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Applicant/Owner: James & Sheryl Lewis
31 Marsh Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Property: 31 Marsh Street, Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 41449, Page 161

Plan Reference: Site plan entitled, “Existing and Proposed Conditions Plan,” prepared by Nantasket Survey Engineering, LLC, 46 Edgewater Road, Hull, MA, dated August 8, 2016 (Drawing 1 of 1); and architectural plans, including front and west elevations, prepared by Edgewood Design + Architecture, Inc., 79 Lakewood Road, S. Weymouth, MA, dated January 20, 2017


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of James and Sheryl Lewis (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 construct a covered entryway resulting in a 9.6’ front yard setback where 25’ is required at 31 Marsh Street in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and opened on May 22, 2017 at Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board of Appeals panel consisted of its regular members Robyn S. Maguire, Acting Chair, and Joseph M. Fisher, and associate member Michael Mercurio. The Applicant 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 consists of 4,522 SF of land located on the corner of Marsh Street and Kilmer Avenue. The site is improved by a single family dwelling (ca. 1930) and small accessory structure. The Applicant plans to construct a 1-story addition to the west side of the home. While the proposed addition is allowed by right pursuant to Section III-I, 2., the so-called Hatfield Amendment, the proposed porch that would provide access to the addition is not. The Applicant requests relief to build the porch, which would result in a minimum 9.6’ front yard setback where 25’ is allowed. The total area of incursion would be 103.68 SF (14.4’ x 7.2’). Since a 30 SF projection is exempted under Section IV-C, 8., relief is required for the remaining 73.7 SF.

The submitted application indicates that soil conditions and ledge on site contribute to the placement of main living space approximately 4’ above grade. The proposed improvement is required to transition between ground level and access to the elevated first floor living space.

The Board received letters of support for the application from three direct abutters and another resident of the neighborhood.


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: Onsite soil conditions and the presence of ledge contribute to the elevated position of the main living space within the existing dwelling. These circumstances in combination with the location of the existing nonconforming single family dwelling on the lot, are not generally evident in the neighborhood or more generally the district.

2. The literal enforcement of the By-Laws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. Literal enforcement would prohibit the Applicant from improving access to the residence. A grant of a Variance in this instance will allow for a reasonable use that is consistent other single-family uses in the Residence A Zoning District;

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 design of the addition and proposed porch is consistent with other development in the neighborhood. 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 relief will allow construction of a deck, which is an allowed accessory use in residential districts, in a location that would be permitted by right if the deck were fully enclosed. 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 Michael Mercurio, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested Variance from § IV-A of the By-Law and such other relief as necessary to construct a covered entryway resulting in a 9.6’ front yard setback where 25’ is required at 31 Marsh Street in Residence District A, subject to the following condition:
1. 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
June 5, 2017