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TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
NOTICE OF DECISION
IN THE MATTER OF:
Owner/Applicant: David Madden
11 Union Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Agent: Scott Golding, Esq.
175 Derby Street, Suite 30
Hingham, MA 02043
Property: 11 Union Street, Hingham, MA 02043
Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 44314, Page 108
Plan References: (1) “Plot Plan of Land,” prepared by Hoyt Land Surveying, 1287 Washington Street, Weymouth, MA, dated November 7, 2019, modified to eliminate the proposed attached garage and resubmitted on June 16, 2020 (1 Sheet); and
(2) “Madden Residence, Schematic Design Plans,” prepared by Aprea Design, 5 Ringbolt Road, Hingham, MA, dated November 15, 2019 (6 Drawings)
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of David Madden (the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to replace an existing detached garage located 2.7 feet from the north property line with an attached garage, with living space above, resulting in a 3’ side yard setback, where 15’ is required, and construct an addition to the rear of an existing dwelling, resulting in a 13’ side yard setback where a minimum of 13.3’ is permissible, at 11 Union Street in Residence District A.
The Board opened the initial, duly noticed public hearing on the application during a meeting held in Hingham Town Hall on December 17, 2019. A substantive session of the hearing was held January 21, 2020. Pursuant to (1) the Order issued by the Governor of Massachusetts, dated March 12, 2020, Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law and applicable provisions of the Open Meeting Law found at 940 CMR 29 et seq., the Board also held a substantive hearing on the matter by remote participation on June 23, 2020. The Board panel consisted of regular member Paul K. Healey, Acting Chairman, and associate members Joseph Ruccio and Andrew Touchette. The Applicant was represented during the hearings by Scott Golding, Esq., Drohan, Tocchio and Morgan P.C. During the hearing, the Applicant modified the proposed plan to eliminate the need for a Variance from the required north side yard setback. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to approve the requested withdrawal without prejudice of the relief related to the north side yard setback and to grant the requested south side yard setback relief, 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.
BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION
The subject property consists of 12,541 SF of land located on the west side of Union Street. The lot has a moderately irregular shape with 75 linear feet of frontage that narrows to 59’ at the rear property line. The lot is improved by a single-family dwelling (ca. 1880) that maintains a nonconforming side yard setback of 13.3’ from the south property line. A detached garage/shed (ca. 1965) located toward the rear of the property likewise maintains a nonconforming setback of 2.7’ from the north side property line. Finally, the submitted plot plan depicts the components of the onsite wastewater disposal system, including a septic field and tank, in the far rear of the property.
Originally Proposed Project
The originally proposed plan called for construction of an addition to both sides and the rear of the existing dwelling. As proposed, the existing two-story bay window projection on the south side elevation, which established the nonconforming setback of 13.3’, would be squared off in order to expand the living room on the first floor and a bedroom on the second. The existing kitchen would likewise be widened and reconfigured to include an additional staircase to access the second floor. Related changes on the next level include replacement of an existing bedroom/bathroom with an office/laundry/storage and linen closet. The original plan also included a new family room, mudroom, and garage on the first floor, with a master bedroom and bathroom proposed above the attached 1.5-car garage.
Under Section III-I, 2 of the By-Law, or the so-called Hatfield Amendment, the Applicant is able to extend by right the preexisting nonconforming (south) side yard setback associated with the single-family dwelling. A variance was requested in order to construct an addition resulting in a 13’ setback instead of the by right setback of 13.3’. The requested variance increases the existing nonconformity by just 4”, in large part due to the wedge-like shape of the property. The Board considered this exception to be relatively de minimis.
The originally proposed project additionally called for removal of the existing detached garage and construction of the above-referenced attached garage that would result in a newly nonconforming, 3’ (north) side yard setback for the single-family dwelling. During the hearing, members expressed concern about the extent of the requested relief associated with this portion of the project. The Board suggested that the Applicant consider alternative plans.
The first alternative plan reduced the width of the proposed garage, resulting in a 6’ (north) side yard setback instead of the originally proposed 3’ setback. The project architect also submitted an alternative plan that depicted a fully conforming garage, larger in size than the previously proposed garage, located to the rear, as opposed to the side, of the dwelling. Members determined that there was no soil, shape, or topography condition affecting the property that would prevent the Applicant from pursuing the by-right alternative.
As noted in the Procedural History, the Applicant modified the application during the review process in an effort to address concerns raised by the Board. As revised, the proposed plan eliminates the attached garage addition such that no relief from the north side yard setback is required. The application as a result only requests relief to construct an addition resulting in a 13’ south side yard setback where 13.3’ is allowed by-right.
Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, and the deliberations and discussions of members during the meeting, the Board has determined that:
1. Circumstances related to soil, shape, or topography especially affect the land or structures in question: Circumstances relating to the property's moderately irregular shape affect the subject property and not generally the zoning district. The lot maintains 75 linear feet of frontage and narrows to 59’ at the rear property line.
2. The literal enforcement of the By-Laws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. A literal enforcement of the Zoning By-Law would involve substantial hardship, limiting construction of an addition to the preexisting nonconforming single-family dwelling. A grant of a variance in this instance will improve layout of the dwelling and allow for a reasonable use that is consistent with other single-family uses in the area.
3. A Variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The requested relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The addition will improve the property in a manner consistent with other homes in the neighborhood
4. A Variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the By-Law. The requested relief is modest in nature, at just 4” beyond what is otherwise permitted by right. Relief may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purpose of the Zoning By-Law.
Upon a motion made by Joseph Ruccio and seconded by Andrew Touchette, the Board voted unanimously to:
1. approve the requested withdrawal without prejudice of a Variance from § IV-A of the By-Law to replace an existing detached garage located 2.7 feet from the north property line with an attached garage, with living space above, resulting in a 3’ (6’ as revised) side yard setback, where 15’ is required; and
2. grant requested Variance from § IV-A of the By-Law to construct an addition to the rear of an existing dwelling, resulting in a 13’ (south) side yard setback where a minimum of 13.3’ is permissible, at 11 Union Street in Residence District A, subject to the following conditions:
a. The Applicant shall file a revised plan with the Zoning Administrator to demonstrate compliance with the 15’ (north) side yard setback.
b. The addition shall be constructed in accordance with representations made during the public hearing, such that the addition will be located no closer than 13' from the easterly side property line.
For The Board of Appeals,
December 1, 2020