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FINDING under M.G.L. Ch. 40A § 6 and VARIANCE




Applicant/                  Richard J. Heapes

Property Owner:       18 Stoddard Road

                                    Hingham, MA  02043


Premises:                    18 Stoddard Road

                                    Hingham, MA  02043


Title Reference:          Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 5263, Page 286


Plan References:        "Plan of Land, 18 Stoddard Road," prepared by Hoyt Land Surveying, 1287 Washington Street, Weymouth, MA, dated May 16, 2014




This matter came before the Zoning Board of Appeals on the application of Richard J. Heapes for a Finding under M.G.L. Chapter 40A Section 6 and a Variance from §IV-A of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to construct a 12.3’ x 16.0’ extension to the rear of the preexisting nonconforming garage at 18 Stoddard Road. The proposed extension would be located approximately 12' from the property line where a 15' side yard setback is required in Residence District A.


A public hearing was duly noticed and held on July 7, 2014 at Hingham Town Hall before a panel consisting of Chairman W. Tod McGrath and Regular Members Joseph M. Fisher and Joseph W. Freeman. The Applicant, Richard Heapes, appeared to present the application.


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 of approximately 13,021 SF improved by a single family residence and detached garage constructed in approximately 1945. The detached garage sits approximately 11.8' from the westerly side property line. At the time of its construction, the Hingham Zoning By-Law required a minimum 5' side yard setback. 


The proposed plan calls for an addition, 12.3' x 16.0' in size, to be constructed to the rear of the preexisting nonconforming garage. The Applicant indicated that the existing accessory structure cannot accommodate modern sized vehicles. The submitted plans show that the extension will not extend quite as far into the side yard setback as the existing nonconforming structure (12.4' proposed, 11.8' existing). There are limited alternative options for garage expansion due in part to the existing septic system located in the center of the back yard and approximately 17' from the proposed addition. The proximity of the existing residence to the existing garage would also limit access to any addition to the east of the garage. Placement of a larger garage to the rear portion of the property may be possible; however, this would require construction of a significantly longer driveway, which in turn would increase the cost.             



The Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested Finding under M.G.L. Chapter 40A Section 6 and Variance from §IV-A of the Zoning By-Law to construct a 12.3’ x 16.0’ extension to the rear of the preexisting nonconforming garage at 18 Stoddard Road in Residence District AIn granting the requested Finding, the Board found that the proposed construction will not be substantially more detrimental to the neighborhood than the existing nonconforming structure. In granting the requested Variance, the Board found that:


  1. Circumstances relating to the narrow lot width, proximity of the preexisting garage to the septic system, and a bump out porch on residence affect the subject property and not generally the zoning district. These circumstances limit placement of the garage elsewhere on the Premises.
  2. A literal enforcement of the Zoning By-Law would involve substantial hardship, requiring the owner to incur significant cost by extending the current driveway to the rear of the Premises;
  3. The requested relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The addition will improve the property in a manner consistent with other homes in the neighborhood; and
  4. The relief may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purpose of the Zoning By-Law. The Board considers the requested relief to be de minimis in nature.


The Variance is granted subject the following condition:


  1. The construction shall be completed in accordance with the plans submitted with the application, and representations made during the public hearing, such that the height and width of the addition shall be no greater than the existing accessory structure.


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,



                                                                                    Joseph W. Freeman

                                                                                    August 27, 2014