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TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
NOTICE OF DECISION
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant: Hingham Farmers Market
C/O Mark Cullings, Executive Director
44 Spring Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Property Owner: Town of Hingham
210 Central Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Subject Property: 0 Station Street (Assessors Map 61/Lot 91)
Hingham, MA 02043
Plan Reference: Untitled, undated plan depicting the Station Street Farmers Market Footpint
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS:
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Hingham Farmers Market, Inc. (the “Applicant”) for a Special Permit A2 under § III-A, 4.24 of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to locate a farmers market at 0 Station Street (Map 61/Lot 91) in the Official and Open Space District.
The Applicant simultaneously filed related applications for Site Plan Approval with the Planning Board. The Planning Board voted on November 15, 2020 to waive Site Plan Review in connection with the Special Permit A2.
The Board heard the application at a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on November 19, 2020 during a meeting held via Zoom as an alternate means of public access pursuant to an Order issued by the Governor of Massachusetts, dated March 12, 2020, Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law. The Board of Appeals panel consisted of its regular members Robyn S. Maguire, Chairman, and Paul K. Healey, along with associate member Andrew Touchette. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board granted the requested Special Permit Modification, with conditions as set forth below.
Throughout the hearing, 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 Hingham Farmers Market (the “HFM”), with authorization from the Board of Selectmen and Town Administrator, temporarily relocated the existing, permitted location of the market from the Hingham Bathing Beach to the Station Street parking lot in Spring 2020. The temporary relocation was intended to address COVID-19 related concerns. As such, the market functioned on a pre-order, drive-through basis. The state has since issued guidelines that would permit more traditional farmers market operations; however, the HFM and other officials determined that the market may not be able to operate safely at its permitted location at the Bathing Beach, given the other users of that property. The HFM therefore requested approval to open a pedestrian or open air market, with up to 22 vendors, in compliance with all state guidelines, from the Station Street parking lot for the remainder of the 2020 season on Saturdays from 9am -1pm. The Board heard the request on August 6, 2020 and voted to grant the requested special permit. The HFM now seeks approval to expand the dates of the HFM.
As noted in the Procedural History, the Planning Board opened its related hearings on the matter on November 15, 2021. At that time, the Board voted to waive Site Plan Review in connection with the Special Permit A2 application.
Based on this information, and the fact that the HFM has temporarily operated from the Station Street parking lot in the past for certain special events and on a drive-through basis during the COVID-19 state of emergency, the Board made the following findings in accordance with Special Permit Approval Criteria under § I-F of the By-Law:
a. The proposed use will be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Zoning By-Law, for the following reasons: The Farmer’s Market is allowed by Special Permit in Business District A. The proposed use will not affect the health, safety, or welfare of any prospective occupants, customers, neighbors, or the Town.
b. The proposed use complies with the purposes and standards of the relevant specific sections of this By-Law, for the following reasons: On August 3, 2020, the Planning Board determined, in accordance with § I-I, 5., that the proposed work constituted a minor site plan and voted to waive Site Plan Review in connection with the proposed seasonal use. The Planning Board also voted on August 3, 2020 to issue a Special Permit A3/Parking Determination under § V-A.
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 an appropriate location for the proposed use. There is ample space within the Station Street parking lot to accommodate the Farmer’s Market, as well as parking for its vendors, customers, and other visitors to the downtown.
d. The use as developed and operated will create positive impacts or potential adverse impacts will be mitigated, for the following reasons: The proposed use will not create adverse impacts as it is seasonal and temporary in nature.
e. There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians, for the following reasons: The Market will be located in the northern portion of the parking lot and secured by vendor vehicles, tents, cones and cording as necessary. A vestibule area will be designated outside of the Market perimeter for customers waiting to enter the single entrance/exit, which will be staffed by the HFM.
f. Adequate and appropriate facilities exist or will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use, for the following reasons: There are no facilities required for the seasonal operation of a Farmer’s Market on the Property. Vendor spaces will be demarcated with tents.
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: Not applicable. No changes to the property, other than temporary displacement of parking spaces, are required to operate the use.
For the reasons set forth hereinabove, and upon a motion made by Paul K. Healey and seconded by Andrew Touchette, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested Special Permit A2 under § III-A, 4.24 of the Zoning By-Law to locate a farmers market at 0 Station Street (Map 61/Lot 91) in the Official and Open Space District, subject to the following conditions:
1. The use shall be operated in a manner consistent with the approved plans and representations made by the applicant for this board.
2. The applicant may modify the particular number of venders provided that:
a) The market is contained within the bounds depicted on the approved plans.
b) The market complies with any Covid-19 related public health rules, requirements, or procedures as amended.
c) All their licenses, permits, and approvals are in affect
d) The overall number does not exceed 47 so long as the market will operate on the property only until the end of the 2020 season.
For the Board of Appeals,
Robyn S. Maguire, Chair
March 1, 2021