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Board of Appeals






Applicant/Owner:       Brendan Keirnan                    Agent:              Al Kearney
                          21 Forest Lane                                                          222 North Street
                          Hingham, MA 02043                                               Hingham, MA 02043

Property:                21 Forest Lane, Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference:              Certificate of Title No. 111229 issued by the Plymouth County Registry District of the Land Court

Plan Reference:                 Site plans entitled, “Kiernan Residence,” prepared by Alan Kearney Architect, 222 North Street, Hingham, MA, dated December 1, 2016 (Drawing 101); unsigned, undated rendering of the front building façade; and unsigned, undated, hand marked site plan entitled, "Kiernan Res., 21 Forest Street”


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Brendan Keirnan (the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-A of the Hingham Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to remove an existing garage and mudroom and construct a new garage, mudroom, and family room addition resulting in a 21' front yard setback and 14' side yard setback where 35' and 20' are respectively required at 21 Forest Lane in Residence District B. 

A public hearing was duly noticed and opened on January 11, 2017. The initial hearing was continued without receipt of testimony to a duly noticed public hearing held in Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street, on January 12, 2017. The Board of Appeals panel consisted of its regular members Robyn S. Maguire, Acting Chair, and Joseph M. Fisher and associate member Jim Blakey. The Applicant and the project architect, Alan Kearney, appeared to present the request. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested relief 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 is located at the corner of Huntley Road and Forest Lane. The lot consists of approximately 10,382 SF improved by a single-family dwelling and attached garage. The residence, which dates to 1955 based on Assessor Records, is situated at an angle such that modest, triangular-shaped portions presently extend into front, side and rear yard setbacks. An existing cesspool sits to the immediate rear of the rear of the dwelling.

The proposed plan would expand the eastern portion of the dwelling, replacing the existing, undersized garage with a wider, more functional structure. The addition would also include a new mudroom and family room. The proposed construction would result in an additional 171.5 SF incursion into the Huntley Road front yard and a 34.3 SF incursion into the east side yard setback.


Based upon the information submitted and received, and the deliberations and discussions of Board members during the hearing, the Board has 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 corner lot is affected by the location of an existing septic system to the rear of the dwelling. This circumstance, in combination with the angled placement of the dwelling on the lot, is not generally found throughout the zoning district.
  2. The literal enforcement of the Bylaws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise.  Physical, regulatory and financial barriers exist to the by right location of the proposed garage expansion and living space addition. A literal enforcement would limit the applicant to an upward expansion, which is not a practical location for an enlarged garage, entryway, and family room. Similar improvements are common in the neighborhood. A grant of a variance in this instance will allow for a reasonable use that is consistent other single-family uses in the Residence B Zoning District.
  3. A variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good.  The proposed project utility and appearance of the dwelling and the general streetscape of the neighborhood. There will be no adverse effects on the neighborhood and there will be no harm to the public good.
  4. A variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the Bylaw.  The requested relief will result in triangular-shaped incursions into the front and side yard setbacks that modestly expand the nonconformities associated with the existing dwelling. The resulting structure is consistent with 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 M. Fisher and seconded by Jim Blakey, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested Variance from § IV-A of the By-Law and such other relief as necessary to remove an existing garage and mudroom and construct a new garage, mudroom, and family room addition resulting in a 21' front yard setback and 14' side yard setback where 35' and 20' are respectively required at 21 Forest Lane in Residence District B, 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 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,


                                                                                       Robyn S. Maguire

                                                                                       February 16, 2017