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Board of Appeals



Applicant: Trustees of the Hingham Bathing Beach

Property Owner: Trustees under Deed of Trust, dated November 21, 1916, registered with the Plymouth County Registry District of the Land Court as Document No. 936

Premises/Property: 95 Otis Street a/k/a 31 Otis Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Title Reference: Certificate of Title No. 5167 issued by the Plymouth County Registry District of the Land Court


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the application from the Trustees of the Hingham Bathing Beach (the "Applicant") for a Minor Modification to Special Permit, issued under § III-A and § III-H, 5 of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) on August 22, 2017 and such other relief as necessary to change the permissible hours of operation of an accessory function room within a Snack Stand at 31 Otis Street in the Official and Open Space District and the Hingham Harbor Overlay District.

The Applicant simultaneously filed related applications for Site Plan Approval with the Planning Board. The Planning Board voted on May 11, 2020 to approve modifications to Site Plan Approval and a Special Permit A3 Decisions.

A duly noticed public meeting on the matter was held by the Board on May 19, 2020. The meeting was held remotely pursuant to an Order issued by the Governor of Massachusetts dated March 12, 2020 Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law. Pursuant to Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020, certain permitting timeframes were modified or extended during the Governor’s declared state of emergency.

The Board of Appeals panel consisted of its regular members Robyn S. Maguire, Chairman, and Paul K. Healey, and associate member Joseph Ruccio. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested Special Permit Modification, subject to 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.


The subject property consists of approximately 6 acres of land, bordered to the east by Hingham Inner Harbor and to the west by Otis Street/Rte. 3A. The property presently serves as a beach and recreational picnic area. In 2017, the Board granted a Special Permit to allow the construction of a new bathhouse, snack stand, and public meeting room.

At the time the project was permitted, there was some concern related to overlapping hours of operation between the public meeting/function room and the Hingham Farmers Market, which also operates from the property on a temporary, seasonal basis. The concern was primarily related to parking impacts. As such, the Planning Board imposed the following condition in both its Special Permit A3 and Site Plan Approval in Association with a Special Permit A2 and A3 Decisions: “The meeting room shall not be used during the Farmers Market between 10 am – 2 pm.”

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Trustees and the Hingham Farmers Market has since been renegotiated such that the Market is open on Saturdays between the hours of 9 am and 1 pm. The Trustees wanted to clarify the condition so that the meeting room could be used at any time that the Market is not operating. The Board did not separately limit the scheduled use of the Snack Stand building, including the meeting/function room; however, the Trustees requested a modification of the Special Permit A2 Decision because the Planning Board’s condition is binding on the Zoning Board’s Special Permit. As noted in the Summary of Proceedings, the Planning Board reviewed a related modification request of its Decisions on May 11, 2020, voting at the time to eliminate the specific hours of operation while maintaining a limitation that the meeting/function room not be in use while the Farmers Market is open.


Based on the information submitted and presented by the Applicant in support of the proposed use of the building, and the discussion and deliberation of the Board during the meeting, the Board determined that the proposed modification will not affect the specific findings made by the Board in connection with its Special Permit A2 Decision issued under § III-A and § III-H, 5 of the Zoning By-Law on August 22, 2017.


Upon a motion made by Paul K. Healey and seconded by Joseph Ruccio, the Board of Appeals voted unanimously to GRANT the request for a Minor Modification to a Special Permit, issued under § III-A and § III-H, 5 of the By-Law on August 22, 2017, subject to the following conditions:

1. All conditions of the previous Special Permit Decision for the Property remain in effect unless specifically modified by this Decision.
2. In accordance with the provisions of the Hingham Zoning By-Law, the conditions imposed in the Planning Board Site Plan Approval, dated July, 11, 2017, as modified by vote on May 11, 2020, are binding conditions to the Special Permit A2 Decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
For the Board of Appeals,

Robyn S. Maguire, Chair
March 1, 2021