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TOWN OF HINGHAM
BOARD OF APPEALS
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant: Robert Weeks d/b/a Redeye Roasters
11 Broad Cove Road, Hingham, MA 02043
Subject Property: 3 Otis Street, Hingham, MA 02043
Property Owner: Nicholas Bonn, Principal
Bare Cove Properties, LLC
42 Jarvis Avenue, Hingham, MA 02043
Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds: Book 36276, Page 124
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS:
This matter came before the Board of Appeals on the application of Robert Weeks (petitioner, the “Applicant”) for a Special Permit A2 under §III-A, 4.9A and 4.9D*, with Site Plan Review to be done by the Planning Board under §I-G and §I-I, of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to operate a sit-down/take-out coffee bar in a portion of the building at 3 Otis Street (the “Property”), in the Waterfront Business District, to be heard along with the application by Bare Cove Marina, LLC and The Town of Hingham Board of Selectmen for a Special Permit A3 under §III-H, 5. C. to allow seasonal rental of 38 slips at the Bare Cove Marina, 3 Otis Street, based on the use of parking in the adjacent "Iron Horse" parking lot in the Hingham Harbor Overlay District.
The Board of Appeals and Planning Board heard the applications at a duly advertised and noticed joint public hearing on May 9, 2011, along with a continuation hearing held on May 19, 2011 in the Hingham Town Hall at 210 Central Street. The Board of Appeals panel consisted of its regular members: Joseph W. Freeman, Chairman, Joseph M. Fisher and W. Tod McGrath. All members of the Planning Board were present: Paul Healey, Chairman, Sarah Corey, William Ramsey, Judy Sneath and Gary Tondorf-Dick.[*] The joint sessions were continued on May 19, 2011 with Planning Board member Ramsey absent. On May 19, 2011 the Planning Board unanimously voted to approve the site plan with conditions and closed its site plan review hearing. The Board of Appeals then deliberated and voted on May 19, 2011 to approve the Special Permit A2 with conditions.
The Applicant was represented by Mary Jean Shultz of South Shore Zoning Consultants. The applications before the Boards consisted of the Boards’ application and requested findings forms for the Special Permits and site plan review, a copy of the Property deed, an authorization letter from the property owner to Mr. Weeks, a copy of the executed license for parking at the Iron Horse parking lot, site plan approved by the Town in 1984 and unstamped floor plans and building elevations for the roastery café, and the certified list of abutters. Written comments were received from the Police and Sewer departments and from the Conservation Commission and Board of Health. A revised site plan (“Proposed Parking Plan” prepared by Nantasket Survey Engineering dated 5/15/11), as well as revised floor layout for the café and building elevations plans were received in advance of the May 19, 2011 hearing session.
DISCUSSION AND FINDINGS:
The Property was the subject of a vote at the 2010 Annual Town Meeting (Article 35) that authorized the Board of Selectmen to negotiate a license or other agreement relating to parking with Bare Cove Marina on such terms as the Selectmen found appropriate. In conjunction with that vote, the Selectmen and Nicholas Bonn, principal of Bare Cove Properties and Bare Cove Marina, signed a revocable license agreement dated March 15, 2011 under which the Selectmen allow the non-exclusive use of nineteen parking spaces in the Iron Horse parking lot by marina users in return for an annual rent and other considerations. As a result of this vote and license all of the on-site parking provided at 3 Otis Street is available to support uses within the building.
The 2010 Town Meeting also adopted the Hingham Harbor Overlay District by-law under which the provision of parking on an adjacent parcel within the District is allowable by Special Permit A3 on the joint application of both property owners. The Planning Board deliberated and voted to approve the Special Permit A3 with conditions at the session on May 9, 2011.
The Property is located in the Waterfront Business District in which a sit-down/take-out restaurant is a use regulated by Special Permit A2. The Property also is located within the Hingham Harbor Overlay District, which in this instance adds no use or parking requirements to those of the underlying zoning.
The Applicant proposes to open a coffee roastery and café with a menu featuring a wide variety of coffee drinks and other beverages. Pastries and gelato will also be offered. The hours of operation are proposed to be 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily.
Discussion at the May 9, 2011 session focused primarily on the Special Permit A3 application as approval or denial of that permit would materially impact the proposed café use of the building. At this session the Applicant’s representative focused on the marina’s fulfillment of the requisite findings for the grant: the lack of service operations in the Iron Horse parking lot, and the demonstrated use of the lot by boaters with no detrimental impacts on the record. Cited were two recent studies of the area conducted for the Board of Selectmen, the 2008 Harbor Parking Study and the 2010 Harbor Planning Task Force report, as having determined that parking in the area is adequate for combined harbor uses. In its decision filed May 23, 2011, the Planning Board affirmed that the criteria for approval of the Special Permit A3 had been met.
Following the Planning Board’s vote to approve the Special Permit A3, the Boards proceeded to discussion of the Special Permit A2 for the roastery and café. The Applicant’s representative noted that the nature of the proposed operation is well suited to the site and to the Town’s goal of reinvigorating the waterfront and connecting it to downtown Hingham. The café will operate year-round and will have a more-limited delivery schedule than a full-scale restaurant and will not overtax municipal facilities with a full kitchen and grill. The 8 parking spaces on the approved site plan satisfy the parking requirements for the new uses proposed.
Planning Board members reviewed the site plan review criteria and expressed concerns with safety of on-site circulation, interactions between pedestrians and drivers, boaters’ use of the on-site parking spaces and the lack of clarity in the site plan submitted. Board members also saw provision of a handicapped parking space as very desirable, while recognizing that the regulations of the Architectural Access Board do not require it in a parking area of this size. The site plan review was continued to May 19, 2011 in order to allow time for the Applicant to prepare a clearer site plan and to address the issues raised.
Prior to the continued joint session the Boards received a Proposed Parking Plan dated 5/15/11 and revised floor layout and building elevation plans dated 5/16/11. At the May 19, 2011 hearing continuation the Applicant’s representative outlined the following changes in the original proposal, all of which are depicted on the revised plans:
The Applicant’s representative also proposed small building signs installed on the building façade at drivers’ eye height to read “Parking Reserved for Customers of Redeye Roasters” as the means to limit boaters’ use of the on-site parking spaces.
In discussion members of both Boards agreed that the 45Âº parking spaces improve the existing conditions, and the wider driveway provides more room to maneuver in a limited area. The staff parking space, however, raised concerns about visibility for both pedestrians and drivers at the entry to the Property; open space in that portion of the lot was greatly preferred. Similarly, a true 4’ walk area along the front of the building was seen as both achievable and desirable to increase safety. Members also raised concerns about another area of possible pedestrian/driver conflict along the Route 3A sidewalk. These are addressed in conditions relating to sidewalk demarcation and exit signage. Details of discussion of the site plan review criteria are included in the Planning Board’s decision approving the layout.
During the course of the hearings members of the public spoke in support and in opposition to the proposal and raised issues relating to parking and traffic safety and snow removal. Many concerns raised have been considered by the Boards and/or incorporated into their decisions.
Based on the information submitted and received at the hearing, and on other information available to the Board, the Board accepted the Applicant’s statements relating to the characteristics of this parcel and the proposed uses’ contribution to the amenities at the Inner Harbor and to fulfillment of the development plans for both the harbor area and downtown. With regard to the Special Permit A2 the Board finds the proposed roastery and café is consistent with the allowable uses within the Waterfront Business zoning district. The Applicant revised the project and the site plan with the intent to respond to concerns expressed, and we find that, in sum, the revisions improve a condition that has persisted for over twenty-five years, mitigate potential adverse impacts and provide appropriate facilities to support the proposed use.
Based on the information submitted and received at the hearing, along with the proposed conditions discussed, the Board made the following findings:
The Board of Appeals voted, unanimously, to GRANT the requested Special Permit A2 as amended to operate a sit down/take-out coffee roastery and café with 21 seats in the northwestern portion of the existing building at 3 Otis Street, subject to the following conditions:
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 of the decision so certified 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 Board of Appeals,
Joseph W. Freeman
June 16, 2011
[*] The Hingham Zoning By-Law was amended at the April 26, 2011 Town Meeting. Under Article 37, Section III-A 4.9D was deleted (including the definition for Take-Out Restaurant) and replaced with Section III-A 4.9B Fast-food/Take-out restaurant which included replacing, in its entirety, the definition for Fast Food restaurant with the new definition for “Fast-Food/Take-Out” Restaurant: “An establishment offering prepared foods and beverages on a self-serve basis or ordered at a counter, to be consumed on or off the premises.”