View Other Items in this Archive | View All Archives | Printable Version

Owner/Applicant:     David & Louise Oberhauser

                                    26 Governor Long Road

                                    Hingham, MA 02043 

Premises:                    26 Governor Long Road, Hingham, MA 

Deed Reference:        Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 36152 Page 304 

Plan References:    Plan entitled, “Plot Plan of Land,” prepared by Perkins  Engineering, Inc., 160 Old Derby Street, Hingham, MA, dated  March 24, 2016; and drawings of the lower and upper level floor  plans, unsigned and undated 


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of David and Louise Oberhauser (collectively, the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to extend an existing front porch into front and side yard setbacks at 26 Governor Long Road in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on July 20, 2016, at the Town Hall, 210 Central Street.  The Board of Appeals panel consisted of regular members Joseph W. Freeman, Chairman, Robyn S. Maguire, and Joseph M. Fisher.  The Applicant and the project architect, Alan Kearney, appeared to present the request. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested relief from the front and side yard setback requirements under § IV-A of the By-Law, subject to the 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 10,723 SF located on the southerly side of Governor Long Road. The site was previously improved by a single-family dwelling (ca. 1940), which includes a front porch and deck.


The proposed plan calls for extension of the existing deck within an area contained by an existing retaining wall. An enclosed storage area would be created underneath the extended portion of the deck. The proposed construction would result in a 12.1' side yard setback and a 22.4' front yard setback. The proposed incursion would be relatively modest at a total of approximately 55 SF (18 SF front and 37 SF side).



Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, the Board has determined that: 

1.      Circumstances related to soil, shape, or topography especially affect the land or structures in question: Due to the onsite topography, the property was previously improved with a concrete retaining wall located within approximately 12' of the side property line and 22' from the front. These circumstances in combination do not generally affect the neighborhood. 

2.      The literal enforcement of the By-Laws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise.  The topography of the site presently presents a physical barrier to accessing the side yard. The hardship demonstrated by the Applicant is appropriate for the modest dimensional relief requested, particularly where the dimensional nonconformity presently exists.


3.      A Variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good.  The proposed deck expansion will enhance the property and allow safe access to the side yard within an existing foundation/retaining wall. 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 requested relief is modest in nature, resulting in a 55 SF incursion. The granting of a dimensional variance in this instance is consistent with the purposes of the By-Law.



Upon a motion made by Joseph M. Fisher and seconded by Robyn S. Maguire, the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested Variance from § IV-A of the By-Law to extend an existing front porch into front and side yard setbacks and add storage space below at 26 Governor Long Road in Residence District A, 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.


This Decision shall not become effective until (i) the Town Clerk has certified on a copy of this decision that twenty (20) days have elapsed after the decision has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk and no appeal has been filed or that if such an appeal has been filed, that it has been dismissed or denied, and that (ii) a copy thereof has been duly recorded in the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds and indexed in the grantor index under the name of the owner of record or is recorded and noted on the owner’s certificate of title.


For the Town of Hingham

Board of Appeals,




                                                                        Joseph W. Freeman

                                                                        July 26, 2016