7.5' from the side and rear property lines at
44 Gilford Road where 20' is required in Residence C, subject to the following conditions:
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,