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TOWN OF HINGHAM
Board of Appeals
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant/Owner: William and Victoria Dolan
39 Lincoln Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Property: 39 Lincoln Street, Hingham, MA 02043
Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 42870, Page 329
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS:
This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the application of William and Victoria Dolan (collectively, the "Applicant") for an Administrative Appeal of the Local Building Inspector’s determination, dated January 28, 2021, that a fence was erected in violation § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and § R105 of the State Building Code at 39 Lincoln Street in Residence District A.
The Board opened a hearing on the application at a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on April 13, 2021 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 panel consisted of regular members Robyn S. Maguire, Chair, and Paul K. Healey, and associate member Lauren Galvin. The Applicant was in attendance during the hearing as was the Building Commissioner, Michael Clancy. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the Board voted unanimously to uphold the determination, dated January 28, 2021.
During the hearing, the Board heard substantial testimony both in support and in opposition to the application. 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 0.65 acres of land located on the northeast side of Lincoln Street. The lot is improved by a single family dwelling (ca. 1850) and a detached garage. In May 2019, the Applicant submitted an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to the Historic Districts Commission (HDC) in order to install a fence parallel to the driveway to provide privacy for a patio. After approval by the HDC, the fence was installed on top of the neighbors’ existing stonewall, resulting in a combine structure greater than 6’ in height. Based on the definition under Section VI of the By-Law, a fence of greater than 6’ in height qualifies as a structure that would have to comply with setback requirements applicable in the district (15’ for a side yard).
In January, a local building inspector issued a violation notice, which ordered the Applicant to replace or modify the existing fence to comply with either setback requirements or the exemption under the definition of structure that would allow fences of less than 6’ in height to be located closer to a property line. The Applicant appealed the notice. The Board noted during the hearing that the definition of a structure and application of setbacks thereto were not discretionary. The fence structure clearly exceeds the allowances of the By-Law and Building Code.
FINDINGS and DECISION:
Upon a motion made by Paul K. Healey and seconded by Lauren Galvin, and based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, and the deliberations and discussions of members during the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to:
Uphold the Local Building Inspector’s determination, dated January 28, 2021, that a fence was erected in violation of § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law and § R105 of the State Building Code at 39 Lincoln Street in Residence District A. The Administrative Appeal is therefore DENIED.
For the Board of Appeals,
Robyn S. Maguire, Chair
May 26, 2021