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Board of Appeals



Owner/Applicant: Marc and Carla Poulson
44 Gilford Road
Hingham, MA 02043

Premises: 44 Gilford Road, Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Certificate of Title No. 123286 issued by the Plymouth County Registry District of the Land Court

Plan References: Plans entitled, "Plan of Land, 44 Gilford Road, Hingham, MA," prepared by Hoyt Land Surveying, 1287 Washington Street, Weymouth, MA, dated May 17, 2016 and an elevation plan entitled, "Proposed Residence," prepared by Dreamline Modular Homes, 403 Waltham Street, Lexington, MA, undated (Sheet 1)


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Marc and Carla Poulson (collectively, the “Applicant”) for Variances from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to reconstruct single family dwelling resulting in a 23.3' front yard setback where 50' is required and locate a (16'x12') shed with a (16'x4') porch within 7.5' of the side and rear property lines where a 20' setback is required at 44 Gilford Road in Residence District C.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on June 15, 2016 at Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular members Joseph M. Fisher, Chairman, Joseph W. Freeman, and Robyn S. Maguire. The Applicant was represented during the hearing by Peter Hoyt Land Surveying, and Michelle Glover, representing the builder. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested relief from 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.


The subject property consists of approximately 10,240 SF improved by a pre-existing, nonconforming single-family dwelling and shed. The property is affected by significant ledge outcroppings and variable topography. The existing dwelling is also serviced by a cesspool located to the immediate rear of the structure.

The proposed plan calls for reconstruction of the dwelling and the addition of a covered front porch. The resulting structure would intensify the nonconforming front yard setback associated with the existing dwelling from 34.8' to a minimum of 23.3' at the southwesterly corner of the structure. The proposed front yard setback increases to 26.9' on the southeasterly corner of the front porch due to slight variations in the lot shape. While some incursion would be permitted by-right pursuant to the average front yard setback exemption under § IV-B, 9. of the By-Law, the Applicant requires relief for that portion of the proposed structure that extends beyond approximately 29' from the front property line. The Applicant also plans to replace an existing nonconforming shed with a larger structure that would be located within both side and rear yard setbacks.

The Board issued similar relief to the previous property owner in May 2015. He has since sold the property and the previous relief has expired. Additionally, the current owners have proposed some modification to the design of the previously approved single-family home.

During the hearing, a direct abutter to the property expressed interest in screening the proposed shed from view. The proposed plan includes installation of a vegetative buffer along the rear property line to screen the accessory structure from the neighboring property at 37 Lydon Rd. The Applicant also agreed to eliminate the proposed porch on the detached accessory structure to further mitigate potential impacts and revised the overall footprint from 16' x 16' to 14' x 16'.


Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, and subject to satisfaction of the conditions set forth below, the Board determined that:

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 large areas of ledge as well as a significant grade changes. The only available location for the new septic system is to the rear of the dwelling, where a nonconforming accessory structure is presently located, due to the presence of ledge and absence of adequate soils elsewhere on the lot. Finally, there is variation in the shape of the lot such that the side meets the front property line at a slight angle. These conditions are not generally found in the zoning district.

2. The literal enforcement of the Bylaws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. The applicant is not able to maintain the existing detached accessory structure, which is required for storage, in its current location because this is the only area available on the lot for the new septic system. Other properties in the neighborhood include similar porches to the proposed. If relief is not granted, the applicant would not have the same enjoyment of the property as others.

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. The proposed shed will provide the same utility as the existing detached accessory structure, while improving its appearance. There will be no adverse effects on the neighborhood and there will be no harm to the public good; and

4. A variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the By-Law. The proposed shed relocates the existing shed's nonconforming setbacks from one side of the lot to the other, but does not substantially intensify these noncompliant dimensions. The proposed increase in the size of the shed is modest. The requested incursion into the front yard setback for the covered porch is relatively small. Both improvements will conform to the character of the neighborhood. 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 Robyn Maguire, the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested Variances from § IV-A of the By-Law to reconstruct single family dwelling resulting in a 23.3' front yard setback where 50' is required and locate a (14'x16') shed within 7.5' of the side and rear property lines where a 20' setback is required at 44 Gilford Road in Residence District C, subject to the following conditions:
1. The rights authorized by this Variance shall expire one year from the date this Decision is filed with the Town Clerk, unless exercised or extended in accordance with the terms of M.G.L. c. 40A, § 10.
2. The Applicant shall construct the Project in a manner consistent with the approved plans and the representations made at the hearings before the Board.
3. The shed ridge shall not be more than 16' above the lowest point of the existing grade that will serve as the foundation of the structure.
4. The Applicant shall install a vegetative buffer of not less than 6' in height along the shared property line with 37 Lyndon Road. Plantings shall be installed prior to issuance of an occupancy permit for the dwelling.
5. The Applicant shall submit an updated plan to reflect revised shed footprint to the Zoning Administrator prior to application for a Building Permit.

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
July 11, 2016