View Other Items in this Archive |
View All Archives | Printable Version
TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
NOTICE OF DECISION
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant: Lisa Parsons
Unit Owner: EHP Properties, LLC
20 Newton Street
Hull, MA 02045
69 Water Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Property: 69 Water Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 45870, Page 164
Plan References: Plan entitled, "Proposed Parking for Unit 4, Water Street Condominium," prepared by Ernest H. Fagerstrom, PLS, 138 Norwell Avenue, Norwell, MA, dated May 2, 199, revised and received by the Board on October 19, 2015 and an untitled, undated Floor and Elevation Plan received by the Board on October 19, 2015.
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Lisa Parsons (the “Applicant”) for a Commercial/Residential Building Special Permit A2 under § III-G of the Zoning By-Law (the "By-Law") and such other relief as necessary to add a two-bedroom dwelling unit to an existing commercial unit at 69 Water Street (the "Property") in Business A and the Downtown Hingham Overlay District.
The Applicant simultaneously filed an application for Site Plan Approval under § I-G and § I-I of the By-Law with the Planning Board. The Planning Board held a hearing on the matter on November 16, 2015, voting to approve the plan with conditions.
The Board of Appeals heard the special permit application during a duly noticed public hearing on November 18, 2015 in Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board of Appeals panel consisted of its regular members Joseph M. Fisher, Chairman, Joseph W. Freeman, and W. Tod McGrath. The Applicant personally appeared to present the request. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the Board voted unanimously to conditionally approve the Special Permit A2 under § III-G of the By-Law.
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 meeting.
The subject property consists of approximately 0.5 acres located at the corner of Water Street and Green Street. The lot supports a multi-unit commercial condominium development and related improvements. The Applicant seeks approval to locate a residential unit appurtenant to the end unit on the northerly portion of the site directly across Green Street from the Fruit Center. The commercial space was previously occupied by Bare Cove Catering and, at the time of these hearings, was being occupied by a home furnishings retail store, White Magdalena.
As proposed, the building facades that face Water Street and that front Green Street would continue to be occupied by the retail store. The rear portion of the unit, which is elevated slightly from the front retail space due to the onsite topography, would be dedicated to the proposed residential unit. The existing space includes an attached one-car garage and single-story storage area. The proposed plan would add a second story to this portion of the building. The residential entryway, kitchen and living space would be located on the first floor and two-bedrooms would occupy the second-story addition.
The Board reviewed relevant portions of the By-Law. Section III-G, 6.b. specifies the eligibility requirements for a Commercial/Residential building in the Downtown Hingham Overlay District. Members agreed that the subject unit appears to comply with these requirements in that the building contains a permitted commercial use at street level and has sufficient off-street parking.
Additional requirements are contained in Section III-G, 6.c. The first additional requirement reads in part: "A commercial use shall be located at ground level facing the street(s) on which the parcel has frontage." The proposed appears to comply with this additional requirement in that a retail use is located at ground level on both Water Street and Green Streets. Section III-G, 6.c. continues as follows: "Dwelling units shall be located above ground level. No dwelling units shall be permitted below ground level." In the present application, the main living space for the proposed residential use would be located in the existing single-story storage area to the rear, which faces Green Street. The Board noted that any mixed-use building would have to have some level of residential area on the first floor. Residential entryways would minimally be located on the first floor. The storage area is slightly elevated and not readily available for active commercial use since it is physically separated from the front store by an attached garage. A portion of the proposed residence will be located above ground level and none below ground.
This requirement generated substantial discussion. A member of the public said he reads the bylaw as limiting residential use at ground floor level entirely. The Board ultimately determined that the bylaw requirement had to be read in its entirety. Section III-G.6.c.i states: "A commercial use shall be located at ground level facing the street(s) on which the parcel has frontage. Dwelling units shall be located above ground level. No dwelling units shall be permitted below ground level." To attach any importance to the 3rd sentence, which prohibits dwelling units below ground level, the Board interprets this section of the bylaw as allowing some component of residential use at ground level as long as the first requirement of the section is also followed, i.e., a commercial use at ground level facing the street frontage.
The second additional requirement limits the number of bedrooms to two and the minimum size of the dwelling unit to 750 SF. The proposed unit will include 2 bedrooms and consist of 1,440 SF. The third and final additional requirement of Section III-G.6.c relates to disposal of household trash and the future owner/occupant of the proposed dwelling would be eligible for a permit to use the transfer station.
Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, and the deliberations and discussions of Board members during the meeting, the Board has determined that:
a. The proposed use will be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Zoning By-Law, for the following reasons:
The proposed use is consistent with the general purpose of the By-Law as no adverse impact is expected to the health, safety, or welfare of the downtown businesses, 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 project both supports the purposes and objectives of the Downtown Hingham Overlay District and complies with the eligibility requirements specified therein. The plan provides a mix of uses, including a housing option not otherwise available in the surrounding area. A retail store will be maintained on the ground level in the front portion of the building facing both Water Street and Green Street. No dwelling unit will be below the ground level. Portions of the dwelling unit will be above ground level, although some portion of the dwelling unit will be at ground level from the perspective of Green Street. The proposed residential unit complies with the minimum floor area and maximum number of bedrooms and will have use of two parking spaces.
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 subject property is an appropriate location for the proposed use. The project is located in the Downtown Overlay District, but adjacent to a residential zoning district. The resulting mixed-use building will offer a nice transition to the surrounding residential neighborhood.
d. The use as developed and operated will create positive impacts or potential adverse impacts will be mitigated, for the following reasons:
There will be no adverse impact associated with the proposed use.
e. There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians, for the following reasons:
Dedicated parking will be provided for the proposed residential use. The existing retail business located within the building recently replaced a former catering business. This reduced the number of truck deliveries and traffic generated on site.
f. Adequate and appropriate facilities exist or will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use, for the following reasons:
Adequate facilities exist for the proposed use. The property is presently served by sewer and water and located within walking distance of public transportation.
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 existing systems are adequate for the proposed use and do not require modification.
Upon a motion made by Joseph W. Freeman and seconded by W. Tod McGrath, the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the Commercial/Residential Building Special Permit A2 under § III-G of the By-Law, permitting the addition of a two-bedroom dwelling unit to an existing commercial unit at 69 Water Street, subject to the following Conditions:
1. The use shall be operated in a manner consistent with approved plans and representations made during the Public Hearing.
2. In accordance with the provisions of the Hingham Zoning By-Law, the conditions imposed in the Planning Board Site Plan Review decision, dated November 18, 2015, are binding conditions to this decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
For The Board of Appeals,
Joseph M. Fisher
February 16, 2016