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Applicant and            Brian and Elizabeth Koyce
Property Owner:        70 Whitcomb Avenue
                Hingham, MA  02043

Premises:            70 Whitcomb Avenue
                Hingham, MA  02043

Title Reference:        Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Land Court Cert. #102192,                     Doc. #622999

This matter came before the Zoning Board of Appeals on the application of Brian and Elizabeth Koyce (the “Applicants”) for a front yard setback Variance from §IV-A of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to replace an existing breezeway and garage with a new mudroom, family room and single-car garage addition resulting in a front yard setback of approximately 24' from Howland Lane where 35' is required at 70 Whitcomb Avenue in Residence District B. 

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on November 20, 2013, and continued to December 5, 2013, at Hingham Town Hall before a panel consisting of regular members Joseph W. Freeman, Chairman, Joseph M. Fisher and W. Tod McGrath. The Applicants appeared to present the application.
The Premises is a corner lot bounded by Whitcomb Avenue and Howland Lane and consisting of approximately 13,841 SF. The owners designed the proposed addition using a 2007 survey done in connection with a septic system installation. Before beginning the work, their contractor completed a pre-survey showing the house located approximately 20' closer to Howland Lane than shown on the 2007 plan. The application suggests that this is the only feasible location on the property for the proposed mudroom/garage addition as it utilizes an existing driveway and door into the home.

With the application the Applicants submitted a "Plot Plan," prepared by C&G Survey Company, 37 Jackson Road, Scituate, MA, stamped by Michael P. Clancy, PLS, and dated August 13, 2013. The Board also received architectural plans entitled, "70 Whitcomb Ave Hingham, MA - Addition/Renovation," prepared by OCO Architecture:Design, PO Box 709, Hingham, MA, stamped by Paulette S. O'Connell, RA, dated March 20, 2013, drawings A000-002, D101, A101, A201, A202, and A301-303. The applicant also provided copies of the septic design plan, prepared by Philip Spath, PE, which shows erroneous setback distances Howland Lane, for background information.

The Applicant presented the proposed addition to the Board, explaining that the design had been based on a site plan prepared for installation of a new septic system. Their contractor pulled a building permit for the addition, but discovered that it would require relief from front yard setback requirements after conducting an pre-construction survey. The new survey revealed that the dwelling was closer to Howland Lane than the earlier plan demarcated.

The Applicant said that the location of the addition was chosen to take advantage of the existing home's layout. The design utilizes an existing entryway to the home and the existing driveway.
The rear of the property is also encumbered by an abandoned cesspool and the newer septic system , which prohibits relocation of the addition to that part of the property.
The Board questioned the discrepancies between the 2007 and 2013 surveys. Since the application included a stamped copy of the 2007 survey and an unstamped copy of the corrected 2013 survey, the Board requested additional information from the Applicant. The Applicant agreed to a continuance to December 5 so that he could provide the Board with a stamped copy of the 2013 site plan, which would include the revised driveway layout and the front yard setback line from Howland Lane. The Board received the requested information on December 5, 2013.

The Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested front yard setback Variance to construct an addition that would result in a nonconforming setback of 24' from Howland Lane where 35' is required.  In granting the requested relief, the Board found that:

1.    Circumstances relating to the property's soil conditions, namely the septic system and an abandoned cesspool that encumber the backyard, affect the subject property and not generally the zoning district;
2.    A literal enforcement of the Zoning By-Law would involve substantial hardship, requiring the owners to redraw plans that had been based on an incorrect survey or relocate their septic system;
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 Variance is granted subject the following condition:

1.    The addition shall be constructed in accordance with the plans submitted with the application, including the "Plot Plan," prepared by C&G Survey Company, dated August 13, 2013 and architectural plans entitled, "70 Whitcomb Ave Hingham, MA - Addition/Renovation," prepared by OCO Architecture:Design, dated March 20, 2013, and the representations made during the public hearing.

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
                            December 11, 2013