View Other Items in this Archive | View All Archives | Printable Version




Applicant and Walter and Ann Ciovacco
Property Owner: 15 Howe Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Premises: 15 Howe Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 5033, Page 344

This matter came before the Board of Appeals on the application of Walter and Ann Ciovacco (the “Applicants”) for a front yard setback Variance from §IV-A of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary in order to construct a 10' x 20' covered porch on the existing dwelling at 15 Howe Street (the “Property”), in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on Thursday, November 18, 2010 with a hearing continuation held on Monday, December 13, 2010 at the Town Hall before a panel consisting of regular members Joseph W. Freeman, Chairman, W. Tod McGrath and Joseph M. Fisher. The Applicants were represented by Joseph Sanfilippo, J.S. Enterprises, Inc., Braintree, MA.

The Applicants Property contains approximately 12,500 sq.ft. and is located in Residence District A. Although the existing single-family dwelling was built in 1939 prior to the adoption of zoning and does not conform to the current minimum lot size requirements for Residence District A, it is conforming in all respects with the current setback dimensional requirements of the Zoning By-Law.

The Applicants desire to construct a covered porch on the front of their existing dwelling. The dimensions of the proposed porch are 10’ in width by 20’ in length. The front setback requirement in Residence District A is 25’ with the existing dwelling’s front setback at 25.9’ according to the surveyed plot plan presented with the application. Upon construction of the covered porch, the minimum front yard setback would be 17.4’ as the covered porch will encroach an additional 8’ into the front yard setback. The covered porch will conform to all side setback requirements.

Abutters at 16 Howe Street, directly across from the Applicants Property, spoke in favor of application, no abutters spoke against the granting of the Variance.

The Applicants stated they explored the possibility of using the so call “averaging” provision of the Zoning By-Law (Section IV-B, 9) where the front setback of the lots can be “averaged” such that the new structure (or addition) has a front setback that is roughly the equivalent of the immediately adjoining structures. Although they did not state what the “averaging” was, the Applicants stated this provision did not help them; therefore they are requesting relief in the form of a Variance to encroach 8’ into the front-yard setback.

During the course of the initial hearing, the Board of Appeals members and the Applicants explored the possibility of constructing the covered porch on the southerly portion of the dwelling, where it would not encroach into the front or side setbacks. The Board suggested the Applicants revisit their plans, and the hearing was continued.

Prior to the continued hearing, the Applicants presented an amendment to their application along with photographs of the existing Property. The photographs show the existing dwelling sited on a hill, with the lot sloping upward from front to rear. They also show a significant slope on the southerly portion of the Property (approximately 5’ in height, 10’ in length). The Applicants representative also stated that on the southerly portion of the Property there appears to be ledge, which would prevent footings to be placed without substantial cost to the Applicants.

The Board voted unanimously to GRANT the VARIANCE. 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 topography of the lot along with the location of the existing single-family dwelling limited the practical options for the Applicants to construct a covered porch. The Board also determined that although the proposed covered porch will intrude further into the front yard setback by 8’, the covered porch (i) will enhance the design of the front elevation of the dwelling, (ii) be substantially in conformance with similar homes in the immediate neighborhood, and (iii) will not impose on abutting properties. 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. That the 10' x 20' covered porch be constructed in substantial accordance with the plans presented in the application and 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 W. Freeman
January 18, 2011