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Board of Appeals



Applicant/Owner: William L. and Caroline C. Counselman
63 Lincoln Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Property: 63 Lincoln Street, Hingham, MA 02043

Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 38580, Page 11

Plan References: Site plan entitled, “Existing Conditions Plan, 63 Lincoln Street -Hingham, MA,” prepared by Cavanaro Consulting, 687 Main Street, Norwell, MA, dated September 12, 2017 (1 Sheet) and an architectural plan set entitled, "Counselman Garage, 63 Lincoln Street, Hingham, Massachusetts," prepared by Sally Weston Associates, 222 North Street, Hingham, MA, dated June 19, 2018 (10 Drawings)


This matter came before the Zoning Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the application of William L. and Caroline C. Counselman (collectively the “Applicant”) for a Finding under M.G.L., c. 40A, § 6 and such other relief as necessary to expand an existing nonconforming garage at 63 Lincoln Street in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on June 19, 2018 at Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular member Joseph M. Fisher, Acting Chair, and associate members Joseph W. Freeman and Michael Mercurio. The Applicant and the project architect, Sally Weston, appeared to present the application. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to make the requested Finding to expand the existing nonconforming garage on the Property.

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 26,328 SF of land located at the corner of Lincoln Street and Miles Road. The lot is improved by a single-family dwelling (ca. 1909) and detached accessory structure. While the dwelling is conforming with respect to dimensional standards, the existing garage is located just 2.7’ from the rear property line where a 15’ setback is presently required.

The proposed plan would extend the nonconforming accessory structure toward the front, such that the addition would be fully conforming to both side and rear setbacks. The resulting (39’x24’) structure would provide accessory garage and storage space on the ground floor and an exercise room would be located on the second floor.

The applicant requests a Finding from the Board in order to permit the extension. The protections of M.G.L. c. 40A, § 6, first paragraph, states in part that:

... a zoning ordinance or by-law...shall apply to any change or substantial extension of such use, to a building or special permit issued after the first notice of said public hearing, to any reconstruction, extension or structural change of such structure and to any alteration of a structure ... to provide for its use for a substantially different purpose or for the same purpose in a substantially different manner... Pre-existing nonconforming structures or uses may be extended or altered, provided, that no such extension or alteration shall be permitted unless there is a finding by the permit granting authority . . . that such change, extension or alteration shall not be substantially more detrimental than the existing nonconforming use to the neighborhood.

When read together, these portions of the statue provide that changes to nonconforming structures may be permitted if (1) the extensions or changes themselves comply with the by-law and (2) the structures as extended or changed are found to be not substantially more detrimental to the neighborhood than the preexisting nonconforming structure.

The proposed plan shows that there would be no increase in the extent of the nonconforming structure resulting from the project. The portion of the existing detached garage located within the rear yard setback will remain as it presently exists with only a minor alteration in the pitch of the roofline. As noted above, the proposed new construction will conform to the dimensional requirements of the Zoning By-Law. As a result, the Board may consider making a finding that the proposed extension to the preexisting nonconforming garage would not adversely impact or be a detriment to the neighborhood.

With the application, the Board received written letters of support from two abutters to the Property.


Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, and the deliberations and discussion during the hearing, the Board determined that the proposed extension and alteration to the pre-existing nonconforming accessory structure will not be substantially more detrimental than the existing nonconforming use to the neighborhood. Upon a motion made by Joseph W. Freeman and seconded by Michael Mercurio, the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested Finding pursuant to M.G.L. c. 40A, § 6 in connection with the proposed expansion of the existing nonconforming garage located at 63 Lincoln Street in Residence District A, provided that the Applicant proceeds in accordance with the plans and representations as presented to 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,

Joseph M. Fisher
July 27, 2018