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TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
NOTICE OF DECISION
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant: Stuart & Casey Brown
87 Wompatuck Road
Hingham, MA 02043
Owners: Anthony W. Cartwright, Debra M. Cartwright, & Casey M. Cartwright (Brown)
95 Kimball Beach Road
Hingham, MA 0204387 Wompatuck Road
Property: 87 Wompatuck Road
Hingham, MA 02043
Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 34811, Page 300
Plan Reference: Plan entitled, "Site Plan, 87 Wompatuck Road, Hingham, MA," prepared by Merrill Engineers and Land Surveyors, 427 Columbia Road, Hanover, MA, dated November 18, 2015, revised through December 18, 2015
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Stuart and Casey Brown (collectively, the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-A of the Hingham Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to 1.) reconstruct a single-family dwelling in a location that eliminates the existing southerly side yard setback nonconformance while creating a newly nonconforming 7' setback on the northerly side where 15' is required and 2.) reconstruct a nonconforming detached garage in a location that eliminates an existing encroachment and improves existing nonconforming rear and side yard setbacks to 5' and 3.2' respectively where 15' is required at 87 Wompatuck Road in Residence District A.
A public hearing was duly noticed and held on December 16, 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 was represented by Dana Altobello of Merrill Engineers and Land Surveyors. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant a Variance from the side and rear yard setback requirements under § IV-A 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 hearing.
BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION
The subject property consists of approximately 7,337 SF located on the easterly side of Wompatuck Road. The lot is narrow in shape with just 50' of frontage, but a depth almost three times this width. The topography varies on site with an 8' grade change between the front of the lot and the back. Subsurface ledge affects a significant portion of the property as well.
The lot is improved by a single-family dwelling and detached garage, both constructed in 1910, prior to adoption of the Zoning By-Law in 1941. The preexisting nonconforming dwelling is centered between the front and rear property lines, but it sits closer to the southerly side property line than the northerly. The detached accessory structure encroaches slightly (0.3') onto a neighboring property and maintains a 12' incursion (3.1' setback) into the required 15' rear yard.
The proposed project involves reconstruction of both nonconforming structures. The resulting 42' x 27' 10" dwelling is located approximately 18' closer to the street, though still outside of the required front yard setback. This proposed location also eliminates the existing nonconforming 7' southerly side yard setback, while creating a newly nonconforming 7' setback from the northerly side property line. The footprint shift will improve access to the existing garage, which will also be reconstructed. This portion of the project will eliminate the minor encroachment on the adjacent property, while improving the nonconforming side and rear yard setbacks to 3.2' and 5' respectively.
During the hearing, the Board discussed alternative options, concluding that the size of the proposed garage should be reduced from 28’ x 24' to 24' x 24’. They noted that if the proposed garage was reduced in size to 24’ x 24’ the nonconformity on the side yard would be reduced from 3’ to 7’.
Members further noted that four neighbors, including one direct abutter, submitted letters of support for the proposed project. Members agreed that the proposed structure appears to substantially improve the existing conditions.
Based upon the information submitted and received, and the deliberations and discussions of Board members during the hearing, the Board has determined that:
a. There are circumstances relating to soil conditions, shape or topography especially affecting the land but not affecting generally the zoning district. The Property is narrow in shape with 50' of frontage, but a depth almost three times this width. The topography varies on site with an 8' grade change between the front of the lot and the back. Subsurface ledge affects a significant portion of the property as well.
b. The literal enforcement of the Bylaws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. Absent relief, reconstruction of the dwelling would require significant earthwork and ledge removal, creating a hardship for the Applicant. A literal enforcement of the By-Law would also force the Applicant to repair and maintain the existing detached accessory structure, which encroaches on adjoining property. A grant of a Variance in this instance will allow for a reasonable use that is consistent with a single family use in the Residence A Zoning District, and in keeping with other properties in the immediate neighborhood.
c. A variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The proposed project will not create any noise, traffic or result in other similar negative impacts. In fact, the proposed project will improve existing conditions through elimination of a minor encroachment and improvement of both rear and side yard setbacks associated with the garage. The reconstructed dwelling likewise eliminates the existing southerly side yard nonconformance while replicating the linear measurement on the northerly side. The design of both the proposed dwelling and the accessory structure will be consistent with many single family residences in the surrounding neighborhood. There will be no adverse effects or harm to the public good.
d. A variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the Bylaw. The proposed project will eliminate an existing encroachment and improve existing nonconformities. The granting of a dimensional variance in this instance will not derogate from the intent of the By-Law.
Upon a motion made by Joseph W. Freeman and seconded by W. Tod McGrath, the Board then voted unanimously to grant the requested Variance from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law to 1.) reconstruct a single-family dwelling in a location that eliminates the existing southerly side yard setback nonconformance while creating a newly nonconforming 7' setback on the northerly side where 15' is required and 2.) reconstruct a nonconforming detached garage in a location that eliminates an existing encroachment and improves existing nonconforming rear and side yard setbacks to 5' and 7' respectively where 15' is required at 87 Wompatuck Road in Residence District A, subject to the following conditions:
1. The footprint of the proposed garage shall be reduced to 24’ x 24’. The Applicant shall submit revised plans to the Zoning Administrator for review within two weeks of this Decision.
2. The Applicant shall construct the project in a manner consistent with the approved plans.
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
January 8, 2016