View Other Items in this Archive | View All Archives | Printable Version

Board of Appeals



Applicant/Owner: Raymond C. and Susan P. Dupras
24 Emerald Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Property: 24 Emerald Street, Hingham, MA 02043

Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 13787, Page 2

Plan References: Site plan entitled, “Existing House, 24 Emerald Street, Hingham, MA,” prepared by Essex Eng. & Survey, PO Box 650217, West Newton, MA, dated December 20, 2017 (1 Sheet) and an unstamped architectural plan entitled, "Dupras Residence," dated April 5, 2018 (1 Drawings)


This matter came before the Zoning Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the application of Raymond C. and Susan P. Dupras (collectively the “Applicant”) for a Finding under M.G.L., c. 40A, § 6 and such other relief as necessary to attach a single-family dwelling to an existing barn and convert the single-family dwelling to a two-family dwelling at 24 Emerald Street in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on June 19, 2018 at Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street, along with a concurrent hearing on an application for a Special Permit A1 under § III-A, 1.2 of the Zoning By-Law. The Board panel consisted of its regular member Joseph M. Fisher, Acting Chair, and associate members Joseph W. Freeman and Michael Mercurio. The Applicant appeared to present the application along with Jeffrey Tocchio, Esq. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to make the requested Finding to attach a single-family dwelling to an existing nonconforming barn and to convert the single-family dwelling to a two-family dwelling.

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 39,604 SF of land. Located on the north side of Emerald Street, the lot also has frontage on Thayer Street and an unconstructed portion of Bates Way. The lot is presently improved by a single family dwelling built during the late 19th century in the Greek revival style. The dwelling includes ten rooms, excluding halls and baths. A detached barn is also located on the property. This accessory structure sits to the immediate rear of the dwelling within the northerly side yard setback.

The proposed plan would connect the two existing structures to one another by way of an addition that would range from approximately 4’ to 7’ in depth and approximately 30’ in length. The proposed addition will conform to the setbacks required under the By-Law in Residence District A; however, the connection itself will technically result in a change of use in the barn from that of an "Accessory Building" to a "Single Family Dwelling".

The applicant requests a Finding from the Board in order to permit the connection. 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 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.

There would be no increase in the extent of the nonconforming structure resulting from the proposed project. The portion of the detached barn located within the side yard setback will remain as it presently exists. And as noted above, the proposed new construction will conform to the dimensional requirements of the Zoning By-Law. The change in use from Accessory Building to Single Family Dwelling resulting from the proposed extension to the preexisting nonconforming garage would not adversely impact or be a detriment to the neighborhood.

The Applicant also seeks a Special Permit A1 in order to convert the single-family to a two-family dwelling. Section III-A, 1.2 of the By-Law allows the alteration and conversion of a single-family dwelling existing as of March 10, 1941 and consisting of at least six rooms, exclusive of hall and baths, to a two-family dwelling. According to the Assessor records, the existing single family dwelling was constructed in 1870 and again consists of ten rooms, including 4 bedrooms. These details satisfy both the date-based and size criteria for conversion. Section III-A, 1.2 also requires the converted structure to maintain the appearance of a single-family dwelling. Aside from the modest addition to the rear of the existing dwelling, which will connect the structure to the barn, no significant exterior changes would be required in order to accommodate two families.

During the hearing, an abutter to the Property appeared to express support for the project.


Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, and the deliberations and discussion during the hearing, the Board determined that the proposed construction 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 connection of a single-family dwelling to an existing nonconforming barn and conversion of the resulting single-family dwelling to a two-family dwelling at 24 Emerald Street in Residence District A, subject to the following conditions:

1. The work shall be completed in accordance with the approved architectural plans and representations made during the public hearing, including the representation that the proposed additional dwelling unit shall consist of no more than 2-bedrooms.

2. Prior to application for a building permit, the applicant shall submit an updated site plan to reflect the improvements represented on the approved architectural plans, as well as a floor plan for the second floor of the proposed dwelling.

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 W. Freeman
August 9, 2018