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Board of Appeals



Owner/Applicant: Jon and Francesca Rovello
Premises: 257 Hersey Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 46984, Page 101

Plan References: Plan entitled, "Site Plan, Existing and Proposed Conditions," prepared by Genesis Design Associates, dated December 16, 2014 and an architectural plan set entitled, "Rovello Residence: 257 Hersey Street, Hingham, MA 02043," dated May 16, 2017, Drawings A.1 - A.5


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Jon and Francesca Rovello (collectively, the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to construct an attached single-car garage with living space above resulting in a 3'-7" side yard setback where 15’ is required at 257 Hersey Street in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on July 18, 2017 at the Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board 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 application. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested relief from the side yard setback requirement under § IV-A of the By-Law 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 6,169 SF in size and improved by a single-family dwelling and detached single-car garage. The lot shape is irregular - similar to a trapezoid. The residence is positioned parallel to both the street and the southerly side property line; however, the side yard setback to the north ranges from approximately 20' at the front of the house to 14' at the rear due to the atypical lot shape. The preexisting nonconforming garage is located on the rear property line and just 1'-5" from the northerly side property line.

The proposed plan calls for demolition of the nonconforming detached garage and construction of a 2-story addition to the side of the residence, consisting of a new single-car garage with living space both above and behind. The proposed addition would be located between 11’-4” and 3’-7" from the shared property line with 253 Hersey Street. A second (14’ x 16’) proposed addition would be located the rear of the existing dwelling and result in an 11’-4” side yard setback.

The planned demolition of the existing detached garage would eliminate the existing incursion into the rear yard setback, while the proposed addition would increase the existing setback between the northerly property line and the detached garage, thus decreasing the extent of the existing nonconformity. The rear of the property is also located entirely within the Hingham Wetlands By-Law 50' buffer zone to a wetland resource. The proposed plan would remove all structures from this "no disturb" area.

The Board granted relief to the prior property owners for a similar project on two separate occasions; however, both variances, issued by the Board on March 4, 2015 and May 25, 2016, lapsed before the relief was exercised through issuance of a building permit. During the previous proceedings, the Board determined that the proposed addition would create an additional incursion of approximately 100 SF within the setback. The Board reviewed the proposed height of the addition in relation to the existing house as well, noting that it would be slightly lower than the existing house. The current plan includes a rear addition that the prior owners had not proposed that will result in a minimum 11’-4” from the northwest side property line where the exemptions provided under Section III-I, 2. of the By-Law, or the so-called Hatfield Amendment, would allow a 14’ setback by right.


Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, prior actions of the Board, and the deliberations and discussions of members during the meeting, 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 Property has an unusual trapezoidal shape. There exists a significant slope to the property from the front to the rear. The rear of the lot is located with the buffer zone to a wetland resource. The on-site septic system is located to the east of the house, whereas the existing garage and driveway are located to the west. Surrounding properties do not generally share these circumstances.

2. The literal enforcement of the Bylaws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. The requested relief will allow the Applicant to remodel and expand the existing dwelling, while eliminating the existing rear yard nonconformity and improving the side yard nonconformity by removing the existing detached garage. A grant of a Variance in this instance will allow for a reasonable use that is entirely 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 proposed project will not create any noise, traffic or result in other similar negative impacts. In fact, the proposed project will improve the existing dwelling in a manner consistent with many single family residences in the surrounding neighborhood. There will be no adverse effects or harm to the public good; and

4. A variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the Bylaw. The proposed project will eliminate the existing rear yard setback nonconformity and relocate, but improve, the existing side yard setback nonconformity associated with the existing detached garage. 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 to construct an addition including an attached single-car garage with living space above resulting in a 3' 7" side yard setback at 257 Hersey Street where 15' is required in Residence District A, subject to the following conditions:

1. The Applicant shall complete the construction in accordance with the plans submitted with the application and representations made at the hearing.

2. The ground floor of the attached garage shall not be converted to living space in the future.

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
September 11, 2017