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TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
NOTICE OF DECISION
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant: Douglas Wielhouwer Owner: Jon F. Rotenberg, Trustee
Eastern Yacht Sales, Inc. Lincoln 349 Realty Trust
400 Lincoln Street, Suite 19 170 Shipyard Drive
Hingham, MA 02043 Hingham, MA 02043
Property: 170 Shipyard Drive, Hingham, MA 02043
Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 47254, Page 239
Plan References: 1. Plan set entitled, "Hingham Shipyard Modification to Building L, 170 Shipyard Drive, Hingham, MA," prepared by Cavanaro Consulting, 687 Main Street, Norwell, MA, dated March 30, 2017 (Drawing No. EC, PRC, and DET);
2. Signage specifications, prepared by Harbor Sign Co., undated (1 Drawing)
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Douglas Wielhouwer (the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-G of the Zoning By-Law (the "By-Law") and such other relief as necessary to locate a ground sign at 170 Shipyard Drive in the Industrial District.
The Applicant simultaneously filed an application for a Major Modification of the Hingham Shipyard Mixed-Use Special Permit, originally issued May 12, 2003, as amended, under § IV-G of the Zoning By-Law (the "By-Law") and such other relief as necessary to replace the previously approved 3,900 SF bank with drive-thru for “Building L” with a new 6,128 SF mixed use commercial building on the Property. In connection with the Special Permit Modification, the Applicant also filed an application with the Planning Board for Site Plan Approval under § I-G and § I-I, along with a Special Permit A3 Parking Determination under § V-A of the By-Law.
The Board opened its hearing on the matter jointly with the Planning Board and concurrently with the hearing on the Special Permit Modification at a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on May 22, 2017. The Board panel consisted of its regular members Robyn S. Maguire, Acting Chair, and Joseph M. Fisher and associate member Michael Mercurio. In addition to the above-referenced Applicant and Owner, John Cavanaro, P.E., Cavanaro Consulting, and Tom Chiudina, Architect, presented the request to the Boards during the public hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested relief 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 meeting.
The subject property is located within the Hingham Shipyard Mixed-Use Redevelopment. Section IV-G.11. of the By-Law limits freestanding signs within mixed-use developments to directory signs. According to the By-Law, a maximum of two ground signs, located at entrances to the overall development, may be permitted. The original Hingham Shipyard Redevelopment Mixed-Use permit included relief from these standards; however, the approved plan did not include a separate ground sign for the subject property.
The Applicant now proposes an approximate 30 SF ground sign that would include three tenant panels for businesses to be located on site, as follow:
• Eastern Yacht Sales: 36” x 96”
• Dependable Cleaners: 22” x 96”
• Pilot House Restaurant: 22” x 96”
Total = 53 SF
The maximum height of the sign post, which includes a pediment, is 11’, though the sign panels would be no higher than 9’-6”. The sign will be set back from the front property line 11’-8”. These proposed dimensions otherwise fall within the thresholds specified under Section V-B for a sign allowed by special permit. In fact, a significantly larger sign could be allowed based on the frontage maintained on the site if the property were subject only to the applicable signage regulations in the Industrial District as opposed to those of the Mixed-Use Development. The proposed sign will be externally illuminated.
The submitted plan depicts modest variation in the onsite topography. Lincoln Street appears to sit at elevation 103, whereas the proposed building site is lower at elevation 99-100. Together with the proposed building setback, this grade change may make it difficult for motorists to view the permitted building signage from Lincoln Street/Rt. 3A, which is a higher speed roadway. The shape and layout of the overall redevelopment site also especially affects this property. The majority of the nonresidential development permitted at the Shipyard accessed from Lincoln Street at its intersection with Shipyard Drive West. This is where the primary directory sign for the development is located. The subject property; however, is located at the intersection of Shipyard Drive East and Lincoln Street – more than 520’ from the primary directory sign. Literal enforcement of the bylaw would prevent the owner from effectively promoting its allowed businesses.
Based on the information submitted with the application and presented during the hearings, the Board made the following findings:
1. Circumstances related to soil, shape, or topography especially affect the land or structures in question: The shape and layout of the overall redevelopment especially affects the subject property. The majority of the nonresidential development within the Hingham Shipyard is accessed from Lincoln Street at its intersection with Shipyard Drive West, where the primary directory sign for the development is located. The subject property, however, is located at the intersection of Shipyard Drive East and Lincoln Street – more than 520’ from the primary directory sign. Additionally, the property is impacted by modest variation in topography such that the proposed building sits approximately 4’ lower than Lincoln Street (Rte. 3A). These circumstances in combination do not more generally affect the surrounding area or the district more generally.
2. The literal enforcement of the By-Laws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. Literal enforcement would prevent the Applicant from efficiently and safely directing vehicular traffic from both Lincoln Street (Rte. 3A) and Shipyard Drive East to the multiple businesses to be located onsite. The subject property does not benefit from the existing directory ground sign for the Shipyard since it is located approximately 520’ away. Therefore, a literal enforcement of the sign provisions of Section IV-G would restrict the advertisement of the three allowed businesses and prevent the Applicant from efficiently and safely directing customers to the site.
3. A Variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The proposed design is consistent with others in the area. There will be no harm to the public good resulting from the sign.
4. A Variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the By-Law. The sign requirements in Section IV-G aim to regulate development in large tracts of land that is generally close together, which is not the case of 170 Shipyard Drive due to its physical separation from the bulk of the Shipyard Development.
Upon a motion made by Joseph M. Fisher and seconded by Michael Mercurio, the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested relief from § IV-G of the By-Law and such other relief as necessary to locate a ground sign at 170 Shipyard Drive in the Industrial District, 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
July 12, 2017