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Board of Appeals


Special Permit


Applicant:           The Hingham Cemetery Corporation                      Agent:   John Davenport

                             12 South Street, PO Box 105                                                63 Burditt Avenue

                              Hingham, MA 02043                                                             Hingham, MA 02043


Owner:                 Jonathan and Mildred Bouve

                             24 South Street

                             Hingham, MA 02043


Property:              Portion of 24 South Street, Hingham, MA 02043 


Deed Reference:  Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 15339, Page 226


Plan References: “Plan of Land for 24 South Street in Hingham, Mass.,” prepared by Ross Engineering Company, Inc., 683 Main Strceet, Norwell, MA, dated December 16, 2019 (1 Sheet)                                 and “Landscape Plan,” prepared by Sean Papich Landscape Architecture, 222 North Street, Hingham, MA, dated March 22, 2021 (1 Drawing) 


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of The Hingham Cemetery Corporation (the “Applicant”) for a Special Permit A1 under § III-A, 3.9 of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to incorporate a portion of the land at the rear of 24 South Street in the Official & Open Space District into the Hingham Cemetery. 

The Board held a duly noticed public hearing on April 13, 2021 by remote participation pursuant to 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 panel consisted of its regular members Robyn S. Maguire, Chair, and Paul K. Healey, and associate member Lauren Galvin. The Applicant’s representative, John Davenport, presented the request. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to issue the requested special permit, with conditions as set forth below.


The subject property consists of a 2,470 SF parcel of land located to the rear of a nonconforming single-family dwelling at 24 South Street and abutting Hingham Cemetery. The Applicant hopes to use the parcel, which will be donated by the current owner, for burial purposes. In January 2020, the Applicant filed an ANR plan with the Planning Board to create the parcel. In accordance with MGL c. 144, s. 34, the Hingham Board of Health approved the proposed use of the land in February 2020 and Town Meeting subsequently granted permission to expand the Cemetery in June 2020. 

The original property is bifurcated by the zoning district boundary between Business A and the Official and Open Space District. Additionally, there is a steep slope located to the immediate rear of the existing dwelling. For both these reasons, the portion of the property that is the subject of this application is otherwise not highly usable to the owner. It is however well situated to be used by the adjoining Cemetery.  


Based on the information submitted and presented during the hearing, and discussions with the Applicant during the meetings, the Board made the following findings in accordance with the Special Permit Approval Criteria under Section I-F, 2:

  1. The proposed use will be in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Zoning By-Law, for the following reasons: The Hingham Cemetery is a 13-acre arboretum, park and green space open to the public from dawn to dusk and enjoyed by residents and visitors to the Town. It serves multiple purposes of the By-Law specified in Section 1-A, 2, including the conservation of health, provision of open space and adequate light and air, conservation of natural resources, and prevention of blight and pollution. The proposed use will not affect the health, safety, or welfare of any prospective visitors, neighbors, or the Town. 
  2. The proposed use complies with the purposes and standards of the relevant specific sections of this By-Law, for the following reasons: Under Section III-A, 3.9 of the By-Law, cemetery uses are allowed by special permit in the Official and Open Space District. The proposed plan to incorporate the parcel into the adjoining cemetery will comply with all relevant dimensional requirements under Section IV of the By-Law.   
  3.  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 parcel is an appropriate location for the proposed use as it sits immediately adjacent to the existing Hingham Cemetery. It is physically separated from the remaining land of 24 South Street by a steep slope, making it more suitable for use by the adjoining Cemetery.
  4. 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. Fencing and landscaping will be installed to screen the parcel from abutting properties.  
  5. There will be no nuisance or serious hazard to vehicles or pedestrians, for the following reasons:  The parcel is not located near any existing roadways. Steps with a handrail will be installed to connect the parcel to the existing Cemetery land for pedestrians.
  6. Adequate and appropriate facilities exist or will be provided for the proper operation of the proposed use, for the following reasons:   The Cemetery’s groundskeeper and other staff will be available to support the operation of the parcel 
  7. 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:  Incorporation of the parcel into the Cemetery will not involved any buildings, structures, or site construction. No stormwater facilities will be requires to support the use. 


Upon a motion made by Paul K. Healey and seconded by Lauren Galvin, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested Special Permit A1 under § III-A 3.9 of the By-Law and such other relief as necessary to incorporate a portion of the land at the rear of 24 South Street in the Official & Open Space District into the Hingham Cemetery, subject to the following conditions:

  1. The use shall be operated in accordance with the approved plans and representations made to the Board during the hearing. 

For the Board of Appeals,


                Robyn S. Maguire, Chair

                May 26, 2021