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TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant/Owner: Robert and Lindsey Flynn
84 Whitcomb Avenue
Hingham, MA 02043
Premises: 84 Whitcomb Avenue, Hingham, MA 02043
Title Reference: Certificate of Title No. 125861 issued by the Plymouth County Registry District of the Land Court
Plan References: Site plan entitled, "Proposed Addition, 84 Whitcomb, Hingham, MA," prepared Morse Engineering Co., Inc., 19 union Street, Scituate, MA, dated March 8, 2018 (1 Sheet) and architectural plans, including existing and proposed elevations, unsigned, undated (2 Drawings)
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS:
This matter came before the Zoning Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the application of Robert and Lindsey Flynn (collectively, the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) to replace an existing detached two car garage with an attached two-car garage (22.5’x27.5’) with living space above resulting in an additional 36.5 SF incursion into the required 20’ side yard setback at 84 Whitcomb Ave in Residence District B.
A public hearing was duly noticed and held on April 10, 2018 at Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular members Robyn S. Maguire, Chair, and Joseph M. Fisher, and associate member Alan M. Kearney. The Applicant appeared to present the application. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested relief to replace an existing detached two car garage with an attached two-car garage with living space above, 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 17,203 SF of land located to the east of Whitcomb Avenue and to the west of Cushing Pond. The lot is improved by a single-family dwelling (ca. 1950) and detached two-car garage. The existing garage sits just 9’ from the (south) side property line. Since the minimum setback requirement in effect at the time of its initial construction was just 5’, the garage is considered preexisting nonconforming. The Applicant represents in the submitted narrative that the existing garage, in addition to a small shed attached thereto, are in poor condition and deemed unstable.
The proposed plan would remove the existing garage and attached shed from the property. A new garage would be constructed in the same approximate footprint as the existing garage with a 5’ extension toward the front of the property. Approximately 2/3rds of the proposed extension would be allowed by-right, but an approximate 36.5 SF incursion into the required side yard setback would require relief. Due to the angled position of the existing dwelling, the extension would not however reduce the nonconforming setback associated with the existing garage. The proposed plan would also connect the proposed garage to the existing dwelling by way of a mudroom addition. This portion of the project is conforming with respect to all setbacks.
During the hearing, the Applicant pointed to a numbers of factors that distinguish this property from others in the district. The lot has an unusual shape that is influenced by the bank associated with Cushing Pond. Regulatory setbacks associated with this resource limit the rear of the property. The Board of Health also recently approved a new septic location that limits the opposite side of the property.
Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, and the deliberations and discussion 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 affected by an unusual shape that is influenced by the bank associated with Cushing Pond to the east and an approved septic location in the northern portion of the lot. These conditions, in combination with the location of the existing improvements on the lot and unusual angled property lines, especially affect 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 Cushing Pond and associated wetland resource areas to the rear and approved septic system to the north of the existing dwelling present both regulatory and physical difficulties to by-right construction elsewhere on the lot. Absent relief the Applicant would be required to maintain a deteriorated garage that has been deemed unstable. A grant of a variance in this instance will allow for the reasonable expansion of an existing garage that is consistent with other single-family uses in the area.
3. A Variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The proposed garage addition will not create any noise, traffic, or result in other similar negative impacts. There will be no adverse effects on the neighborhood and there will be no harm to the public good resulting from the proposed construction. Alternative options not pursued would have resulted in removal of significant shade trees.
4. A Variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the By-Law. The requested relief will permit a modest expansion into the side yard setback of 36.5 SF for an attached garage, which is a permitted accessory use. 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 Alan M. Kearney, the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested Variance from § IV-A of the By-Law and such other relief as necessary to replace an existing detached two car garage with an attached two-car garage (22.5’x27.5’) with living space above resulting in an additional 36.5 SF incursion into the required 20’ side yard setback at 84 Whitcomb Ave in Residence District B, 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.
The zoning relief granted herein shall not become effective until (i) the Town Clerk has 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 Zoning Board of Appeals,
Robyn S. Maguire
May 14, 2018