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Applicant/Owner: Alan & Vanessa Hsu
3 Sycamore Lane
Hingham, MA 02043

Property: 3 Sycamore Lane, Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Certificate of Title No. 112133 issued by the Plymouth County Registry District of the Land Court

Plan Reference: Plan entitled, "As Built Addition & Building Location Plan,” prepared by Environmental Engineering Technologies, Inc., 465 Furnace Street, Marshfield, MA, dated February 16, 2016


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Alan and Vanessa Hsu (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 maintain A/C units 7’ from the northerly side property line where a 15’ setback is required at 3 Sycamore Lane in Residence District A.

The Board opened a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on the application on June 20 2017 at Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular members Joseph W. Freeman, Chairman, Robyn S. Maguire, and Joseph M. Fisher. The Applicant appeared during the hearing to present the request 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.


The subject property is located to the immediate north of the intersection of Sycamore Lane and Bayberry Road. According to assessor records, the property consists of 0.18 acres of land improved by a single-family dwelling built in 1941. The submitted site plan depicts a wetland resource area to the rear of the property.

The Applicant recently completed an expansion project. Building Inspectors for the Town informed the homeowner that relief would be required to maintain two existing AC units within the northerly side yard setback. The Applicant represented to the Board that the units were installed in 2009, approximately two years after the Town amended the definition of structure contained in the by-Law, which effective prohibits mechanical equipment of any kind within required setbacks. Members noted that the existing 6’ stockade fence along the northerly property line effectively mitigates any potential visual or auditory impacts created by the location of the AC units.


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 lot is limited by its proximity to a wetland resource area to the rear. These circumstances, in combination with the placement of the existing structures on the lot, are not generally found in the zoning district.

2. The literal enforcement of the Bylaws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. Physical and regulatory barriers exist to any conforming location of mechanical equipment on the property. Air conditioning is a common improvement in the neighborhood and residential districts. Absent relief, the Applicant would not have the same enjoyment of the property as others in the district. A grant of a Variance in this instance will allow for a reasonable placement that is consistent with a single family use in the Residence A Zoning District.

3. A variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The AC units are located between a single-family dwelling and an existing 6’ stockade fence, which minimizes any visual or auditory impacts associated with the mechanical equipment. The Board finds that there will be no adverse effects on the neighborhood and there will be no harm to the public good based on the fact that the units have been maintained in this location for 8 years with no complaints from the neighbors.

4. A variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the Bylaw. The incursion is modest in size and the location, combined with existing fencing, will minimize potential visual or auditory impacts on abutters. The granting of a dimensional variance in this instance is consistent with the purposes of the By-Law.


Upon a motion made by Robyn S. Maguire and seconded by Joseph M. Fisher, the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested relief maintain A/C units 7’ from the northerly side property line where a 15’ setback is required at 3 Sycamore Lane 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 hearing before the Board.

2. The fence along the northwesterly property line shall be maintained so long as variance is in effect.

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 18, 2017