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NOTICE OF DECISION
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant/Owner: Theodore J. & Jacqueline A. Sharp
222 Hersey Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Property: 4 Foley Beach Road, Hingham, MA 02043
Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 47905, Page 280
Plan Reference: Plan entitled, "Site Plan of Land,” prepared by Perkins Engineering, Inc., 160 Old Derby Street, Hingham, MA, dated December 16, 2016 and architectural plans entitled, "Proposed Elevations," prepared by HC Design, 146 Front Street, Scituate, MA, dated January 27, 2017 (Drawings A2.0 – A2-1)
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Theodore J. and Jacqueline A. Sharp (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 deck resulting in a 2.7’ setback where 15’ is required at 4 Foley Beach Road in Residence District A.
The Board opened a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on the application on May 17, 2017 at Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street. At the Applicant’s request, the hearing was continued to June 20, 2017 so that members of the Board could visit the Property on June 3, 2017. The Board panel consisted of its regular members Joseph W. Freeman, Chairman, Robyn S. Maguire, and Joseph M. Fisher. The Applicant appeared during the hearings to present the application to the Board. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested relief subject to conditions set forth below.
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.
BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION
The subject property consists of approximately 5,800 SF of land. The lot has an irregular, triangular shape, with no frontage. Access to the landlocked parcel is provided via an 8’-wide right-of-way from Foley Beach Road. The onsite topography slopes from the default front of the property (el. 12) to the rear (el. 5), where the parcel meets Hingham Bay.
The property was previously improved by a nonconforming single-family dwelling. The oldest Assessor’s record on file dates to 1960 and describes the property as follows: “Located on beach with no access except by boat. One story 20x30 ft. plus porch on front... Whole building falling apart.” This original 600 SF structure was replaced in 1992 with a 2.5-story, 2000 SF dwelling. The applicant is now in the process of reconstructing this house, which had a 1,010 SF footprint, with another 2.5-story structure, but with a 1,670 SF footprint.
The construction that is underway also includes a rear deck that is approximately 200 SF in area. Relief is now requested to extend this deck to within 2.7’ from the (front) side property line. The Board calculated the proposed incursion to be approximately 150 SF in size. Members discussed during the hearing whether the hardship could be considered to be self-created, but determined based on inspection of the property that the hardship was related to the constrained and unusual conditions affecting the lot. Additionally, members acknowledged that the proposed deck will be located no closer to the property line than the existing and permitted single-family dwelling. The Applicant could construct an enclosed, 2.5-story addition to the single-family dwelling in this location by right under Section III-I, 2. of the By-Law, or the so-called Hatfield Amendment. Members agreed that this by-right alternative could have a significantly greater impacts on the surrounding neighborhood than the proposed deck.
During the hearing, members of the public expressed both concern and support related to the application. The Board resolved to review the requisite findings and imposed appropriate conditions intended to mitigate any potential adverse impacts.
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. The Property is limited by an irregular, triangular shape, with no frontage on a street. Access to the landlocked parcel is provided via an 8’-wide right-of-way from Foley Beach Road. The onsite topography slopes from the default front of the property (el. 12) to the rear (el. 5), where the parcel meets Hingham Bay. These shape and topography conditions do not generally affect either the neighborhood or the zoning district more generally.
2. The literal enforcement of the By-Laws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. Due to the extreme grade changes on the property, literal enforcement would restrict access between both the main living space of the dwelling and conforming portions of the deck and an existing patio located on the waterfront side of the property.
3. A Variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The proposed project will not generate noise, traffic, or result in other similar negative impacts. The design of the proposed deck is consistent with the surrounding neighborhood and other single-family dwellings in the area. There will be no adverse effects and there will be no harm to the public good resulting from the proposed accessory structure as long as construction proceeds in accordance with conditions set forth below.
4. A Variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the By-Law. The proposed continuous deck would have less impact than a 2.5-story continuation of the dwelling that could be constructed by-right under the Hatfield Amendment in the same location. 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 construct a deck resulting in a 2.7’ setback where 15’ is required at 4 Foley Beach Road in Residence District A, subject to the following conditions:
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.
2. Prior to application for a Building Permit, the Applicant shall submit a plan to sufficiently screen the property from the adjoining property to the immediate west to the Zoning Administrator for review and approval. Should the plan depict any screening materials extending onto adjoining property, an agreement between the property owners must also be submitted. The approved screening shall be installed prior to issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy.
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 17, 2017