View Other Items in this Archive | View All Archives | Printable Version

Board of Appeals





Applicants:                  People's United Bank         and           Aquarion Water Company
                                    850 Main Street                                  900 Main Street
                                    Bridgeport, CT 06604                         Hingham, MA 02043

Property Owner:         People's United Bank 
                                    850 Main Street
                                    Bridgeport, CT 06604

Applicant                     Joseph M. Antonellis
Representative:           288 Main Street
                                    Milford, MA 01757

Premises:                    29 Squirrel Hill Lane
                                    aka Lot 45 Christine Hill Estates
                                    Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference:         Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 42762, Page 156

Plan Reference:          Plan entitled, "Plot Plan in Hingham , Mass.," prepared by P.N Associates, Inc., 310 Oak Street, Shrewsbury, MA, dated October 14, 2014

This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the joint application from People's United Bank and Aquarion Water Company (the "Applicant") for a Special Permit A1 under § III-A, 3.10 of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to maintain a Public Utility Building consisting of a 20'x30' pump station at 29 Squirrel Hill Lane, A/K/A Lot 45 Christina Hill Estates, in Residence District A.

The Board of Appeals opened the hearing on the application at a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on February 11, 2015, which was continued without testimony to February 23, 2015. The hearing was held concurrently with hearings on an Administrative Appeal of the Building Commissioner’s determination, dated September 25, 2014, that the principal use on the lot is a Public Utility Building/Pump Station and a single-family dwelling cannot be an accessory use to the pump station nor can the pump station be an accessory use to the single-family dwelling at 13 Baker Hill Drive in Residence A and an alternately requested Use Variance from the Hingham Zoning By-Law (the "By-Law") to allow two principal uses on one lot. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board granted the requested Special Permit A1. The Board also granted a request to withdraw the Variance application without prejudice and granted the Administrative Appeal.

The Board of Appeals panel consisted of its regular members W. Tod McGrath, Chairman, Joseph M. Fisher and Joseph W. Freeman. During the hearing, the Applicant was represented by Joseph Antonellis, Esq.

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


Lot 45 in the Baker Hill Subdivision consists of approximately 116,510 SF. It is an irregularly shaped lot, as are many of the lots within the subdivision. The property is improved by a pump station that is 20' x 30' in size. The By-Law allows "public utility buildings" by Special Permit A1. Though the structure received a building permit in 2005, there is no evidence in Town records that the water company, as owner of the public utility building, ever applied for or received the required Special Permit.

In September 2014, the Applicant made an inquiry to the Building Commissioner seeking a determination as to whether Lot 45 could be used for the purpose of a single-family dwelling. The Commissioner issued his determination on September 25, 2014 that a variance would be required to locate a single-family dwelling on the lot since there is already a principal use on the property. The determination also indicated that a single-family dwelling could not be accessory to a public utility building. The Building Commissioner's letter of September 25, 2014 is the basis of the appeal. 

The Applicant argues that the By-Law does not prohibit multiple principal uses on a single lot.
The Applicant noted that there are many examples of industrial and business-zoned properties with multiple uses on a property. Even within residential districts, it is not clear that otherwise allowed uses such as agriculture, commercial breeders, riding stables, daycares, would be prohibited if a single family home already existed on lot. It is the Petitioner's position that by requiring a special permit, the By-Law anticipates that a public utility building or structure can be established on the same parcel as a dwelling. If the By-Law is read otherwise, then any telephone/cable distribution center or other utility structure would require its own lot of 20,000 - 40,000 SF in residential districts, and potentially more in other zones.

The Board reviewed the By-Law and determined that there was no prohibition against two principal uses of the Applicant’s lot, provided that both uses were otherwise permissible.  The Board noted that the By-Law prohibits more than one dwelling on a single lot (Section IV-C, 4.), but the Applicant was not proposing multiple dwellings.  A member referenced the decision in Hooper v. Goddard, 1 LCR 122 (Mass. Land Ct. 1993), where the Court had conducted a similar analysis of the Zoning Bylaw for the Town of Manchester by the Sea, concluding that there was “no prohibition in the Bylaw against having two principal structures on a lot” associated with two permissible, principal uses.  The Board observed that a Special Permit is required for "public utility buildings and structures" under Section III-A, 3.10, and that the conditions associated with the issuance of such a Special Permit might, or might not, impose restrictions on allowing a utility building and a single-family dwelling to coexist on the same lot.  The Board reviewed the Applicant’s proposal and determined that, as proposed at the Premises, the pump house could coexist on the same lot as a single-family dwelling subject to the terms of the Special Permit.


Based on the information submitted and presented during the hearing, the Board made the following findings:

  1. The proposed use of the site is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of this By-Law because construction of public utility buildings is expressly allowed by Special Permit A1 under Section III-A (3.10) of the By-Law in all residential zoning districts. The use of the public utility building for the purpose of insuring appropriate water pressure and volume as a public safety requirement is in concert with the purposes of the By-Law.
  2. The proposed use complies with the purposes and standards of the relevant specific sections of this By-Law.  The proposed operations center is a public utility building/structure and is a use allowed by a Special Permit A1 under Section III-A (3.10) of the By-Law.
  3. The specific site is an appropriate location for such use, structure, or condition, compatible with the characteristics of the surrounding area.  The Property provides the most appropriate place in the Baker Hill Subdivision to locate a booster pump based on the network of pipes and distribution of water. The specific site provides easy access off of Squirrel Hill Lane for maintenance and repair of equipment, while not limiting the building area available for residential development.
  4. The use as developed and operated will create positive impacts or potential adverse impacts will be mitigated.  The existing use has a positive impact on the neighborhood in that it insures proper flow and pressure for domestic and public safety water supplies. The structure was built in a manner that lessens noise and other environmental impacts.
  5. There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians. The structure is situated on the lot for ease of access and except for occasional maintenance there is no traffic generated by the use. Adequate and appropriate facilities exist or will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use. The site and the use thereof help o insure the adequacy of the public utilities for the subdivision and the surrounding area.  Adequate and appropriate facilities exist for the proper operation of the pump house itself. The building is protected by fencing and is not accessible to the general public.
  6. The proposal meets accepted design standards and criteria for the functional design of facilities, structure, stormwater management, and site construction. The construction meets accepted design standards. The public utility building       received a building permit and has been operational since 2005.

The Board further found no reason to limit the Special Permit to preclude the Applicant from locating a single-family dwelling on the Premises.

Upon a motion made by Joseph Fisher and seconded by Joseph Freeman, the Board of Appeals voted unanimously to GRANT the Special Permit A1 to  maintain a Public Utility Building consisting of a 20'x30' pump station at 29 Squirrel Hill Lane, A/K/A Lot 45 Christina Hill Estates, in Residence District A.

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 County 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,


Joseph M. Fisher
March 16, 2015