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Board of Appeals



Applicant/Owner: Dania and Peter Matheos
155 Otis Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Agents: Heidi AH Condon
HC Design Inc.
146 Front Street, Suite #211
Scituate, MA 02066

Premises/Property: 155 Otis Street, Hingham, MA 02043

Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 47772, Page 59

Plan References: Architectural plan set prepared by HC Design Inc., 146 Front Street, Suite #211, Scituate, MA, dated February 28, 2019 (5 Drawings)

“Site Plan,” prepared by Ross Engineering Company, Inc., 683 Main Street, Norwell, MA, dated February 6, 2019 (1 Sheet)


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the application of Dania and Peter Matheos (collectively, the "Applicant") for a Special Permit A1 under § III-A, 1.2 of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to alter and convert an existing single-family dwelling to a two-family dwelling at 155 Otis Street in Residence District A.

The Board opened a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on the application on March 25, 2019. A continued hearing was held on April 8, 2019. The Board panel consisted of its regular members Joseph M. Fisher, Chair, and Robyn S. Maguire and associate member Mario Romania, Jr. The Applicant’s Agent, Heidi Condon from HC Design, appeared to represent 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 37,224 SF of land located on the easterly side of Otis Street. Hingham Harbor lies to the rear. The property is improved by a single-family dwelling and barn with a workshop and sleeping quarters. The two structures are attached by way of an unenclosed breezeway. In 2002, the Building Commissioner denied a permit to include a bedroom and a full bathroom in this accessory structure. Upon Appeal, the Board found that the occasional use of the structure for overnight guests was permissible as an accessory use “customarily incidental” to the principal use on the property. Additionally, the Board found that the time that the property would retain the status of a single-family dwelling, as opposed to a two-family dwelling, due to the absence of any cooking facilities in the barn.

Section VI defines a Two-Family Dwelling as follows: “A dwelling intended and designed to be occupied as two separate dwelling units.” The definition of Dwelling Unit reads as follows: “One or more rooms providing complete living facilities for one household, including rooms and facilities for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.”

The current application requests a special permit to convert the overall structure to a two-family use with the addition of a second full kitchen to be located within the barn together with bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas. While the design of the resulting structure could clearly support two households, the owners in fact intend to reside in the proposed second unit themselves while the existing single-family dwelling is renovated. Once the renovation is complete, the owners represented that the second dwelling unit would be used less frequently, reserved primarily for overnight guests. In essence, the second unit would in the future function much like a guest house.

The application was filed under Section III-A, 1.2 of the By-Law, which allows by special permit 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 accommodate not more than two families. According to the Assessor records, the existing single family dwelling was constructed in 1875 and consists of thirteen rooms, including 4 bedrooms. The attached barn consists of five rooms, including two-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 garage addition and breezeway enclosure, no significant exterior changes would be required in order to accommodate two families.

A number of abutters and residents appeared at the public hearings and expressed support but also concerns about precedent, potential rental opportunity and impact on their property values in the future. The Applicant’s agent said there was no intent to rent the dwelling unit. Use of the entire property would be limited to a single family, included extended family members. Substantial discussion took place during the hearing about conditions that could mitigate these concerns within the boundaries of the By-Law.


Based on the information submitted and presented during the hearing, and deliberations and discussions of the Board during the hearing, the Board made the following findings in accordance with the Special Permit Approval Criteria under Section I-F, 2:

a. Use of the property is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Zoning By-Law. The proposed two-family use is in harmony with the purposes and intent of the By-Law because this is a residential use in a residential district. The proposed second unit will not affect the public health, safety, or welfare.

b. The proposed use complies with the purposes and standards of the relevant sections of the By-Law. The existing single-family dwelling was constructed in 1875, well before the 1941 date-based requirement, and consists of more than six rooms, exclusive of halls and bathrooms, as required by § III-A, 1.2 of the By-Law. The second unit will be located within the existing barn and will not alter the character of the principal structure from that of a single-family dwelling.

c. The specific site is an appropriate location for the proposed use and is compatible with the characteristics of the surrounding area. The exterior of the structure will maintain the appearance of a single-family dwelling, consistent with others in the neighborhood.

d. The use as developed and operated will create positive impacts or potential adverse impacts will be mitigated. There will be no adverse impacts associated with the proposed use of the property as a two-family dwelling.

e. There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians. A garage addition, along with a sizeable driveway on the property, provides ample parking for the proposed two-family use. There will be no nuisance or hazard resulting from the conversion.

f. Adequate and appropriate facilities exist or will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use. Adequate facilities exist for wastewater disposal and onsite parking.

g. The proposal meets accepted design standards and criteria for the functional design of facilities, structures, stormwater management, and site construction. The proposal meets accepted design standards.


Upon a motion made by Robyn S. Maguire and seconded by Mario Romania, Jr., the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested Special Permit A1 under § III-A, 1.2 of the By-Law to alter and convert an existing single-family dwelling to a two-family dwelling at 155 Otis Street in Residence District A, subject to the following conditions:

1. The work shall be completed in accordance with the approved plans and representations made to the Board during the public hearing.

2. Upon the sale or other conveyance or transfer of the property, if the new owner wishes to maintain the Special Permit for the two-family use, such new owner must, within thirty (30) days of such transfer, submit a notarized letter to the Building Commissioner certifying that the new owner will comply with the terms of this Special Permit.

3. Neither of the dwelling units may be sold, leased, or otherwise conveyed or transferred separately from the other. The owner shall recertify annually, by submission of a notarized letter to the Building Commissioner, compliance with this condition.

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,

Robyn S. Maguire, Chair
June 20, 2019