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Applicant:                              Catherine C. and Robert H. McMenimon

                                                186 Otis Street, Hingham, MA 02043


Property Owner:                   Catherine C. and Robert H. McMenimon


Premises:                                0 Otis Street, Hingham, MA 02043


Title Reference:                     Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 38557 Page 299




This matter came before the Board of Appeals for the consideration of the request by Catherine C. and Robert H. McMenimon (petitioners) for a Special Permit A1 under Section III-C, 4 a of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to construct a pile supported footbridge/pier with gangway and float in the Flood Plain and Watershed Protection District at property known as 0 Otis Street, Residence District A.  The premises are located directly across Otis Street from the residence at 186 Otis Street.


The Board of Appeals heard the application at a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on June 19, 2013, continued to July 17, 2013 at the Town Hall before a panel consisting of regular members Joseph W. Freeman, Chairman, and associate members Alan Kearney and Robyn S. Maguire. The Applicant was represented by Gregory Robbins of Vine Associates.  Attorney Bruce Issadore represented the applicant as well at the continuation of the public hearing on July 17, 2013.



The application materials submitted on May 7, 2013 included the following:

  • Plans prepared by Vine Associates, A Division of GZA Environmental,Inc., dated May 2013 stamped by Gregory G. Robbins, RPE (2 pages, Drawing 1 Site Plan, Drawing 2 Proposed Pier and Walkway Plan, Profile and Section)
  • Order of Conditions issued by the Hingham Conservation Commission dated 3/20/13 (13 pages, including letter from Conservation Officer)
  • Copy of the Deed dated May 25, 2010 from Suzanne Dreyer Genest to Catherine C. McMenimon and Robert H. McMenimon (3 pages)
  • The certified list of abutters (6 pages including cover)
  • Check for $300.00 to cover the filing fee


On July 3 and July 11, 2013 we received supplemental information as requested by the Board at the June 19, 2013 meeting. 


Gregory Robbins of Vine Associates spoke to his familiarity with Hingham and the regulations.  He stated the request was for a Special Permit A1 under the Flood Plain and Watershed Protection district for a use that is permitted subject to conditions in this zone.   He stated that on March 20, 2013 the Conservation Commission issued an Order of Conditions for the proposal and that a copy was included in the application packet.  He stated that the proposed use is a footbridge and boat landing for outdoor recreation including boating and fishing.  Mr. Robbins then described the project in detail referencing the application materials for the Board.  Testimony was heard from members of the public both in favor of and opposed to the project as presented.  The hearing was continued to July 17, 2013 to allow the property owners to put stakes in the harbor bottom where the end of the dock and the float would be, and that the members of the Board would then go observe the location of the stakes at low tide.   The applicant was also asked to provide supplemental information for the record prior to July 17, 2013 hearing, which the applicant did do.


At the July 17, 2013 meeting Mr. Robbins stated that he had no new information to present.  All Board members stated that they had visited the site to observe the stakes.  The Chair opened the floor for public comment.  The harbormaster spoke with regard to his scope of review and stated a concern for placement of the pile supported footbridge/pier with gangway and float near one of two water ski areas in town and stated that it was a potential hazard.  Members of the public spoke both for and against the proposal as submitted, with particular focus on the issue of safe navigation in the waters adjacent to the proposed structure.  The Board also acknowledged a letter received from abutter John Riley on July 17, 2013. 




After consideration of the Applicant’s proposal, together with the plans, diagrams and photos submitted by the applicant and agent, and the considerable public and abutter testimony, the Board discussed the findings required for the issuance of a Special Permit A1as listed in Section I-F, 2 of the Zoning By-Law.


The Board found that the proposed pile supported footbridge/pier with gangway and float structure is in harmony with the intent and specific sections of the By-Law because it is an accessory structure to an oceanfront home; the proposed use is a permitted use in this setting; and other adjacent structures have docks. 


The Board found that the proposed use complies with the purposes and standards of the relevant specific sections of the By-Law, in particular the provisions of Section I-F and the relevant sections of the Flood Plain and Watershed Protection District provisions at Section III.C.


The Board also found the site is an appropriate location for the proposed use because it is accessory to the residential use in the residential area.  The Board found the proposal consistent with the Town’s past practices and standards, and stated that although it is slightly longer and taller than other piers (due to design constraints imposed by compliance with environmental regulations) but is compatible with other similar piers on the harbor and fronting on Hingham Bay. 


The Board found that this pile supported footbridge/pier with gangway and float could be constructed so that potential adverse impacts would be mitigated.  The Board found that proposed design would not constitute a serious hazard to water skiers and other boats due to its proximity to the shoreline and the adjacent floating pier. 


The Board found the structure would not create a nuisance to boats and other recreational use of the adjacent waters, again primarily due to its length and proximity to shore.  Tidal conditions at the site limit unconstrained navigation immediately adjacent to the pier to no more than 4 to 6 hours per tidal cycle for all but the shallowest draft vessels.


The Board determined that the finding at section I-F, 2.a is not applicable to this application.


The Board also found that that the design of the structure is in accordance with accepted professional engineering standards, and that the control of storm water was not applicable for this structure. 


The Board also found that the proposed structure fits within the exception for “duck walks and boat landings” (emphasis added) listed at Section III-C, 4.a of the Zoning By-Law, relative to the prohibition on construction of a new structure in the Flood Plain and Watershed Protection District as listed in Section III-C, 2.a. 



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 under Section III-C, 4 of the Zoning By-Law to construct a pile supported dock with seasonal gangway and float in the Flood Plain and Watershed Protection District at property known as 0 Otis Street, Residence District A, subject to the following conditions:


  1. The design of the dock shall be as depicted in the plans submitted by the Applicant dated March 29, 2013 and representations made at the public hearing;
  2. The anchor piles and the float shall each bear the identification of the owner or address of the property, such that if they break loose or float away the owner can be identified;
  3. No davits shall be placed on the dock or float;
  4. No lights shall be installed on the pier, gangway or float;
  5. No ornamentation (flags, lights, windsocks, etc.) shall be erected or placed on the dock;
  6. No rafting of motorized vessels shall be permitted;
  7. The rail shall be continuous and rail posts shall not exceed forty two inches (42”) in height and spacing between balusters shall be 3 times the width of each baluster but shall not exceed building code requirements;
  8. No vessels shall be tied or moored at the end of the float for more than 1/2 hour to facilitate loading or unloading, otherwise boats shall be tied to the side of the float; and,  
  9. The dock shall be maintained in good condition.


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 such an appeal has been filed within such time, 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

                                                                                    July 23, 2013