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Board of Appeals



Applicant/Owner: Julie and Brian Donovan
6 Blue Sky Drive
Hingham, MA 02043

Property: 6 Blue Sky Drive, Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 15374, Page 285


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Julie and Brian Donovan (collectively, the “Applicant”) for an Administrative Appeal of the Building Commissioner’s determination, dated June 20, 2019, that a business as defined under § III-A, 3.4 of the Zoning By-Law, is being operated from the property at 6 Blue Sky Drive in Residence District B.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on July 23, 2019 at the Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular member Paul K. Healey, Acting Chair, and associate members Mario Romania, Jr. and Michael Mercurio. The Applicant was represented by Julie Donovan during the hearing. Special Counsel, Susan C. Murphy, Esq., Dain, Torpy, Le Ray, Wiest & Garner, P.C., appeared to assist the Board. The Building Commissioner, Michael Clancy, also appeared to present to the Board. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to deny the request, thereby upholding the Building Commissioner’s determination.

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 Building Commissioner issued a cease and desist order to the Applicant on June 20, 2019. The order followed an anonymous complaint made to the Hingham Police Department on June 17, 2019 alleging that the Applicant was operating either a drop-off summer camp or unlicensed childcare facility from the subject property. A patrol officer visited the neighborhood and observed approximately 25 children of various ages on the property. The Police Department then contacted the Hingham Board of Health, confirming that the property owner did not have a permit to operate a camp. The Massachusetts Department of Early Education (EEC) also confirmed that the owners did not have a license to operate a childcare facility. Upon further investigation, the Police Department found a Facebook page advertising a fee-based drop-off summer camp located on the property that operates weekdays between the hours of 9:15 am– 12:00 pm. The EEC conducted an unannounced site visit on June 20, 2019 and observed approximately 20 children on the property.

Based on this information, the Building Commissioner determined that the Applicant was in violation of Section III-A, 3.4 of the By-Law, which requires a special permit from the Board in order to operate the following use:
Nursery school or other use for the day care of children, other than as exempted under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40A, Section 3, or a privately organized camp, providing any outdoor play area is at such a distance and so screened front any residential structure on an adjoining lot as to avoid a noise nuisance...

On June 25, 2019, the EEC then ordered that the owner “stop providing all unlicensed child care immediately.” Subsequently, on July 1, 2019, both state and local officials observed 30-40 children on the property. As a result, EEC issued a second cease and desist order to the Applicant on July 23, 2019.

The Applicant represented, both in the submitted application and during the hearing, that her family, which includes two adults and four teenagers, is instead providing a babysitting service. Since the initial EEC order stated in part that caring for unrelated children outside the home of the children without a license from EEC is illegal, the Board instead found that the use operated from the site could not be considered “babysitting” as that use is customarily conducted at the home of the children, as opposed to the home of the caregiver.

During the hearing, the Executive Health Director, Susan Sarni, and Fire Marshal, Lieutenant Chris DiNapoli, raised certain public health and safety concerns, particularly related to the presence of a swimming pool on the property in light of the absence of any required permits to operate a child care facility or privately organized camp on site. An abutter also commented during the hearing on the traffic impacts resulting from the operation of the use on the site.


Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, and the deliberations and discussions of members during the meeting, the Board determined that the Building Commissioner acted appropriately in issuing a cease and desist order for the operation of an unlicensed childcare facility or unpermitted privately organized camp on the property.

Upon a motion made by Mario Romania, Jr. and seconded by Michael Mercurio, the Board voted unanimously to DENY the requested administrative appeal and uphold the Building Commissioner’s determination, dated June 20, 2019.

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 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,

Paul K. Healey
October 1, 2019