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TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant: Freddie Salameh
11 Freely Drive
Stoughton, MA 02072
Applicant’s Agent: John F. Danehey, Esq.
Danehey & Osterberg, PC
5 Old County Way
Scituate, MA 02066
Property Owner: South Shore Trailer Park LLC
1047 Washington Street
Weymouth, MA 02189
Property: 170 Rockland Street, Hingham, MA 02043
Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 34828, Page 344
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS:
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the application of Freddie Salameh (the "Applicant") for an Administrative Appeal of the Building Commissioner’s determination, dated November 9, 2017, that no equipment, tools, supplies or motor vehicles are to be stored outside based on a decision, dated February 10, 1959, at 170 Rockland Street in Residence District C.
The Board opened a hearing on the application at a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on January 16, 2018 at Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street, during which the Board heard public comment and considered a written request from the Applicant to continue the hearing. During the initial hearing, the Board panel consisted of its regular members Robyn S. Maguire, Chair, and Joseph M. Fisher and associate member Alan M. Kearney. During subsequent sessions of the continued public hearing, held on March 20, 2018 and March 28, 2018, associate member Joseph W. Freeman participated on the panel in place of Alan M. Kearney pursuant to M.G.L. c. 39, section 23D. The Applicant was in attendance during the hearings and represented by Attorney John F. Danehey, Danehey & Osterberg, PC.
During the hearing, the Board heard substantial testimony both in support and in opposition to the application. 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 approximately one acre of land located on the northerly side of Rockland Street. The premises supports multiple uses, one of which consists of an automotive service station called Auto Hospital. The Applicant operates the service station business on the Property through a lease with the property owner.
The Building Commissioner issued a determination, dated November 9, 2017, that the Applicant continues to violate a condition imposed by the Board in a Variance Decision issued on February 10, 1959. The 1959 Decision authorized construction of a two-bay addition (30’ x 30’ in size) to the then-existing service station in order to house vehicle maintenance and repair services previously conducted on the Property in the open. The relief was granted subject to the following condition: “In so far as possible all work on motor vehicles is to be done inside the building and no equipment, tool, supplies or motor vehicles are to be stored outside.”
During the hearing, the Building Commissioner reviewed a number of complaints received from abutters to the Property and related to the number of vehicles on the Property. He presented his interpretation of the above-referenced condition as limiting the storage of vehicles on the Property. He then reviewed his enforcement action related to this interpretation.
The Applicant’s attorney argued that the condition could alternately be interpreted as limiting the storage of vehicles, but not necessarily the parking of vehicles that are being repaired on site. He noted that the term “in so far as possible,” which introduces the condition in question, could potentially be viewed as allowing the storage of motor vehicles on the site if the storage was in connection with the service station use. He also suggested that parking of vehicles is necessary to support the preexisting nonconforming or otherwise permitted commercial use on the Property.
Members agreed that the Board, in allowing the use in 1959, did not intend to allow it in such a manner that would it could not effectively operate. Parking for employees of the service station is minimally required for operation. Members noted that a number of customers testified during the hearing that they must also temporarily leave their vehicles on the Property. The use as it has existed since at least 1959 does not operate like a drive-through, similar to a Jiffy Lube, where customers remain in their vehicles while serviced. Members indicated that it would be reasonable for a number of customer vehicles to remain onsite for some period of time while awaiting pick up by customers or delivery of parts required for repair. The Board committed to interpret the relevant condition of the 1959 Decision in its assessment of this Administrative Appeal.
FINDINGS and DECISION:
Upon a motion made by Joseph M. Fisher and seconded by Joseph W. Freeman, and based upon the information submitted and received at the hearings, and the deliberations and discussions of members during the hearings, the Board voted unanimously to:
1. Find that the February 10, 1959 Variance Decision limits the storage of vehicles, but not the parking of vehicles by employees or customers of the service station whose vehicles are in the process of active repair. Vehicles shall be deemed to be in the process of active repair if awaiting delivery of parts necessary for repair or service. The following shall be deemed to be storage, which is prohibited by the conditions of the 1959 Decision: unregistered vehicles, vehicles for sale, or nonautomotive vehicles and equipment, and vehicles not otherwise in active repair.
2. Uphold the Building Commissioner’s determination, dated November 9, 2017, to the extent that the vehicles referenced therein were being stored on the Property and reverse the Building Commissioner’s determination, dated November 9, 2017, to the extent that the vehicles referenced therein were being parked on the Property in connection with the permitted use.
This Decision shall not become effective until (i) the Town Clerk as certified on a copy of this decision that twenty (20) days have elapsed after the decision has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk and no appeal has been filed or that if such an appeal has been filed, that it has been dismissed or denied, and that (ii): a copy thereof has been duly recorded in the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds and indexed in the grantor index under the name of the owner of record or is recorded and noted on the owner’s certificate of title.
For the Board of Appeals,
Robyn S. Maguire
May 2, 2018