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TOWN OF HINGHAM
BOARD OF APPEALS
Applicant: South Shore Bank
1530 Main Street
South Weymouth, MA 02190
Premises: 99 South Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 41524, Page 184, and
Plymouth County Land Court Registry Certificate of Title 110616, Book 553, Page 16
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS:
This matter came before the Zoning Board of Appeals on the Application of South Shore Bank, and its affiliate, Cambridge Mortgage Group, for a Special Permit A2 under § III-G. 4. b of the Zoning By-Law, to include Site Plan Review and such other relief as necessary, in order to use a 4,000 square foot section of the existing structure at 99 South Street as the location for a Banking Center for South Shore Bank and its affiliate, Cambridge Mortgage Group, in the Business A Zoning District and within the Downtown Overlay District.
The Board of Appeals and Planning Board heard the application at a duly advertised and noticed joint public hearing on May 15, 2013 at the Town Hall before a panel consisting of regular members Joseph Fisher, Chairman, W. Tod McGrath, and Joseph Freeman.
Planning Board members present were Judy Sneath, Chairman; William Ramsey, Clerk; Sarah Corey; and Gary Tondorf-Dick. The Applicant was represented by Attorney Stephen J. McLaughlin.
At the conclusion of the May 15th public hearing session the Planning Board continued the Site Plan Review portion of the public hearing to Monday, May 20, 2013, and the Zoning Board continued its portion of the public hearing with regard to the issuance of a Special Permit A2, to Wednesday, May 22, 2013. The public hearing and deliberations were conducted by a panel consisting of regular members Joseph Fisher, Chairman, W. Tod McGrath, and Joseph Freeman.
Attorney McLaughlin made the following representations to the Board on behalf of the Applicant in support of this Application:
The Zoning Board of Appeals received written letters of support from several Downtown merchants. The Board heard favorable remarks from representatives of a Downtown restaurant and Downtown insurance agency, both of whom confirmed that Cambridge Mortgage Group has a history of referring its customers to their establishments and businesses, and that they are hoping for even more referrals with the change in location of the Bank’s proposed facility and expanded services within the Downtown Overlay District. The Zoning Board of Appeals also noted that it has received no comments or letters in opposition to the Bank’s proposal from any of the Downtown merchants.
The Applicant submitted, along with its Application, the following:
The joint public hearing included an in-depth review and discussion by members of the Zoning Board of Appeals and of the Planning Board concerning the history of the Downtown Hingham Overlay District By-Law as set forth in Section III-G of the Zoning By-Law, as well as the recent zoning amendment requiring that banks and financial institutions seeking to be located on the first floor of a building within the Overlay District must first demonstrate that the proposed use is consistent with the purposes and objectives of the Overlay District By-Law and obtain a Special Permit A2 (§ III-G. of the Zoning By-Law).
FINDINGS AND DECISION:
Based on the information and representation submitted and received at the hearing, and on other information made available to the Board as part of the public record, the Board made the following findings:
a. The Applicant’s proposed use, as presented, is designed to encourage regular interaction with the general public on a walk-in basis;
b. The Applicant’s proposal is likely to encourage additional visitors to the Downtown area for shopping and dining; this is additionally supported by the Applicant’s regular practice of actively trying to promote adjacent businesses on a referral basis, with the manager of a nearby restaurant explaining to the Board that the Applicant’s anticipated presence is already a benefit to the manager’s establishment;
c. The Applicant’s proposal will not adversely impact parking availability – it maintains the status quo in the area; and,
e. Although not part of this Application, improvements to the building façade are underway and are expected to be an improvement to the area.
The Board discussed the exhibit that was submitted by the Applicant to help explain how this proposed use differs from a traditional banking use. Board members stated that they relied heavily on the exhibit and they will hold the Applicant to following through on the representations made before the Board. A copy of said exhibit is attached hereto as Addendum A. Mr. Fisher stated that there was substantial testimony that this proposed use will meet the criteria of Section III-G (2) because the Applicant’s proposal differs significantly from a standard bank business model. Mr. Freeman agreed and stated that this proposal is highly likely to draw new visitors to the Downtown, and as such, meets the intent of the By-Law. Mr. Fisher reiterated that the proposed use needs to be “more” than just a Bank to meet the intent of the By-Law.
The Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously to GRANT the Special Permit A-2 to use a 4,000 square foot portion of the existing building as a location for a Banking Center for South Shore Bank and its subsidiary, Cambridge Mortgage Group, consistent with the representation made by the Applicant at this hearing, subject to any conditions imposed as part of the Planning Board Site Plan Review process, and subject to the following Conditions:
1. The Applicant shall perform at a minimum the activities as presented, including the activities as described in the exhibit which is attached hereto as Addendum A;
2. The Applicant will offer on-site bank-related training on demand for customers;
3. This permit shall be subject to review and possible modification if the Applicant’s business activities deviate from what was represented to the Board;
4. The Applicant shall report annually, in January, to the Building Commissioner certifying that the activities conducted during the prior calendar year at the 99 South Street ‘Banking Center’ facility were consistent with the terms of the Permit, including a description of each event, occasion, and/or service offered, together with the number of attendees per event.
5. There will be no teller windows in the ‘Banking Center’.
6. This Special Permit A2 is granted to, and limited to, South Shore Bank and its affiliate mortgage entity, Cambridge Mortgage Group. This Special Permit A2 does not “run with the land” and is not transferable to any other entity. Any proposed transfer of the business will require review and approval by the Board consistent with the terms and provisions of the Zoning By-Law then in effect.
7. An updated Parking Plan, together with a current Parking Table, showing the allocation of off-street parking spaces on a tenant-by-tenant basis shall be submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board. (Planning Board Site Plan Review Condition)
8. The Premises Owner agrees to re-paint the parking lot striping in conjunction with the performance of exterior improvement on the second structure (i.e. 85 South Street) (Planning Board Site Plan Review Condition)
9. There shall be no dumpster pick-up before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM. (Planning Board Site Plan Review Condition)
This Decision 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/or Plymouth County Registry District of the Land Court, 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 Board of Appeals
Dated: July ___, 2013 Joseph M. Fisher
ADDENDUM A TO SPECIAL PERMIT A2
GRANTED TO SOUTH SHORE BANK / CAMBRIDGE MORTGAGE GROUP
The following was submitted by South Shore Bank and Cambridge Mortgage Group and is incorporated herein as an integral part of the Decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and constitutes a Review and Performance Standard to be met by the Bank as referenced in the Decision.
South Shore Bank hosts numerous customer service type events at our branches. These events draw in a great deal of foot traffic from both our customers and potential customers. We intend to extend these customer service events to the Retail Financial Center in Downtown Hingham. It is our belief that these events will generate business for the restaurants and merchants Downtown. Below is a list of events we hosted this past year and the approximate quantity of people who attended each event.
We also plan on other offerings in our Financial center in Hingham:
Our current mortgage office brings the following to Hingham Square: