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Board of Appeals


Board of Appeals


Applicant and Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston
Property Owner: 66 Brooks Drive
Braintree, MA 02184

Premises: St. Paul's Parish
147 North Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 2116, Page 351


This matter came before the Zoning Board of Appeals on the application of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston/St. Paul's Parish for a Variance from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to construct a 8' x 20' storage shed within the side and rear setbacks at 147 North Street in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on October 15, 2014 at Hingham Town Hall before a panel consisting of regular members W. Tod McGrath, Chairman, and Joseph M. Fisher and associate member Mario Romania, Jr. The Applicant was represented by Robert Sullivan, 26 Governor Andrew Road, Hingham.


The subject property consists of approximately 2.98 acres, improved with several structures, including a church, rectory and school. The lot is unusually shaped and largely built out, though there is a relatively flat lawn area to the rear of the site.

The Applicant seeks to locate a shed at the rear of the St. Paul's property for storage of outdoor equipment and tools. The proposed shed would be located within 5' of both the rear and side property line. The site is well screened from neighboring residences by a detached garage on an adjacent property at 24 Fearing Road. Another abutting property at 20 Fearing Road is owned by the Archdiocese. The driveway on this site would provide access to the shed.

The Applicant's representative, Robert Sullivan, plans to complete the proposed construction in fulfillment of his Eagle Scout Project. He submitted photographs of a similar shed and reviewed the proposed location on the Assessors Map during the hearing. Mr. Sullivan described the topography, which slopes up from the front of the property to the rear. He indicated that this slope limits access to the proposed shed from the front of the lot. Instead, St. Paul's Church will utilize the existing driveway on the adjacent commonly-owned property at 20 Fearing Road to access the structure. He explained that the proposed shed location would also maintain the open lawn area to the rear of the site because it is used for both educational (play area) and religious purposes (statue and mediation/prayer area).

The Board discussed the application. Members questioned whether the proposal would be covered by the Dover Amendment. The Applicant stipulated that it was not seeking approval under Dover. The Board then discussed the merits of the application, agreeing that the lot is irregularly shaped and slopes up from North Street. A member noted that conformance with the 15' setback requirements would serve to make the proposed structure more visible.


The Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested side and rear yard setback Variance to construct a 8' x 20' storage shed with 5' side and rear setbacks at 147 North Street. In granting the requested relief, the Board found that:

1. Circumstances relating to the property's soil shape and topography affect the subject property and not generally the zoning district;
2. A literal enforcement of the Zoning By-Law would involve substantial hardship as there is no other location on the lot to construct the storage shed by-right that would be accessible;
3. The requested relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The proposed location is well screened and the structure will not create adverse impacts; and
4. The relief may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purpose of the Zoning By-Law.

The Variance is granted subject the following condition:

1. The addition shall be constructed in accordance with the plans submitted with the application, and representations made during the public hearing.
2. The storage shed shall not include electrical service.

The zoning relief granted herein shall not become effective until (i) the Town Clerk has certified on a copy of this Decision that twenty (20) days have elapsed after the decision has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk and no appeal has been filed or that if such an appeal has been filed, that it has been dismissed or denied, and that (ii) a copy thereof has been duly recorded in the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds and indexed in the grantor index under the name of the owner of record or is recorded and noted on the owner's certificate of title.

For the Zoning Board of Appeals,

W. Tod McGrath, Chair