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Applicant:Trustees of Hingham Bathing Beach

210 Central Street

Hingham, MA02043


Property Owner:Town of Hingham

210 Central Street

Hingham, MA02043

Subject Property:0 Otis Street

Hingham, MA 02043

Assessors Parcel ID: Map 50, Lot 50


This matter came before the Board of Appeals on the application of Trustees of Hingham Bathing Beach (the “Applicant”) for a Special Permit A2 under §III-A 4.24 with Site Plan Review to be done by the Planning Board under §I-I along with Special Permit A3 parking waiver under §V-A of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to maintain an outdoor seasonal Farmers' Market at the Bathing Beach parking area located at 0 Otis Street (the “Property”) in the Official and Open Space District.

The two boards heard the application at a duly advertised and noticed joint public hearing on Thursday, June 24, 2010 at the Hingham Town Hall at 210 Central Street. The Board of Appeals panel consisted of its regular members: Joseph M. Fisher, Chairman, and W. Tod McGrath along with associate member William C. Ramsey.Planning Board members present were Paul Healey, Susan Murphy, Judy Sneath, Gary Tondorf-Dick and Sarah Corey.Attorney Daniel Brewer represented the Applicant.Also appearing for the Applicant were Thomas M. Foley of the Trustees of Hingham Bathing Beach and Mark Cullings, Executive Director of Hingham Farmers Market.


The Property is located in the Official and Open Space District and consists of approximately 6 acres of land. For the past several years the Hingham Farmer’s Market has been operating at the Bathing Beach on a temporary, seasonal basis on Saturday’s from May to November.Prior to operation at the Bathing Beach the market operated for many years at the Town owned Station Street parking lot.The market was displaced approximately 5 years ago when construction commenced on the Greenbush commuter rail line.

In 2010 the Hingham Town Meeting amended the Zoning By-Law to include in the table of permitted uses a new use as follows: “4.24 Farmer’s Market” to be allowed in the Official and Open Space District with a Special Permit A2.

The market is set up in the southern corner of the parking lot of the Property in an area of approximately 10,600sq.ft. and consists of 40 temporary vendor stalls.Access to and egress from the market area is at a signalized intersection with Route 3A (Otis Street). Customers to the Farmer’s Market may park their cars in the adjacent Bathing Beach parking area, which was recently re-striped to accommodate 185 parking spaces, including five handicapped spaces. Vendors may park in the parking lot or on the grassy area south of the stall area. Vendors arrive by car or truck, set up stalls immediately before the market opens and are responsible for breaking down the displays and cleaning up immediately after the market closes.Saturday hours of operation have been from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.



During the course of the hearing, the Board and the Applicant’s representatives discussed the permit issued on May 5, 2010 by the Applicant to Hingham Farmers Market, Inc., a permit, which needs to be issued annually.This permit includes specific conditions imposed on the market to allow them to operate on the property, including the permit’s “Exhibit A - Additional Conditions for Permit Use.” These conditions include dates and hours of operation, market area, parking and on site traffic management, number of vendors, permitted goods and signage.

The Planning Board’s Site Plan Review included an assessment by its members who determined that because of the ongoing and temporary nature of the Farmer’s Market, not all the criteria set forth in Section I-I (6) was applicable or relevant.Board of Appeals’ members benefited from hearing the Planning Board’s comments regarding the Special Permit A3 parking determination and its final determination on the site plan, which is incorporated herein by reference.

One Hingham resident spoke about the terms under which the Beach property had been deeded to the Town; he expressed the view that the farmers market improperly introduced a commercial use onto Town property that had been intended for passive recreation.Board members took note of the common practice in many communities to use property at or near beaches for farmers markets.


Based on the information submitted and received at the hearing, and on other information available to the Board, the Board made the following findings:

  1. The operation of the farmers market use is in harmony with the general purposes and intent of the Zoning By-Law.
  2. The proposed use complies with the applicable purposes and standards of the Zoning By-Law.
  3. The Property is an appropriate location for the operation of the farmers market use.
  4. The potential adverse impacts of the operation of the farmers market use will be adequately mitigated.
  5. The operation of the proposed farmers market will not create a nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians.
  6. Adequate and appropriate facilities will be provided for the proper operation of the farmers market use.

Therefore the Board of Appeals voted unanimously to GRANT the requested Special Permit A2 to maintain an outdoor seasonal Farmers' Market at the Bathing Beach parking area subject to the following conditions:

  1. The decision of the Planning Board entitled “Site Plan Review and Special Permit A3” dated July 12, 2010is attached hereto and incorporated as Exhibit “A”.In accordance with the provisions of the Hingham Zoning By-Law the conditions imposed in the Planning Board decision are binding conditions to this decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
  2. The permit issued May 5, 2010 by the Trustees of the Hingham Bathing Beach to the Hingham Farmers Market, Inc., including “Exhibit A - Additional Conditions for Permit Use,” is attached hereto and incorporated as Exhibit “B” and said permit’s “Exhibit A Conditions” are a binding part of this decision.
  3. As the permit is an annual permit, it shall be submitted to the Board of Appeals yearly and any change(s) made to the permit be brought to the Board’s attention.If in the Boards opinion any changes to the permit are deemed to be substantial, then the Board will determine whether such changes may be considered as a minor modification to this decision or whether such changes shall require a fully noticed public hearing.

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 indexed in the grantor index under the name of the owner of record.

For the Board of Appeals,


Joseph M. Fisher

August 4, 2010