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Applicant and                        Alison and Scott Rabschnuk

Property Owner:                   12 Stoddard Road

                                                Hingham, MA  02043


Premises:                                12 Stoddard Road

                                                Hingham, MA  02043


Title Reference:                     Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 28598, Page 0148



This matter came before the Board of Appeals on the application of Alison and Scott Rabschnuk (the “Applicants”) for a side yard setback Variance from §IV-A of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to replace the existing one-car detached garage with a new 20' x 28' one-bay two-car detached garage with storage space above at 12 Stoddard Road (the “Property”), in Residence District A.


A public hearing on the application was held on Thursday April 14, 2011, at the Town Hall before a panel consisting of regular members Joseph W. Freeman, Chairman, W. Tod McGrath and Joseph M. Fisher. 



The Applicants’ Property, located in Residence District A, contains 13,905sq.ft., is improved with a single family dwelling originally built in 1935 and renovated/expanded upon by the previous owners by right under a building permit a number of years ago.  The Property also contains a pre-existing non-conforming one-car detached garage originally built in 1960.  The present garage structure is 281sq.ft; the structure is in a state of disrepair and needs renovating.


In Residence District A the minimum side yard setback required is 15’.  The Applicants’ proposed reconstructed garage will be larger than the existing garage with the southeastern side yard setback to be 6’8” at its closest point.  Plans also include storage space above the garage area.  According to the Applicants, they spoke to their most immediate abutter to the north and inquired about purchasing a portion of their land so that zoning relief would not be needed; however the abutter was not interested in selling a portion of their land.


The Applicants submitted a Plot Plan of Land revised March 29, 2011 prepared by Keefe Associates, 2 Columbia Road, Pembroke, MA and stamped by John S. Keefe, PLS.  The plan shows the 20’x28’ proposed garage with a setback on the northeastern side yard at 8’6” and a setback on the southeastern side yard at 6’8”.  A number of abutters wrote letters and spoke in support of the Applicants’ proposed plan.


The Zoning Board of Appeals considered the possibility of the Applicants erecting a new garage in a location that would conform to all setback requirements, but recognized that the location of the existing septic system along with the constraints of the lot size constituted a hardship that made such a location impractical. 



The Board voted unanimously to GRANT a side yard setback Variance to replace the existing one-car detached garage with a new one-bay two-car detached garage with storage space above.  In granting the requested relief, the Board found that owing to circumstances relating to the soil conditions, shape or topography which especially affect the premises, but do not affect generally the zoning district in which the premises are located, a literal enforcement of the Zoning By-Law would create a hardship to the Applicants.


The Board determined that the existing conditions on the Property, specifically the location of the existing garage and the location of the existing septic system combine to create a hardship in that there is no reasonable alternate placement for the proposed garage.  The Board also determined that although the proposed garage is larger than the currently existing garage and it will encroach further into the side yard setback than the existing garage, it will not detract from the neighborhood nor will it impose on the abutting properties.  The proposed garage is consistent with the residential use of the premises and is an improvement in appearance compared to the existing detached structure.


The Board further determined that the requested Variance might be granted without detriment to the public good and without substantially derogating from the intent or purpose of the Zoning By-Law.


The Variance is granted subject the following condition:


  1. the 20' x 28' one-bay two-car detached garage with storage space above be constructed in substantial accordance with the plans submitted with the application and the representations made at the public hearing.


This decision shall not take effect until a copy of the decision, bearing the certification of the Town Clerk that twenty (20) days have elapsed since the decision has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk and no appeal has been filed, or that if such appeal has been filed, that it has been dismissed or denied, is recorded with the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds and/or the Plymouth County Land Court Registry, and indexed in the grantor index under the name of the record owner or is recorded and noted on the owner’s certificate of title.


For the Board of Appeals,




                                                                                    Joseph M. Fisher

                                                                                    June 10, 2011