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Board of Appeals



Applicant and Creative Property Associates, LLC
Property Owner: c/o Eugene Allen
309 Main Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Property: 55 Gilford Road, Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Certificate of Title No. 122821 issued by the Plymouth County Registry District of the Land Court

Plan Reference: Plan entitled, "Septic System Upgrade Plan, 55 Gilford Road, Hingham, MA," prepared by Cavanaro Consulting, 687 Main Street, Norwell, MA, dated January 4, 2016 and an architectural plan set, including elevation, floor, and section plans, prepared by Don Ritz Architect, 21 Q Street, Hull, MA, dated April 4, 2016


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Eugene Allen, sole owner of Creative Property Associates, LLC (the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-A of the Hingham Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to construct a deck within 6.9' from the rear property line where a 20' setback is required at 55 Gilford Road in Residence District C.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on May 18, 2016 at the Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular members Joseph M. Fisher, Chairman, and Joseph W. Freeman, and associate member Jim Blakey. The Applicant appeared to present the application. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant a Variance from the rear yard setback requirements under § IV-A of the By-Law, subject to conditions contained 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 consists of approximately 14,309 SF with an unusual configuration. The lot is improved by an existing single-family dwelling located at an angle to the road and on the easterly portion of the property. The westerly portion of the property is limited by an onsite septic system. The property experiences significant grade changes with a maximum elevation of 28 feet in the northwesterly corner to a minimum elevation of 21 feet in the southeasterly corner. Finally, most of the existing residence is located with the 50-foot buffer to an offsite bordering vegetated wetland area.

The project includes construction of a back deck located 6.9 feet from the rear property line that is shared with a portion of the Trustees of Reservations' Worlds End land. The deck would be located off the home's kitchen, providing outdoor access from the main living space that would not otherwise be possible due to the variable topography (F.F.E. = 22 feet, surrounding grades range from 17 feet to 13 feet).

During the hearing, the Applicant represented that the rear deck would serve as a secondary egress for the dwelling. The Building Commissioner noted that the deck would have to include stairs to access the ground level for safety purposes. Members agreed, adding that the most practical and least intrusive location for the required stairs would be at the northerly corner of the deck.

The record included a letter of support from the owners of 63 Gilford Road, who would be the most directly impacted neighbors. Additionally, the Conservation Commission issued a Negative Determination of Applicability for the proposed construction on March 30, 2016.


Based upon the information submitted and received, and the deliberations and discussions of Board members during the hearing, the Board has determined that:

1. Circumstances related to soil, shape, or topography especially affect the land or structures in question: The Property is unusually shaped and limited by variable grades and an onsite septic system. These circumstances in combination especially affect the subject property and not generally the zoning district.

2. The literal enforcement of the By-Laws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. The location of the existing single-family dwelling on the lot, both in terms of placement and elevation, limit by-right development options. There are physical and regulatory barriers that restrict by-right location of a deck on the property. A grant of a variance in this instance will improve safe of the dwelling and allow for a reasonable use that is consistent with other single-family uses in the area.

3. 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. There will be no adverse effects on the neighborhood and there will be no harm to the public good resulting from the proposed accessory structure.

4. A Variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the By-Law. The structure is an allowed accessory use to the principal residential use of the Property. The granting of a dimensional variance in this instance is consistent with the purposes of the By-Law.


Upon a motion made by Joseph W. Freeman and seconded by Jim Blakey, the Board then voted unanimously to grant the requested Variance from § IV-A of the By-Law and such other relief as necessary to construct a deck within 6.9' from the rear property line where a 20' setback is required at 55 Gilford Road in Residence District C, subject to the following conditions:

1. The Applicant shall install stairs from the northerly portion of the deck to the ground level. A revised plan depicting the location of the stairs shall be submitted to the Zoning Administrator for review prior to application for a Building Permit.

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
June 20, 2016