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Board of Appeals



Owner/Applicant: Katharine Derum

Property: 41 Kimball Beach Road
Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 44809, Page 94

Plan Reference: Plan entitled, "Garage Foundation As-Built Plan, 41 Kimball Beach Road in Hingham, MA," prepared by Cavanaro Consulting, 687 Main Street Norwell, MA, dated July 28, 2015 and revised September 3, 2015


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Katharine Derum (the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-A of the Hingham Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) to maintain an A/C unit within the required side yard setback at 41 Kimball Beach Road in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on November 18, 2015, at the Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular members Joseph M. Fisher, Chairman, Joseph W. Freeman, and W. Tod McGrath. The Applicant, Katharine Derum, appeared to present the request. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested Variance from the side yard setback requirement under § IV-A of the By-Law, subject to the conditions listed herein.

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


The subject property contains 8,032 +/- SF of land located on the northeast side of Kimball Beach Road, and is located within the Residence A Zoning District. The lot is level with Kimball Beach Road at the front yard, and slopes approximately 6' - 7' downward to the rear of the property. The lot is narrow in width, with 50' of frontage.

The premises was previously improved by a single-family dwelling constructed in 1926, which as recently reconstructed under the so-called Hatfield Amendment at § III-I, 2. of the By-Law. The Applicant also attained relief from this Board to construct a front porch and associated stairs within the required side setback and reconstruct a nonconforming detached garage within both the front and side yard setback in April 2015.

In conjunction with the reconstruction project, the Applicant placed a new HVAC unit adjacent to a chimney to the immediate west of the dwelling and within the side yard setback. While the chimney is an allowed projection under § IV-C, 7. of the By-Law, the mechanical equipment is not. The Applicant seeks relief to maintain this equipment in its present location.

The application of 15' side setbacks effectively reduces the width of the traditional building envelope to a narrow 20-foot strip. Absent relief, the only physically available location for the mechanical equipment would be behind both the dwelling and rear deck. The Applicant testified during the hearing that this location (14'-17' from the outside wall of the house) would make the unit less efficient and therefore more costly to operate. It may also result in additional auditory impacts on surrounding residential properties.

The Applicant presented a photograph of the unit to the Board during the hearing, which captures a similarly located HVAC unit on the adjoining property. Abutters to the property also provided comments to the Board in support of the application.


Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, the Board made the following findings:

1. There are circumstances relating to soil conditions, shape or topography especially affecting the land but not affecting generally the zoning district.
The property is affected by a confluence of circumstances, including a narrow shape resulting in a 20'-wide “as-of right” building envelope, a significant downward slope of approximately 6-7' from the midpoint to the rear of the property, and both the property layout as dictated by the original 1926 home and garage, as well as the siting of the newly constructed residence. This combination of circumstances does not otherwise affect the neighborhood or zoning district more generally.

2. A literal enforcement of the By-Laws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. The Applicant would incur hardship if the setback requirement is literally enforced. It would be costly to relocate the unit to the rear of the existing back deck. The unit would be less efficient in this location and noisier to operate if placed further from the condenser units.

3. A Variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The A/C unit is located adjacent to a chimney within the side yard setback, which a common condition in the neighborhood. Neighbors on both sides of the property support the project.

4. A Variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the By-Law. The applicant represented that the by-right location in the back yard may generate more noise. Relief may support the intent of the By-Law in reducing impacts on the surrounding neighborhood.


Upon a motion made by W. Tod McGrath and seconded by Joseph W. Freeman, the Board voted unanimously to grant a Variance from the side yard setback requirement under § IV-A of the By-Law to maintain an A/C unit within the required side yard setback at 41 Kimball Beach Road in Residence District A, subject to the following condition:

  1. The Applicant shall present a plan for effective screening of the A/C unit to the Zoning Administrator within 30 days of the filing of this Decision in the Office of the Town Clerk. Approved landscaping materials shall be installed by June 30, 2016.

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 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 14, 2015