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NOTICE OF DECISION
IN THE MATTER OF:
Owner/Applicant: Graham Howarth and McKenzie Howarth
257 Hersey Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Premises: 257 Hersey Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 43283, Page 18
Plan References: Existing conditions plan entitled, "Proposed Septic
System, 257 Hersey Street, Hingham Massachusetts," prepared by McS
Environmental Engineering Services, dated March 15, 2010 and an
architectural plan set entitled, "Howarth Residence - Addition and
Renovations," prepared by Genesis Design Associates, dated December
16, 2014, Drawings L-101 (Proposed Site Plan) and A-201 - A-204
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the
application of Graham and McKenzie Howarth (the "Applicant") for a
Variance from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law Law (the "By-Law") and such
other relief as necessary to construct an addition including an attached
single-car garage with living space above resulting in a 3' 7" side
yard setback at 257 Hersey Street where 15' is required in Residence
A public hearing was duly noticed and held on January 14, 2015, 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. The Applicant appeared to present the
application. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted
unanimously to grant the requested relief 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.
BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION
The subject property is 6,169 SF in size and improved by a
single-family dwelling and detached single-car garage. The premises is
irregular in shape, almost like a trapezoid. The residence is positioned
parallel to both the street and the southerly side property line;
however, the side yard setback to the north ranges from approximately
20' at the front of the house to 14' at the rear due to the lot shape.
The preexisting nonconforming garage is located on the rear property
line and just 1'-5" from the northerly side property line.
The proposed plan calls for demolition of the nonconforming detached
garage and construction of a 2-story addition to the residence,
consisting of a new single-car garage with living space both above and
behind. The proposed addition would be located 8'-4" to 3'-7" from the
shared property line with 253 Hersey Street.
The planned demolition of the existing detached garage would
eliminate the existing incursion into the rear yard setback, while the
proposed addition would increase the existing setback between the
northerly property line and the detached garage. The rear of the
property is also located entirely within the 50' buffer zone to a
wetland resource. The proposed plan would remove all structures from
this "no disturb" area.
The Board determined that the proposed addition would be
approximately 12' x 27' and may create an additional incursion of
approximately 100 SF in the setback. The Board reviewed the proposed
height of addition in relation to the existing house. It will be
slightly lower than the existing house.
The Chair opened the hearing for public comment. No one in the
audience wished to comment. The Applicant noted that the application had
included a letter of support from the owners of the adjacent property.
Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, and
other information available to the Board, 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 Property shaped like a trapezoid. There exists a
significant slope to the property from the front to the rear. The rear
of the lot is located with the buffer zone to a wetland resource. The
on-site septic system is located to the west of the house. Surrounding
properties do not generally share these circumstances.
b. The literal enforcement of the Bylaws would involve substantial
hardship financial or otherwise. The requested relief will allow the
Applicant to remodel and expand the existing dwelling, while eliminating
the existing rear yard nonconformity and improving the side yard
nonconformity by replacing existing the detached garage. A grant of a
Variance in this instance will allow for a reasonable use that is
entirely consistent with a single family use in the Residence A Zoning
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. In fact, the proposed
project will improve the existing dwelling in a manner consistent with
many single family residences in the surrounding neighborhood. There
will be no adverse effects or 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 design of the
proposed addition is consistent with the character of the neighborhood.
The proposed project will eliminate the existing rear yard setback
nonconformity and relocate, but improve, the existing side yard setback
nonconformity. 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 Variance from § IV-A
of the By-Law to construct an addition including an attached single-car
garage with living space above resulting in a 3' 7" side yard setback at
257 Hersey Street where 15' is required in Residence District A,
subject to the following conditions:
1. The Applicant shall complete the construction in accordance with
the plans submitted with the application and representations made at the
2. The ground floor of the attached garage shall not be converted to living space in the future.
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,