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Board of Appeals



Applicant/Owner: Craig & Jennifer Caudill
39 Smith Road
Hingham, MA 02043

Property: 39 Smith Road Hingham, MA 02043

Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 40047, Page 313

Plan References: "Plot Plan of Land,” prepared by Perkins Engineering, Inc., 160 Old Derby Street, Suite 111, Hingham, MA, dated January 8, 2019 (1 Sheet)

“Caudill Residence, 39 Smith Road, Back Yard Shed Elevation Design,” unsigned, undated, received by the Board on January 14, 2019 (1 Drawing)


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the application of Craig & Jennifer Caudill ( collectively, the "Applicant") for a Variance from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law (the "By-Law") and such other relief as necessary to locate two sheds within the required 15’ setback at 39 Smith Road in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and opened on December 18, 2018 at Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street. At the Applicant’s request, the Board continued the matter without the receipt of testimony to a subsequent session held on January 15, 2019. Prior to the continued hearing, on January 14, 2019, the Applicant submitted a surveyed site plan of proposed conditions and elevation drawings, making the application complete. As depicted on the referenced plot plan, the proposed rear shed would result in 6.5’ side yard and 4.4’ rear yard setbacks and the proposed front shed would result in a 1.3’ side yard setback. The hearing was further continued by the Board to the regular meeting of February 12, 2019, during which the Applicant withdrew the requested relief associated with the proposed front shed.

The Board panel consisted of its regular member Joseph M. Fisher, Chair, and associate members Joseph W. Freeman and Mario Romania, Jr. The Applicant appeared to represent the application. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested relief associated with the proposed rear shed as modified with 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.


The subject property consists of 12,800 SF of land located on the east side of Smith Road. The Property is improved by an existing single-family dwelling. A driveway, patio, and onsite wastewater disposal system support the existing dwelling.

The Applicant filed the Variance application after receiving an order from the Building Department to stop work on two sheds that would be located within required setbacks. With the application, the Board received a written description of the project prepared by the Applicant’s builder, which presented details that conflicted with plans prepared by the Applicant’s landscape architect. In order to both complete the application and clear up identified discrepancies, the Applicant provided the Board with a revised plot plan that more clearly shows the extent of requested relief. According to the revised plan, the rear shed would be located a minimum of 4.4’ from the rear property line and 6.5’ from the south side property line. The front shed would be located just 1.3’ from the northerly side property line. The Applicant also prepared and submitted dimensioned drawings of the proposed sheds. The rear shed would be 12’1.5” W x 14’ L x 11’2” H. The front shed would be 6’2” W x 10’2” L x 6’8” H.

The Applicant pointed to several factors that distinguish the lot from others in the district. These include an unusual shape as the lot is narrower in width (80’ front and rear) than depth (160’ sides). Variable topography also affects the lot. Finally, the location of the existing leaching field limits by-right construction to the rear of the existing dwelling.

During the first substantive hearing held on January 15, 2019, members expressed some concern that the project may not comply with the statutory requirements, but agreed to conduct individual site visits in order to better understand the property constraints. Members reported during the subsequent hearing on February 12, 2019 that the property is more affected by grade changes than others in the area. The Board also noted that many properties in the surrounding neighborhood had similarly located sheds in rear yards; however, none appeared to maintain sheds within front yards. After discussion, the Applicant formally modified the Variance application to eliminate the requested relief associated with the proposed front shed. The Board committed to review the statutory criteria in its assessment of this modified Variance application.


Based on the information submitted and presented during the hearing, and the deliberations and discussions of the Board during the hearing, the Board made the following findings.

1. Circumstances related to soil, shape, or topography especially affect the land or structures in question: The subject property has an unusual shape due to a substantially narrower width than depth. The lot is impacted by variable topography. These conditions, in combination with the location of the existing improvements on the lot, including an onsite wastewater disposal system to the rear of the preexisting nonconforming single-family dwelling, 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 narrow lot shape and variable topography in relation to the location of the existing dwelling and associated wastewater disposal system presents physical and practical difficulties to by-right construction elsewhere on the lot. A grant of a variance in this instance will allow for the reasonable improvement of the property in a manner consistent with other single family dwellings in the neighborhood.

3. A Variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The proposed improvements 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.

4. A Variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the By-Law. The granting of a dimensional variance will permit the location of an allowed accessory use on the property. Relief is consistent with the purposes of the By-Law.


Upon a motion made by Joseph W. Freeman and seconded by Mario Romania, Jr., the Board voted unanimously to:

1. Accept the Applicant’s modified application to eliminate the proposed front shed, granting a withdrawal without prejudice of the requested relief associated with the structure; and

2. Grant a Variance from § IV-A of the By-Law to locate a rear (12’1.5” W x 14’ L x 11’2” H) shed a minimum of 4.4’ from the rear property line and 6.5’ from the south side property line where 15’ setbacks are required at 39 Smith Road in Residence District A provided that the proposed work shall be completed 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 County 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,

Joseph M. Fisher, Chair
February 25, 2019