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Board of Appeals
TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant James E. Bristol, III and David B. Bristol, Trustees of Old Derby Nominee Trust
and Owner: 37 Derby Street, Suite 4B
Hingham, MA 02043
Premises: 306 Whiting Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 44197, Page 210
Plan Reference: Plan entitled, "Site Plan, 306 Whiting St, Hingham,
MA," prepared by CHA, 301 Accord Park Drive, Norwell, MA , dated
August 12, 2014, Sheet C-1 and an unstamped, undated floor plan for
Weathervane Golf Academy received by the Board on September 9, 2014
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS:
This matter came before the Board of Appeals on the application of
James E. Bristol, III and David B. Bristol, Trustees of Old Derby
Nominee Trust, for a Modification of a Use Variance from §III-A of the
Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to amend the uses and
related plan details approved by the Board on November 19, 1997. The
request includes a reallocation of permitted uses, reconfiguration of
seasonal patio and outdoor seating, and construction of a 1200 SF
addition for storage related to the continued operation of a golf
practice and learning facility with a restaurant and retail store at 306
Whiting Street in the Office Park and South Hingham Development Overlay
The Zoning Board of Appeals opened the hearing on September 17, 2014
in the Hingham Town Hall at 210 Central Street. The Board of Appeals
panel consisted of regular members W. Tod McGrath, Chairman, Joseph M.
Fisher, and Joseph Freeman. The Applicant was represented by Jeffery A.
Tocchio, Esq., James Bristol, III, and Gabe Crocker, CHA Consulting
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.
On November 19, 1997, the Board granted with conditions Variances
from Sections III-A, 4.13, 4.9A, 4.9O and 4.1 of the Hingham Zoning
By-Law (in effect at the time) to construct a golf practice and learning
facility with a restaurant and retail store, a copy of which was
recorded with the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds in Book 16248, Page
207 (the "Variance Decision"). At the time of the Board's issuance of
the Variance Decision, the Property was located in Residential District
C. The Property is presently located in the Office Park and South
Hingham Development Overlay Districts.
Under the Variance Decision, the Board issued findings that the
Property had been operated as a quarry since at least 1811, and possibly
as far back as 1687; a use at the Property that became nonconforming
when the Town adopted the Zoning By-Law. The Board found that the
Property contains numerous outcropping of ledge and depressions which
result in an extreme variation in grade and slope, and that the soil
conditions consisting mostly of ledge were unique to the Property.
Based upon its findings of unusual circumstances affecting the Property,
the Board found that the statutory factors for award of variances had
Pursuant to the Variance Decision, a Final Site Plan was submitted to
the Board, on March 17, 1998. The facilities at the Property were
built in accordance with the Final Site Plan. The Property operated as
the "Fore Seasons Golf Practice and Learning Center", a golf practice
and learning facility with a restaurant and retail store, by a tenant of
Eastern Quarries, Inc., the previous owner of the Property.
In April of this year, the Applicant purchased the Property from
Eastern Quarries with the intent of improving the condition of the
Property and operating the golf training center under the "Weathervane
Golf" brand, as the "Weathervane Golf Academy". The Applicant is the
developer and operator of the Weathervane Golf Club, a 3,000 yards/par
36 golf course at the Village of Weathervane, an active adult community
located less than 5 miles away in Weymouth. The Applicant intends to
operate the Golf Academy as the premier practice facility for area
golfers, accessible to members of the public, individuals purchasing
memberships at the Academy, and members of the Weathervane Golf Club.
Since acquiring the Property, the Applicant has hired a golf
professional to provide individual and group lessons and upgraded the
facility with current technology.
As part of the proposed modifications of the Variance Decision, the
Applicant seeks to: (i) reallocate the permitted uses within the
existing building, (ii) reconfigure the seasonal patio and outdoor
seating areas, and (iii) construct a 1,200 sq. ft. addition (one-story
with walk-out basement) to the building for expansion of the
storage/maintenance/operation of the facilities at the Property.
The Variance Decision included a Final Site Plan which identifies the
external and internal uses within the approximately 5,800 sq. ft.
building, in order to verify that requisite parking was provided for
each identified use under the By-Law (in effect at the time). The
internal building allocations apportion the following approximate
area/space for the permitted uses: 4,200 sq. ft. for retail use; 800 sq.
ft. (30 seats) for restaurant use; and 500 sq. ft. (20 seats) for
classroom use. The Applicant seeks to amend the Variance Decision to
reallocate these permitted interior uses, as follows: (i) retail space –
1,185 sq. ft.; (ii) restaurant space – 3,765 sq. ft.; (iii) office
space – 330 sq. ft.; and (iv) golf simulators/training – 590 sq. ft.
Correspondingly, the Applicant seeks approval to increase the size of
the approved deck/patio from approximately 1,200 sq. ft. to 1,600 sq.
ft., and to allow service of food and beverages within an identified
outdoor area, as depicted in the referenced floor plan. In addition,
the Applicant seeks to extend an existing wing of the building by 1,200
sq. ft. for storage/maintenance of the facilities at the Property.
The layout and use of the other external areas/uses of the Property,
such as the driving range, practice holes and putting greens will
otherwise remain unaltered, and the overall function and use of the
Property for operation of a golf practice and learning facility with a
restaurant and retail store, as permitted by the Variance Decision,
remains the same. The Applicant presents that the proposed reallocation
of the retail/restaurant use areas at the Property will reflect a
better balance of the expected demand for such uses. The reduced retail
space will offer a pro-shop and custom golf club fitting, and act as
the operational/transactional point for the golf facilities. The
proposed increase in the restaurant area will allow the Applicant to
provide food services typical of a tavern situated in a golf clubhouse,
rather than the limited fare prepared by the previous operators. The
proposed reallocation of excess retail space to the previously permitted
restaurant use is consistent with current zoning, which allows the
operation of a restaurant and accessory retail use within the Office
Park District/South Hingham Development Overlay District. The Applicant
presented that the 96 off-street parking spaces currently exist on
site, and further presented that requisite parking presently exists
under the By-Law for the proposed mix of uses at the Property.
The Property was not previously located in the South Hingham
Development Overlay District when the Variance Decision was issued in
1997, but it is currently located within the District. The existing
Property and proposed improvements comply with the requirements of the
District, as the Floor Area Ratio of the building with the proposed
addition will be only 0.01 (7,070 sq. ft. / 1,237,540 sq. ft.) (up to
0.15 FAR allowed as of right), and the building height is less than 48'.
In addition, the existing parking area is approximately 16± ft. to 26±
ft. above the grade of Whiting Street, and no at-grade parking areas
are visible at normal eye level from Whiting Street or from any point
abutting a residential district that is less than 500 feet away.
Existing evergreen trees, shrubs and wetlands are located between
Whiting Street and the parking areas.
Finally, CHA Consulting prepared a Traffic Assessment, which
concludes that Whiting Street and the existing driveway at Whiting
Street has more than adequate capacity and sight distances to support
the proposed uses.
Board members discussed the proposed modification, including the
expected hours of operation. The Applicant indicated that the expected
hours of operation would be between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Members
discussed possible mitigation for potential noise impacts from use of
the outdoor patio.
FINDINGS and DECISION:
Following discussion, the Board determined that the proposed
modifications to the Variance Decision, as reflected in the Plans and
submissions, are consistent with the findings of facts made by the Board
under the 1997 Variance Decision. Conditions related to topography,
which affect the subject Property, but not the zoning district more
generally, have not changed and the hardship that supported the original
Variance remains. Moreover, the Board found that the proposed
reallocation of uses is consistent with the Zoning By-Law and M.G.L. c.
For the reasons set forth hereinabove, the Board voted unanimously to
GRANT the requested modification to the uses and related plan details
approved by Use Variance on November 19, 1997, subject to the following
1. All work shall be completed in compliance with the approved plans and representations made during the hearing.
2. Within the outdoor patio area, new orders for food and/or liquor
service shall not be taken after 9:00 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday or
after 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Patrons shall vacate the
patio by 10:00 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and by 11:00 p.m. on
Friday and Saturday. After an initial period of operation not less than
one season, the Board of Appeals may entertain a request to modify the
3. Any music originating from the outside patio shall be kept at a low level appropriate as background for pleasurable dining.
4. The Applicant shall submit a request to the Board, following one
year of operation for the restaurant use, to review the project impacts
at a public hearing.
5. All other relief, terms and conditions of the Use Variance granted
by the Board on November 19, 1997 shall remain in full force and effect
unless specifically modified by this Decision.
This Decision shall not become effective until (i) the Town Clerk as
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 Town of Hingham
Board of Appeals,
W. Tod McGrath, Chairman