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Applicant and                        Stephen G. and Joanne M. McDermott

Property Owner:                   45 Rockwood Road

                                                Hingham, MA  02043

Premises                                45 Rockwood Road

                                                Hingham, MA  02043

Title Reference:                     Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 27835, Page 0036



This matter came before the Board of Appeals on the application of Stephen G. and Joanne M. McDermott (the “Applicants”) for a front yard setback Variance from §IV-A of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to construct 25' x 16' carport with deck above on the east side of the existing dwelling at 45 Rockwood Road (the “Property”), a corner lot located in Residence District C.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on Thursday, March 10, 2011 with a continuation hearing 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.  Mr. McDermott represented himself and his wife.


The Applicant’s Property contains a pre-existing non-conforming single-family dwelling on a 21,638sq.ft. lot on the corner of Rockwood Road and Ledgewood Road.  The Applicants also own the 20,600sq.ft. lot to the rear whose official address is 4 Ledgewood Circle.  The Applicants are proposing to build a carport, with deck above, extending from the present garage off the easterly end of the existing dwelling.  The house is a corner lot, and under the provisions of the Zoning By-Law corner lots must maintain front yard setback requirements for each and every abutting street.  The required front yard setback in Residence District C is 50’. 


At the first hearing, the Applicants represented that they had started construction on the carport, without benefit of a building permit, as they weren’t aware that the carport was considered a structure as defined in the Hingham Zoning By-Law.  The Applicants also stated that they were unaware that their Property was a corner lot, requiring that it meet the front yard setback requirements for each and every abutting street.  The Building Commissioner put a stop work order on the project and required that the Applicants seek zoning relief for the proposed carport.

During the course of the initial hearing, the Board of Appeals members and the Applicant discussed the shape of the lot, the existing garage area and existing driveway to the rear of the dwelling. A number of abutters also spoke about Property; they expressed their concern with the carport structure.  Board members and the Applicant agreed to continue the hearing in order for the Board members to make a site visit to the property.

At the continuation hearing the Applicant and Board members discussed the possibility of constructing some type of covering, other than a full carport, that would provide the Applicant with the same type of shelter they were seeking but that might not require a variance.  The Applicant also discussed the possibility of constructing a garage to the rear of the property that would meet all applicable setback requirements.  However, the Applicant must obtain a surveyed plot plan to assess the need for any dimensional relief associated with garage construction.


After consideration of the Applicant’s proposal for the carport, together with the plans and diagrams submitted by the Applicant, the Board of Appeals determined that the Applicant has not met the statutory prerequisites for a variance pursuant to M.G.L. chapter 40A, section 10.  Specifically, the Applicant has not established “circumstances relating to the soil conditions, shape, or topography of such land or structures and especially affecting such land or structures but not affecting generally the zoning district in which it is located” that would justify a variance from the setback requirement of the by-law.  Further, the Applicant has not demonstrated that “a literal enforcement of the provisions of the ordinance or by-law would involve substantial hardship.”  Indeed, the Applicants were contemplating alternatives that might obviate the need for a variance from the setback requirements.  Finally, the Applicant has not shown that “desirable relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purpose” of the by-law.

Based upon the findings as set forth above, the Board of Appeals voted unanimously to DENY the Applicants’ request for a Variance from the front yard setback requirement as set forth in §IV-A of the Zoning By-Law.

Any person aggrieved by this Decision has the right to appeal in accordance with the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40A, provided that such appeal is taken before twenty (20) days have elapsed after the decision has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk.


For the Board of Appeals,


                                                                                    Joseph M. Fisher

                                                                                    May 9, 2011