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Board of Appeals



Applicant/Owner: Gregory H. and Laura D Weibley
199 Downer Avenue
Hingham, MA 02043

Property: 199 Downer Avenue, Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 43529, Page 77

Plan Reference: Site plan entitled, “Site Plan to Accompany NOI, 199 Downer Avenue, Hingham, MA,” prepared by Cavanaro Consulting, 687 Main Street, Norwell, MA, dated October 24, 2013 (Sheet 1 of 1); and an architectural plan set, including existing and proposed elevation and floor plans, prepared by HC Design, 146 Front Street, Suite 211, Scituate, MA, dated August 12, 2013 (Drawing EX1-1 and 2-1) and June 8, 2017 (A2-0)


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Gregory H. and Laura D Weibley (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 increase an existing covered entry by 22 SF and resulting in an approximate 4.5’ front yard setback at 199 Downer Ave where 25’ is required in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and opened on July 18, 2017 at Hingham 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 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 10,000 SF of land (record) improved by a single-family dwelling. The lot is bound by Downer Avenue to the west and Hingham Harbor to the east. The center of the property is affected by an angled joint in the Downer Avenue layout such that the sides of the lot are deeper than the center. An existing seawall and coastal bank are located to the rear of the dwelling.

The applicant seeks relief to modestly increase the footprint of the existing covered entry by 22 SF. The existing entrance is located at the angled portion of the Downer Avenue layout, so the extension will increase an existing nonconformity and result in a minimum 4.5’ front yard setback.

During the hearing, the Board received letters of support for the application from four residents 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: The Property is unusually shaped, with sides of the property being deeper than the center due to the angled layout of Downer Avenue. This condition, in combination with the location of the existing improvements on the lot, especially affects the subject property and not generally the zoning district.

2. The literal enforcement of the By-Laws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. The location of the existing single-family dwelling, and specifically its entrance near the irregularly-shaped center of the lot, limits by-right alternative. A grant of a variance in this instance will improve access to the existing dwelling and allow for a reasonable use that is consistent with other single-family uses in the area.

3. A Variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. Use of the proposed entrance will not create any noise, traffic or result in other similar negative impacts. The design of the entryway is consistent with others in the neighborhood and the project is supported by abutters. There will be no adverse effects on the neighborhood and 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 structure is an allowed accessory use to the principal residential use of the Property. 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 increase an existing covered entry by 22 SF, resulting in an approximate 4.5’ front yard setback at 199 Downer Ave where 25’ is required 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
September 11, 2017