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Applicant and              Bryce Blair

Property Owner:         153 Otis Street

                                    Hingham, MA  02043


Premises:                    153 Otis Street

                                    Hingham, MA  02043


Deed Reference:         Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 39373, Page 51



This matter came before the Zoning Board of Appeals on the application of Bryce Blair (the “Applicant”) for a Special Permit A1 Modification under §III-C, 4 of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to relocate and extend a previously approved footbridge/pier with gangway and float in the Flood Plain and Watershed Protection District at 153 Otis Street (the “Property”), in Residence District A.


A public hearing was duly noticed and held on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at the Town Hall before a panel consisting of regular members Joseph W. Freeman, Chairman and W. Tod McGrath and alternate member Robyn Maguire.  The Applicant was represented by Adam Brodsky, Esq., Drohan Tocchio & Morgan, P.C., Hingham, MA and John Cavanaro, P.E., Cavanaro Consulting, Inc., Norwell, MA.



The Applicant is the owner of the Property located at 153 Otis Street, a 25,232± SF waterfront parcel on Hingham Harbor.  The Property has over 109’ of ocean frontage.  On July 10, 2012, the Applicant obtained a Special Permit pursuant to Section III-C of the Zoning By-Law from the Board of Appeals to construct a pier, gangway and float system totaling 82' in length for recreational boating use. The Hingham Conservation Commission also issued an Order of Conditions for the Project under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the Hingham Wetlands Protection Bylaw on May 23, 2012.


The Applicant then applied to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection ("MADEP") for a Waterways license. MADEP required that the structure be placed at least 25' from abutting property lines. As a result, the Applicant relocated the proposed pier more centrally on the Property. On November 16, 2012, MADEP issued a Waterways license (No. 13382) for the Project.


The Project remains unconstructed since there are large rocks in the central portion of the tidal flats in close proximity to the permitted location, which will pose a navigation and safety problem to boaters trying to access the float on the end of the permitted proposed pier.


The Applicant now proposes to relocate the pier on the Property and extend it so that the float clears the rocks in order to address the navigation issues. Specifically, he proposes to add 34' to the pier such that the overall structure will be 116' in length instead of the approved 82'. The gangway and dock will remain the same size as initially approved. The Project will also still be located landward of existing moorings.  


The Conservation Commission issued a new Order of Conditions for the revised dock on August 28, 2013.



The Board, Applicant and the Applicant’s representatives discussed the plan changes. Mr. Cavanaro explained how he had demarcated the Hingham Water Ski Area. The revised system will be landward of an existing mooring field and thus will not interfere with existing recreational use of the watersheet for boating and waterskiing.


A Board member asked about the 6'x12' float in the middle of the gangway. Mr. Cavanaro noted that the Board had approved this float in its original permit. The Board is mindful of the structure's visual impact and does not want items to collect there. The Applicant promised that it would only serve as a resting point for those carrying bags and other equipment to the end of the float. The area will not be used for storage.



After consideration of the Applicant’s proposal, together with the plans and diagrams entitled, "Site Plan, 153 Otis Street, Hingham MA," prepared by Cavanaro Consulting, 687 Main Street, Norwell, MA, and dated July 29, 2013, the Board of Appeals finds that the revised and extended pier structure is appropriate for the recreational boating uses proposed by the Applicant, and will not have any significant adverse consequences to the zoning district. Further, the proposed Project conforms to the requirements of Section III-C and Section I-F of the Zoning By-Law as follows:

  1. The use of the site is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Zoning By-Law. Outdoor recreation, including boating, is a permitted use in the Flood Plain and Watershed Protection District. Boat landings in single residence districts are permitted by Special Permit pursuant to Section III-C, 4.a.
  2. The proposed use complies with the purposes and standards of the Zoning By-Law. The project will not result in any flood hazard and has been designed to comply with best available measures, including MADEP's Guide to Permitting Small, Pile-Supported Docks and Piers (November 2003), and other design requirements of the Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act, M.G.L. c. 91. The project also complies with the performance standards of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, M.G.L. c. 131, §40, and the Hingham Wetlands Protection By-Law, which include construction standards.
  3. The site is an appropriate location for such use and is compatible with the characteristics of the surrounding area. The property has ocean frontage and is an appropriate location for recreational boating. It is similar in design and size to other pier projects approved in the surrounding area.
  4. The use as developed and operated will create positive impacts and potential adverse impacts will be mitigated. The project will promote recreational boating. It has been designed to have no adverse impacts in that it will not interfere with recreational use of the watersheet and the Hingham Waterski Area.
  5. There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians. The project will also not result in any interference with existing recreational use of the watersheet.
  6. The project meets accepted design standards and criteria for functional design.



Based upon the findings of the Board as set forth above, the Board of Appeals voted unanimously to GRANT the Applicant a Special Permit A1 Modification under Section III-C, 4 of the Zoning By-Law to construct a 116’ dock/pier structure in the Flood Plain and Watershed Protection District, subject to the following conditions:


  1. All conditions of the prior decision and existing Special Permit, dated July 10, 2012, will remain in effect.
  2. The design of the dock shall be as depicted in the plans submitted by the Applicant and representations made at 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

                                                                                    October 7, 2013