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TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
NOTICE OF DECISION
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant: Gary V. & Mary Christine Jacobson
171 Otis Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Owner: Otis Street 171 Condominium Trust
c/o Gary & Mary Christine Jacobson
171 Otis Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Property: 169-171 Otis Street, Hingham, MA 02043
Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 44893, Page 328
Plan Reference: Plan entitled, “Existing and Proposed Conditions Plan,” prepared by Nantasket Survey Engineering, LLC, 46 Edgewater Road, Hull, MA, dated February 1, 2016 and revised through April 21, 2017
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Gary V. & Mary Christine Jacobson (collectively, the “Applicant”) for a Special Permit A1 under § III-C of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to maintain and reconfigure an existing pier and add an aluminum ramp and bottom-anchored floats at 169-171 Otis Street in Residence A and the Floodplain Protection Overlay District.
A public hearing was duly noticed and opened on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 7:00 PM at Hingham Town Hall. The Board panel consisted of regular members Robyn S. Maguire, Chairman, and Paul K. Healey, and associate member Joseph Ruccio. The Applicant appeared to represent the request to the Board along with Attorney Adam Brodsky, Drohan Tocchio and Morgan, P.C. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested Special Permit A1 under § III-C of the By-Law with conditions as 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.
BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION
The subject property consists of 11,374 SF of land improved by two single-family dwellings and related accessory structures. The Applicant owns Unit 171 of the Property. An existing pier, which the Applicant now intends to repair, is located on the common areas of the Property and within the Floodplain Protection Overlay District (FEMA Flood Zone VE (el. 16)). The Applicant represented that the existing pier at this location was approved by MassDEP under an Interim Approval and constructed in 1995; however, it does not appear as if the Board previously issued a special permit for the structure. The Town adopted the “Flood Plain & Watershed Protection District” in March 1969. Like the current iteration, the “Floodplain Protection Overlay District,” the original bylaw allowed “duck-walks and boat landings” within residential districts by special permit. Since a special permit was not previously issued for the pier, the Applicant now seeks approval to repair and modify the structure by adding a ramp and float system. The existing 1,056 SF pier will be receive new beveled decking, spaced ¾” apart. An (4’x20’) aluminum ramp would extend from the pier to a new (10’x20’) float with 18” skids.
The Commission then issued an Order of Conditions for the project on June 5, 2017. The Order includes a number of construction-related conditions, including limitations on construction periods, materials, and storage of the seasonal float. During the hearing, Attorney Brodsky confirmed that the project had since received a Chapter 91 License.
The Board approved an identical request in 2017. Unfortunately, the special permit, dated July 18, 2017, lapsed before the Applicant was able to commence the use. Since the prior application, the Applicant removed the then-existing dock from the site; however, demolition alone does preserve rights of the lapsed special permit since demolition doesn’t qualify as “substantial use” of the permit. During the hearing, abutters to the property additionally expressed concern that the proposed dock to be reconstructed is too large in size. The Board noted that the reconstructed dock will be the same size as the former dock and serve two dwellings.
Based upon the information submitted and received, the prior decision issued by the Board on July 18, 2017, and the deliberations and discussions of Board members during the hearing, the Board has determined that:
a. The proposed use of the site is in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Zoning By-Law, for the following reasons:
The proposed use of the Property for a pier and float is in harmony with the general purposes of the By-Law. The project will not affect the public health, safety, or welfare.
b. The proposed use complies with the purposes and standards of the relevant specific sections of this By-Law, for the following reasons:
The proposed project complies with the purposes of the Floodplain Protection Overlay District By-Law as it will not result in any flood hazard. The By-Law specifically allows “duck walks and boat landings” upon the issuance of a special permit.
c. The specific site is an appropriate location for such use, structure, or condition, compatible with the characteristics of the surrounding area, for the following reasons:
The Property is located within the Residence A Zoning District surrounded by other residential dwellings, many of which also include piers and similar structures; thus, the proposed construction is consistent with the characteristics of the neighborhood. Moreover, a dock of similar size previously existed in this location.
d. The use as developed and operated will create positive impacts or potential adverse impacts will be mitigated, for the following reasons:
The project will promote outdoor recreation in a manner consistent with the purposes of the By-Law. Potential adverse impacts will be mitigated through compliance with conditions of the Conservation Commission’s Order of Conditions, dated June 5, 2017, and this Decision.
e. There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians, for the following reasons:
The project will not result in any nuisance or hazard to vehicles or pedestrians. The project will also not interfere with existing recreational use of the Hingham Water Ski Area or the waterfront more generally.
f. Adequate and appropriate facilities exist or will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use, for the following reasons:
g. The proposed Project meets accepted design standards and criteria for the functional design of facilities, structures, stormwater management, and site construction, for the following reasons:
The project meets accepted design standards including the best measures. Reconstruction will provide measures for storm damage prevention.
For the reasons set forth hereinabove, and upon a motion made by Paul K. Healey and seconded by Joseph Ruccio, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested Special Permit A1 under § III-C of the By-Law to maintain and repair an existing pier and add an aluminum ramp and float system at 169-171 Otis Street in Residence A and the Floodplain Protection Overlay District, subject to the following conditions:
1. The project shall be completed in a manner consistent with the referenced plans and representations made by the Applicant.
2. The float and anchors shall bear the identification of the owner or address of the property, such that if they break loose or float away the owner can be identified.
3. No lights shall be installed on the pier, ramp, or float.
4. No ornamentation (flags, lights, windsocks, etc.) shall be erected or placed on the pier, ramp, or float.
5. The Applicant shall filed an as-built plan with the Zoning Board following project completion.
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
April 15, 2020