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TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
NOTICE OF DECISION
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant/Owners: Conner Fitzgerald & Caroline Hines
227 Otis Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Property: 227 Otis Street, Hingham, MA 02043
Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 46385, Page 243 and Certificate of Title No. 122835 issued by the Plymouth County Registry District of the Land Court
Plan References: "Site Plan to Accompany ZBA Application, 227 Otis Street, Hingham, MA 02043," prepared by Cavanaro Consulting, 687 Main Street, Norwell, MA, dated April 22, 2019
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS:
This matter came before the Zoning Board of Appeals on the application of Connor Fitzgerald and Caroline Hines (collectively, the "Applicant") for a Variance from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to install mechanical equipment resulting in a 12’ side yard setback where 15’ is required at 227 Otis Street in Residence District A.
A public hearing was duly noticed and held on May 21, 2019 at Hingham Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular member Robyn S. Maguire, Acting Chairman, and associate members Mario Romania, Jr. and Michael Mercurio. The Applicant appeared to represent the application to the Board. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested relief subject to conditions contained herein.
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 17,971 SF of land located on the north side of Otis Street. The property also backs up to Walton Cove, with a significant area at the rear of the property delineated as wetland resource area, including mud flats, salt marsh, and coastal bank. Approximately two thirds of the lot is also located in a mapped floodplain (FEMA Flood Zone AE (el. 10)). Exposed ledge impacts a portion of the remaining buildable portion of the property.
The lot is improved by a single-family dwelling (ca. 1968). During a recent renovation of the structure, mechanical equipment was placed within the western side yard setback. The Applicant seeks relief in order to maintain this equipment 12’ from the property line. The abutting owner at 231 Otis Street submitted a letter indicating that he did not oppose the location of the condenser units.
During the hearing, the Applicant described the existing vegetative buffer along the side property line. The Board discussed additional screening to mitigate the potential visual and/or auditory impacts associated with mechanical equipment.
Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, and the deliberations and discussions of the Board members during the meeting, the Board has determined that:
1. There are circumstances relating to soil conditions, shape or topography especially affecting the land but not affecting generally the zoning district. A significant portion of the property, which backs up to Walton Cove, consists of wetland resource area, including mud flats, salt marsh, and coastal bank. Approximately two thirds of the lot is also located in a mapped floodplain (FEMA Flood Zone AE (el. 10)). Finally, exposed ledge outcropping impact a portion of the remaining buildable portion of the property. These conditions in combination with the placement of the existing dwelling on the lot, are not generally found in the zoning district.
2. The literal enforcement of the Bylaws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. Air conditioning is a common improvement in the neighborhood and residential districts. Absent relief, the Applicant would not have the same enjoyment of the property as others in the district. A grant of a Variance in this instance will allow for a reasonable placement, outside wetland resource area and floodplain, in a manner consistent with a single family use in the Residence A zoning district.
3. A variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. Any potential visual or auditory impacts associated with the mechanical equipment will be mitigated through maintenance of the existing vegetation along the westerly side property line and installation of additional screening in accordance with a condition of this Decision. There will be no harm to the public good.
4. A variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the Bylaw. The proposed incursion is modest in size and the chosen location, combined with maintenance and addition of screening required as a condition of this Decision, will minimize potential visual or auditory impacts on abutters. The granting of a dimensional variance in this instance is consistent with the purposes of the By-Law.
Upon a motion made by Mario Romania, Jr. and seconded by Michael Mercurio, the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested Variance from § IV-A of the By-Law to install mechanical equipment resulting in a 12’ side yard setback where 15’ is required at 227 Otis Street in Residence District A, subject to the following conditions:
1. The rights authorized by this Variance shall expire one year from the date this Decision is filed with the Town Clerk, unless exercised or extended in accordance with the terms of M.G.L. c. 40A, § 10.
2. The Applicant shall install the mechanical equipment in a manner consistent with the approved plans and the representations made during the hearing before the Board.
3. The Applicant shall maintain the existing vegetation along the westerly side property line and either i) plant additional vegetation or ii) install other screening such as a fence to enclose the unit to a height equal to or greater than the height of the unit, in order to screen the mechanical equipment. To demonstrate compliance with this Condition, the Applicant shall submit a plan to the Zoning Administrator prior to application for a building permit.
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
July 31, 2019