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Applicant/Owner: Margaret & Matthew Lind

Premises: 22 Lincoln Street

      Hingham, MA 02043 

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 34472, Page 104

Plan Reference: Plan entitled, "Site Plan, Lind Residence, 22 Lincoln Street, Hingham, MA," prepared by Sean Papich, Landscape Architect, 222 North Street, Hingham, MA, dated November 13, 2015


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Margaret and Matthew Lind (collectively the "Applicant") for a Special Permit A2 under § V-G and a Variance from the requirements of § V-G, 4.x of the Zoning By-Law (the "By-Law") and such other relief as necessary to operate a Bed & Breakfast Establishment at 22 Lincoln Street in Residence District A. In conjunction with the proposed use, the Applicant simultaneously filed applications with the Planning Board for Site Plan Review under § I-G and § I-I and a Special Permit A3 Parking Determination under § V-A of the By-Law. 

The Board of Appeals and the Planning Board jointly heard these applications at a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on June 29, 2015. During this initial hearing, the Planning Board voted to grant Site Plan Approval. The Special Permit and Variance proceedings were continued at the Applicant's request in order to provide additional information related to parking to each Board. The Planning Board voted on November 16, 2015 to grant a Special Permit A3/Parking Determination allowing a reduced aisle width for the proposed guest parking area. During the final hearing before the Board of Appeals on November 18, 2015, members voted unanimously to grant a request to withdraw the Variance application without prejudice and issue a Special Permit A2 for the proposed Bed & Breakfast Establishment. 

The Board of Appeals panel consisted of its regular members Joseph M. Fisher, Chairman, Joseph W. Freeman, and W. Tod McGrath. The Applicant was represented by Margaret Lind during all substantive hearings. 

Throughout the public hearing and its deliberations the Board has been mindful of the statements of the Applicant, their representative, and comments of the general public, all as made or received at the public hearing.


The subject property consists of approximately 9,899 SF improved by a single-family dwelling (ca. 1850) with an attached two-car garage. According to Assessor Records, the structure includes 10 rooms, 5 bedrooms, and 3 bathrooms. The Applicant plans to operate a two-room Bed & Breakfast within the existing residence. No exterior changes to the structure are proposed in connection with the proposed use. 

During the hearings on this matter, the Board reviewed the minimum requirements specified in § V-G, 4. for Bed & Breakfast Establishments, confirming that the proposed project conforms with items i.-x.iii. Certain requirements generated more discussion than others. For instance, the By-Law requires that Bed & Breakfasts be located in owner-occupied, single family dwellings containing a minimum of four bedrooms as of March 10, 1941. While the subject property presently contains five bedrooms, there is some question about the status of two bedrooms located on the third floor as of 1941.  The Applicant believes that these rooms pre-date adoption of the By-Law, though there is an undated inspection report in the building department files that suggests the property included just three bedrooms and an unfinished third floor at some point. Members agreed that the date-based criterion is immaterial given its inconsistency with state uniformity standards, particularly since the property in its current configuration conforms. 

Members requested additional information from the Applicant to verify compliance with a related requirement contained in § V-G, 4.iii. This paragraph limits the floor area of the Bed & Breakfast portion of the residence to not more than 45% of the structure's total habitable space. The Applicant confirmed for the Board that dedicated guest space totals 436 SF or 13.5% of the property's habitable space, which is well below the maximum threshold specified in the By-Law. 

Finally, the Board spent considerable time reviewing the Bed & Breakfast parking requirements. 
Section V-G, 4.x requires two parking spaces for the owner-occupants of a Bed & Breakfast, in addition to one space for each room available for rent. This Applicant would therefore be eligible for a Special Permit A2 under § V-G if four parking spaces exist or could be constructed on the premises. The regulations also prohibit parking for Bed & Breakfast Establishments within building setbacks, and specifically front yard setbacks as defined in § VI. While § VI includes drawings to illustrate the positions of front, side and rear yards, it does not define setbacks or specify the linear measurement. These standards are instead included in § IV-A. The property is located in Residence District A, which requires 25' front yard setbacks and 15' side and rear yard setbacks. However, the so-called Hatfield Amendment under § III-I, 2. would allow this particular property to be extended within 19'-20' of the front property line, which is where the existing attached two-car garage is located. There is also a portion of a sizeable driveway presently located within the required front and side yard setbacks. 

During the initial hearing, Members agreed that use of the existing attached garage for parking would be permitted by right under the Hatfield Amendment. Members recalled that the intent of the bylaw was to prohibit new structures or surface parking within setbacks, not continued use of existing structures.  Members also determined that driveways and circulation areas would not be prohibited within setbacks. However, the Board was not inclined to consider dimensional relief to locate new parking spaces within either the front or side yard setback, in particular since there appeared to be sufficient room to locate the required two additional spaces in a conforming location on the lot. 

The Applicant subsequently submitted a revised plan, which depicts two proposed guest parking spaces that would conform to the setback requirements specified in § V-G; however, the location would not comply with the aisle width requirements under § V-A. The Table of Parking Dimensions governs the design of parking areas for all uses other than single-family dwellings. Standard parking spaces must be 9' wide x 18' long with an overhang. In the case of 90-degree parking, the area must also include a 24' aisle width.  The revised plan calls out an 18' x 18' parking area for two vehicles with a 19.2' aisle. Through a revised Special Permit A3/Parking Determination request, the Planning Board granted a 4.8' waiver from the aisle width requirement on November 16, 2015 to permit the proposed arrangement. The Applicant then submitted, and the Board granted, a request to withdraw the application for a Variance from § V-G, 4.x. without prejudice as the parking setback relief was no longer necessary. 

Finally, the proposed parking area and fencing will require approval by the Historic Districts Commission. The Applicant indicated her intent to file for a Certificate of Appropriateness for the proposed hardscape following the conclusion of all zoning proceedings. 


Based on the submitted materials and representations made during the public hearings on this matter, the Board then made the following findings:

a. The proposed use will be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Zoning By-Law, for the following reasons: The use as proposed is consistent with the general purpose of the Zoning By-Law as no adverse impact is expected to the health, safety, or welfare of the prospective guests, neighbors, or the Town.  

b. The proposed use complies with the purposes and standards of the relevant specific sections of this By-Law, for the following reasons:

The proposed plan supports the purposes specified in § V-G in that it will utilize an older, larger residence that is located in a residential district and in close proximity to the downtown business district. The use will also be operated in a manner compatible with the surrounding residential neighborhood. The Board conducted a detailed review of the minimum requirements for Bed & Breakfast Establishments specified in § V-G, 4. i.-x.iii, confirming that the proposed project complies with the relevant specific sections of the By-Law.

c. The specific site is an appropriate location for such use, structure, or condition, compatible with the characteristics of the surrounding area, for the following reasons:  The proposed Bed & Breakfast will occupy existing space in an historic structure, which is located within walking distance of the downtown business district. The Board finds this to be an appropriate location.

d. The use as developed and operated will create positive impacts or potential adverse impacts will be mitigated, for the following reasons:  The proposed use is not expected to generate more traffic or noise than the existing single-family dwelling. The required guest parking area will be screen from view from abutting properties in accordance with § V-G, 4.x.

e. There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians, for the following reasons: The proposed guest parking area will comply with the setback and screening requirements specified in § V-G, and the resulting aisle width received relief from the Planning Board. No nuisance or hazard to vehicles or pedestrians will be generated by the proposed Bed & Breakfast.

f. Adequate and appropriate facilities exist or will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use, for the following reasons: Adequate facilities exists to support the proposed use as it will be conducted in existing space such that there will be no additional demand on water or sewer services.

g. The proposed Project meets accepted design standards and criteria for the functional design of facilities, structures, stormwater management, and site construction, for the following reasons:
The proposed project meets accepted design standards. 


Upon a motion made by W. Tod McGrath and seconded by Joseph W. Freeman, the Board of Appeals voted unanimously to GRANT the Special Permit A2 to operate a Bed & Breakfast Establishment at 22 Lincoln Street in Residence District A, subject to the following conditions:

1. The Applicant shall construct the Project in a manner consistent with the approved plans and the representations made at the hearings before the Board. Any significant modification to the plan resulting from the required application processes before the Historic Districts Commission shall require further review by this Board.

2. The proposed fence shall be at least 5' in height. The final fencing plan approved by the Historic Districts Commission shall be provided to the Zoning Administrator within 30-days of issuance of the Certificate of Appropriateness to determine whether the fence provides effective screening of the guest parking area from adjoining residential properties. 
3. Exterior lights, with the exception of the existing street light, shall be operated by motion sensors after 10:00pm.

4. In accordance with the requirements specified in § V-G, 4. the applicant shall:

a. annually file an affidavit with the Building Commissioner and Town Clerk in the month of January stating that the property continues to be the principal residence of the owner and that the owner is in the residence at all times that the Bed & Breakfast is being operated;
b. prohibit more than six guests from lodging at the establishment at any one time;
c. limit guests to a term of not more than 14 days;
d. not install signage for the Bed & Breakfast greater than 1.5' x 1.5' in size; and
e. obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the Building Commissioner prior to the renting of any rooms to guests.

 Such Certificate shall be renewable annually.

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
December 9, 2015