Current Articles

Warrant Articles for 2017 Town Meeting



View and Download the complete 2017 Warrant (PDF)

  1. Hannah Lincoln Whiting Fund
  2. Assume Liability for DCR on Rivers, Harbors, Etc.
  3. Reports of Various Town Committees
  4. Report of the Personnel Board
  5. Salaries of Town Officers
  6. Budgets
  7. Transfer from the Stabilization Fund
  8. Transfer from Meals Tax Stabilization
  9. Disbursement of Electric Light Department Receipts
  10. Building Department Revolving Fund
  11. Department of Elder Services Revolving Fund
  12. Transfer Funds to the Reserve Fund
  13. Application of Bond Premium
  14. Amendment to Veterans Home Act
  15. Leashing Regulation at Bare Cove Park
  16. Insurance Recovery:  East School
  17. Insurance Recovery:  South School   
  18. Community Preservation Committee
  19. 2017 School Building Committee
  20. Foster Elementary School Feasibility Study
  21. Library Grant
  22. Town Hall Architectural Engineering
  23. SSCC Golf Carts and Utility Vehicles
  24. Harbor Improvements
  25. Bathing Beach Bath House
  26. Additional Road Building
  27. Sewer Improvements I & I (Infiltration and Inflow)
  28. Sewer Improvements
  29. Change in Number of Selectmen
  30. 6 Station Street Drainage Easement
  31. Expenditure of Proceeds of Subdivision Bonds
  32. Amend Zoning By-law re:  Lot Area and Lot Line Definition
  33. Amend Zoning By-law re:  Lot Width-To Create Uniformity in the Shape of Lots
  34. Amend Zoning By-law re:  Regulation of the Sale & Consumption of Marijuana (not medical)
  35. Amend Zoning By-law re:  Parking Design Standards
  36. Disposal of Surplus Supplies
  37. Acceptance of Easements


ARTICLE 1:  To choose all necessary Town Officers, other than those to be elected by ballot, including the following:

One member of the Committee to have charge of the income of the Hannah Lincoln Whiting Fund for a term of three years, or act on anything relating thereto.

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

      COMMENT:  The Hannah Lincoln Whiting Fund was established in 1915 pursuant to the will of Ada B.W. Bacon in memory of her mother, “...to be expended in relieving the necessities of the deserving poor or unfortunate of South Hingham..."  Grants from the income of the fund are made at the discretion of a committee of three members, one of whom is elected each year by the Town.  As of December 31, 2016, the fund assets totaled $15,993.65 of which $993.65 was available for distribution.  The principal of $15,000 is held in trust and is not available for distribution.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

      RECOMMENDED:  That Karen Sadlon, 33 South Pleasant Street, be re-elected a member of the Committee to have charge of the income of the Hannah Lincoln Whiting Fund for a term of three years.

      ARTICLE 2:  Will the Town assume liability in the manner provided by Massachusetts General Laws chapter 91, section 29, as amended, for all damages that may be incurred by work to be performed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the improvement, development, maintenance, and protection of tidal and non-tidal rivers and streams, harbors, tide waters, foreshores, and shores along a public beach, and authorize the Selectmen to execute and deliver a bond of indemnity therefore to the Commonwealth, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

     COMMENT:  The Department of Conservation and Recreation (“DCR”), as a matter of policy, requires the Town to assume liability if it is to perform any of this type of work within the Town.  In accordance with the statute, the Town would assume liability for all damages to property sustained by any person as a result of such work performed by the DCR.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED: That the Town, in accordance with, and to the extent only permitted by, Massachusetts General Laws chapter 91, section 29, as amended, assume liability for all damages that may be incurred by work to be performed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the improvement, development, maintenance, and protection of tidal and non-tidal rivers and streams, harbors, tide waters, foreshores, and shores along a public beach within the Town, in accordance with section 11 of said chapter 91, and that the Board of Selectmen is hereby authorized to execute and deliver a bond of indemnity to the Commonwealth assuming such liability.

     ARTICLE 3:  To hear the reports of the following:  Affordable Housing Trust; Audit Committee; Capital Outlay Committee; Commission on Disability Issues; Community Preservation Committee; Conservation Commission; Country Club Management Committee; Council on Aging; Energy Action Committee; Fire Station Building Committee; GAR Hall Trustees; Harbor Development Committee; Hingham Historic Districts Commission; the Historian; Historical Commission; Board of Managers of Lincoln Apartments LLC; Long-Range Waste Disposal and Recycling Committee; Memorial Bell Tower Committee; Open Space Acquisition Committee; Scholarship Fund Committee; 2006 School Building Committee; Wastewater Master Planning Committee; and Water Supply Committee, or act on

anything relating thereto.

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

     COMMENT: The Town is indeed fortunate to have many public-spirited citizens willing to work in these capacities. We thank them for their excellent service and recommend that all these posts and committees be continued.  

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED: That the reports, if any, of the existing Town Committees and Commissions and the Town Historian be received; and that all of said bodies and posts of government be continued.

ARTICLE 4: To hear the report of the Personnel Board appointed under the Classification and Salary Plan, or act on anything relating thereto.    

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

     COMMENT: If passed, this Article provides funds to pay for as yet undetermined financial obligations of the Town relating to salary increases, fringe benefit changes, and job reclassifications for non-School Department employees who either are not in a collective bargaining unit or who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement not yet concluded.  This Article also seeks approval of an amendment to the Personnel By-law Section 9 by deleting “Other Managers and Public Works Department Supervisors and Foremen.” This amendment has no fiscal impact and simply reflects that those employees are now in a collective bargaining unit not subject to the By-law.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the report of the Personnel Board, a copy of which is on file in the Town Clerk's Office, be accepted; that the amendments of the Personnel By-law, including the Classification and Salary Plan, and any Cost Item agreements reached by the Personnel Board in collective bargaining, which may be embodied or referred to in said report, be approved and adopted in their entirety, such approval and adoption to become effective July 1, 2017, or as otherwise specified in said report or agreements; that the Town raise and appropriate the sum of $409,624 for the purpose of this vote; and that the Town Accountant is hereby authorized and instructed to allocate said sum to and among the several Personnel Services and Expense Accounts in such amounts, respectively, as are proper and required to meet such amendments and to comply with such collective bargaining agreements as may be entered into by the Board of Selectmen on behalf of the Town.

      ARTICLE 5: Will the Town fix the salaries of the following Town Officers, viz:

1. Selectmen    

2. Assessors

3. Town Clerk

4. Municipal Light Board;

or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

      COMMENT:  This Article fixes the salaries of the elected Town Officers listed above.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

      RECOMMENDED:  That, subject to the proviso below, the salary from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, for each of the following officers shall be at the rates below stated or provided after the name of the office.

Selectmen:  at the annual rate of $2,000 each, except that the Chair shall receive an annual rate of $2,500 for the period of incumbency.

Assessors:  at the annual rate of $1,800 each, except that the Chair shall receive an annual rate of $2,000 for the period of incumbency.

Town Clerk1:  in accordance with the compensation rates established in Grade 15 of the Town of Hingham Classification and Salary Plan of the Personnel By-law

Municipal Light Board:  at the annual rate of $214 each (to be paid from the receipts of the Electric Light Department).

Provided:  that the salary of each such Officer, except Selectman, Assessor, and Municipal Light Board Member, shall be reduced by all retirement allowances and pensions received by such officer from the Town of Hingham.     


1  Town Clerk, when serving as a member of the Board of Registrars of Voters, shall be paid for such duties in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws chapter 41, section 19G.                       

      ARTICLE 6: Will the Town raise and appropriate, or transfer from available funds, sums of money to defray the expenses of the Town for the twelve-month period beginning July 1, 2017, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)      

     COMMENT: The Advisory Committee voted unanimously in support of this budget.

     RECOMMENDED: That the Town raise and appropriate for each of the following purposes, for the Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2017, the sum of money stated therefor, provided that, where a transfer appropriation is stated, the amount so indicated shall be transferred or specifically appropriated as stated; also that the authority is hereby given to turn in vehicles and equipment in partial payment for vehicles and equipment  purchased in those cases where a turn-in is stated; and provided that any amount or portion thereof appropriated to a sub-account and included in a numbered account as set forth below may be transferred to another sub-account under the same numbered account with the approval of the Board of Selectmen and the Advisory Committee.


(Please see full Warrant (PDF) for Article 6 Budget Detaills

ARTICLE 7:  Will the Town appropriate a sum of money from the Stabilization Fund and/or from available reserves for the purpose of reducing the tax rate, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

     COMMENT: Pursuant to prior Town Meeting votes, the proceeds from the sale of the former school administration building, municipal light plant building, and the former police station were deposited in the Stabilization Fund for future tax reduction. This amount was augmented by the addition of bond premiums associated with the refinancing of excluded debt. This Article would transfer a portion of the Stabilization Fund for the purpose of reducing the Fiscal Year 2018 tax rate. 

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote by Town Meeting.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

   

      RECOMMENDED: That the Town appropriate the sum of $178,836 from the Stabilization Fund for the purpose of reducing the Fiscal Year 2018 tax rate.

     ARTICLE  8: Will the Town transfer from available funds a sum of money from the Meals Tax Stabilization Fund for purpose of reducing the Fiscal Year 2018 tax rate, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

     COMMENT:  This Article seeks to appropriate $450,000 from the Meals Tax Stabilization Fund to reduce the Fiscal Year 2018 tax rate.  The remaining amount in the Fund will remain available to reduce tax rates in future years.

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote by Town Meeting.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town appropriate the sum of $450,000 from the Meals Tax Stabilization Fund for the purpose of reducing the Fiscal Year 2018 tax rate.

     ARTICLE 9:  Will the Town appropriate, from the receipts of the Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant, money for the maintenance and operation of the Plant for the 12-month period commencing July 1, 2017, pursuant to Sections 57 and 57A of Chapter 164 of the General Laws, and provide for the disposition of any surplus receipts, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

     COMMENT:  The Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant (“HMLP”) is self-funding; funds collected from billing customers are used to pay all expenses incurred by the Plant. The HMLP Board has an agreement in place whereby it makes a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (“PILOT”) to the Town.  This payment is based on a formula that is tied closely to the sales of the Plant.  The agreement calls for a PILOT of no less than $450,000, but, based on sales for the last several years, it is estimated that this payment will be at least $500,000.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That, with the exception of $500,000, which is hereby transferred to the General Fund to reduce the tax rate, all funds received by the Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant during the Fiscal Year commencing July 1, 2017, be appropriated to said Municipal Lighting Plant, the same to be expended by the Manager of Municipal Lighting under the control and direction of the Municipal Light Board for the expenses of the Plant for said Fiscal Year, as defined in sections 57 and 57A of chapter 164 of the Massachusetts General Laws, and, if there should be any unexpended balance thereof at the end of said Fiscal Year, such amount as is deemed necessary shall be transferred to the Construction Fund of said plant and appropriated and used for such additions thereto as may be authorized by the Municipal Light Board during the next Fiscal Year.

ARTICLE 10:  Will the Town amend the General By-Laws of the Town of Hingham by amending Article 18 of the General By-Laws by adding the following new paragraph at the end of said Article 18:

In accordance with M.G.L. c. 44, Section 53E½, there is hereby established in the Building Department a Building Department Revolving Fund for the following purposes:

  1. For the receipt of all fees from plumbing, gas and electrical inspections performed by Building Inspectors and/or Assistant Building Inspectors. 
  2. For expenditures to pay wages, salaries and fringe benefits (as applicable) for said Inspectors and their staff for performance of their services.
  3. The Building Commissioner shall be authorized to expend from said Revolving Fund for said purposes in accordance with the provisions of M.G.L. c. 44, Section 53E½.
  4. The Building Commissioner shall report all receipts and expenditures of said Revolving Fund to the Board of Selectmen at the end of each fiscal year.

And further, will the Town vote to establish said Building Department Revolving Fund for Fiscal Year 2018 in accordance with the above provisions and limit the total amount that may be spent from said Building Department Revolving Fund to $250,000.00 during Fiscal Year 2018, or act on anything relating thereto?
(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

     COMMENT:  The Building Department Revolving Fund is credited with all fees from plumbing, gas, and electrical inspections performed by Inspectors.  This fund is used to pay wages, salaries, and fringe benefits (as applicable) to these Building Department staff members.  Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44, section 53E1/2 (“M.G.L. c. 44, s. 53E1/2”) previously required the annual reauthorization of this and other revolving funds used by the Town.  Late last year, Massachusetts passed the Municipal Modernization Act, which was an effort to grant more local control and encourage fiscal efficiency in municipalities. The new law focuses on four specific goals, one of which is to promote local independence on matters regarding municipal stabilization, reserves, and revolving funds. Under the new law, municipalities can establish departmental revolving funds through a one-time enactment of a by-law or ordinance, leaving only the total budget amount for annual authorization.

This year’s Article seeks to accomplish three items: amend Hingham General By-laws article 18 per the change in M.G.L. c. 44, s. 53E1/2; re-establish the Building Department Revolving Fund until the By-law becomes effective (which should be within months after Town Meeting 2017); and set the Revolving Fund cap for Fiscal Year 2018 at $250,000.  After this year, an Annual Town Meeting Article will be required only to set the cap on this Revolving Fund.

For the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2016, the Fund had $201,834 in revenues and $185,086 in expenditures. For the six-month period ended December 31, 2016, revenues were $127,801 and expenditures were $89,146. The balance in the Fund as of June 30, 2016, was $550,340.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED: That the Town amend Hingham General By-laws article 18 by adding the following new paragraph at the end of said article 18:

In accordance with M.G.L. c. 44, s. 53E½, there is hereby established in the Building Department a Building Department Revolving Fund for the following purposes:

  1. For the receipt of all fees from plumbing, gas, and electrical inspections performed by Inspectors. 

2.     For expenditures to pay wages, salaries, and fringe benefits (as applicable) for said Inspectors and their staff for performance of their services.

The Building Commissioner shall be authorized to expend from said Revolving Fund for said purposes in accordance with the provisions of M.G.L. c. 44, s. 53E½. The Building Commissioner shall report all receipts and expenditures of said Revolving Fund to the Board of Selectmen at the end of each Fiscal Year.

And further, to establish said Building Department Revolving Fund for Fiscal Year 2018 in accordance with the above provisions and to limit the total amount that may be spent from said Building Department Revolving Fund to $250,000 during Fiscal Year 2018.

ARTICLE 11:  Will the Town amend the General By-Laws of the Town of Hingham by amending Article 16 of the General By-Laws by adding the following new SECTION 7 at the end of said Article 16:

SECTION 7 - In accordance with M.G.L. c. 44, Section 53E½, there is hereby established in the Department of Elder Services a Department of Elder Services Revolving Fund for the following purposes:

  1. For the receipt of all fees and charges received from Senior Center Programs of the Department of Elder Services and/or the Council on Aging.
  2. For expenditures to pay the costs and expenses of said Senior Center Programs.
  3. The Director of Elder Services shall be authorized to expend from said Revolving Fund for said purposes in accordance with the provisions of M.G.L. c. 44, Section 53E½.
  4. The Director of Elder Services shall report all receipts and expenditures of said Revolving Fund to the Board of Selectmen at the end of each fiscal year.

And further, will the Town vote to establish said Elder Services Revolving Fund for Fiscal Year 2018 in accordance with the above provisions and limit the total amount that may be spent from said Elder Services Revolving Fund to $60,000.00 during Fiscal Year 2018, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the Council on Aging)

     COMMENT:  The Department of Elder Services Revolving Fund is credited with all fees and charges received from Senior Center programs and pays expenses associated with providing these services and activities for the Town’s senior residents.  Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44, section 53E1/2 (“M.G.L c. 44, s. 53E1/2”) previously required the annual reauthorization of this and other revolving funds used by the Town. Late last year, Massachusetts passed the Municipal Modernization Act, which was an effort to grant more local control and encourage fiscal efficiency in municipalities.  The new law focuses on four specific goals, one of which is to promote local independence on matters regarding municipal stabilization, reserves, and revolving funds.  Under the new law, municipalities can establish departmental revolving funds through a one-time enactment of a by-law or ordinance, leaving only the total budget amount for annual authorization.

This year’s Article seeks to accomplish three items:  amend Hingham General By-laws article 16 per the change in M.G.L. c. 44, s. 53E1/2; re-establish the Department of Elder Services Revolving Fund until the By-law becomes effective (which should be within months after Town Meeting 2017); and set the Revolving Fund cap for Fiscal Year 2018 at $60,000.  After this year, an Annual Town Meeting Article will be required only to set the cap on this Revolving Fund.

For the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2016, the Fund had $40,112 in revenues and $42,708 in expenditures. For the six-month period ended December 31, 2016, revenues were $21,663 and expenditures were $18,626. The balance in the Fund as of June 30, 2016, was $6,464.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED: That the Town amend Hingham General By-laws article 16 by adding the following new section 7 at the end of said article 16:

SECTION 7 - In accordance with M.G.L. c. 44, s. 53E½, there is hereby established in the Department of Elder Services a Department of Elder Services Revolving Fund for the following purposes:

1.     For the receipt of all fees and charges received from Senior Center Programs of the Department of Elder Services and/or the Council on Aging.

2.     For expenditures to pay the costs and expenses of said Senior Center Programs.

The Director of Elder Services shall be authorized to expend from said Revolving Fund for said purposes in accordance with the provisions of M.G.L. c. 44, s. 53E½.  The Director of Elder Services shall report all receipts and expenditures of said Revolving Fund to the Board of Selectmen at the end of each Fiscal Year.

And further, to establish said Elder Services Revolving Fund for Fiscal Year 2018 in accordance with the above provisions and to limit the total amount that may be spent from said Elder Services Revolving Fund to $60,000 during Fiscal Year 2018.

ARTICLE 12: Will the Town raise and appropriate, or transfer from available funds, a sum of money to the Town’s Reserve Fund for use during Fiscal Year 2017, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

    

      COMMENT:  This Article is included each year in the event that the existing Reserve Fund is not adequate to cover unbudgeted and unanticipated expenses for the balance of the current Fiscal Year (FY 2017).  The specific amount will be reported at Town Meeting.

     RECOMMENDED: The Advisory Committee will make its recommendation at Town Meeting.

ARTICLE 13:  To see if the Town will vote to supplement each prior vote of the Town that authorizes the borrowing of money to pay costs of capital projects to provide that, in accordance with Chapter 44, Section 20 of the General Laws, the premium received by the Town upon the sale of any bonds or notes thereunder, less any such premium applied to the payment of the costs of issuance of such bond or notes, may be applied to pay project costs and the amount authorized to be borrowed for each such project shall be reduced by the amount of any such premium so applied, or act on anything relating thereto.

(Inserted by the Town Treasurer)

     COMMENT:  Periodically, the Town issues bonds to finance certain long-term projects the Town has undertaken.  In certain instances, when these bonds are sold in the market, investors bid up the price in an effort to acquire the bonds.  The Town may receive this increase in price (net of issuance costs) in excess of the face amount of the bonds as a bond “premium”.  

In November of 2016, the Municipal Modernization Act (“MMA”) came into effect providing communities with a choice as to the use of bond premiums.  Prior to the passage of the MMA, the application of a premium received to offset the interest costs and the amount borrowed in a financing was authorized only on “excluded debt” issued for a project that received a Proposition 2 ½ override vote at Town Meeting.  With passage of the MMA, the Town may now choose to lower a project’s borrowing cost on non-excluded debt through the application of any premium received.

Passage of the MMA affects existing authorized but as yet unissued non-excluded debt (including the debt for the Lehner Property, road improvements, design work for the Fire Stations, Hingham Heritage Museum, Lincoln School Apartments Capital Needs Assessment expenditures and Recreation Park Drive). This Article seeks to give the Town Treasurer and Selectmen the ability to choose to reduce the amount of the bonds sold to finance this debt such that the Town receives only the amount of funding desired from the bond sale.  Without this Article, the Town would likely borrow more money than required for the aforementioned projects (due to the bond premium received), and this excess amount would have to be set aside in a separate account for future capital projects.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town vote to supplement each prior vote of the Town that authorized the borrowing of money to pay costs of capital projects to provide that, in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44, section 20, the premium received by the Town upon the sale of any bonds or notes thereunder, less any such premium applied to the payment of the costs of issuance of such bonds or notes, may be applied to pay project costs, and the amount authorized to be borrowed for each such project shall be reduced by the amount of any such premium so applied.

ARTICLE 14:  Will the Town accept the provisions of M.G.L. c. 33, § 59 (as amended by St.2016, c. 141, §§ 6 to 8) known as An Act relative to Housing, Operations, Military Service, and Enrichment (aka Veterans HOME Act), signed into law July 14, 2016, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the Veterans' Council)

     COMMENT:  The intended purpose of this Article is to have the Town of Hingham formally adopt M.G.L. c. 33, s. 59 (as amended by St.2016, c. 141, s. 6 to 8) which will provide municipal public employees who are members of the National Guard or Reserves protection and financial stability if they are recalled to active military service for more than 30 days.  They shall not lose any seniority, accrued vacation leave, sick leave, personal leave, compensation time, or earned overtime while they are serving the Nation.  Additionally, they shall be paid their regular base salary or hourly wage as a public employee for each pay period, reduced by any amount they receive from their military service component (United States or the Commonwealth) performed during the same pay period.

M.G.L. c. 33, s. 59 (as amended by St.2016, c. 141, s. 6 to 8), although not yet formally adopted by the Town of Hingham, has been applied in instances where such an experience has occurred with Hingham municipal employees since about 1991.  On an annual basis, over the last seven years, there have been as many as four employees and as few as one employee who have benefited from this policy in the Town of Hingham.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town accept the provisions of M.G.L. c. 33, s. 59 (as amended by St.2016, c. 141, s. 6 to 8) known as An Act relative to Housing, Operations, Military Service, and Enrichment (aka Veterans HOME Act), signed into law July 14, 2016.

ARTICLE 15:  Will the Town authorize, but not require, the Board of Selectmen, acting as the Board of Park Commissioners under M.G.L. c. 45, § 2, to adopt a park regulation pursuant to M.G.L. c. 45, § 5 and all other applicable laws, to authorize the walking of dogs off-leash on odd number calendar days in Bare Cove Park in the Town of Hingham, as follows:

  1. To authorize the walking of dogs off-leash in Bare Cove Park on odd number calendar days.
  2. To establish an “off-leash walking permit” in accordance with terms and conditions to be determined by the Board of Selectmen.
  3. To establish a fine in the amount of $50.00 for any violation of any regulation adopted pursuant hereto,

Or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen at the request of citizen proponents)

     COMMENT: Bare Cove Park (“the Park”) contains 484 acres abutting the Weymouth Back River.  It has many miles of paved roadways and woodland trails used for walking, jogging, cycling, or peaceful contemplation. It provides habitat for coyote, fox, deer, and nesting birds. It serves Hingham’s 23,000 residents and the general public.  In the past, dog owners and dog walkers have used the Park to walk dogs both on-leash and off-leash.  As of November 1, 2016, the Board of Selectmen, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 45, sections 2 and 5, acting on the recommendation of Police Chief Glenn Olsson, Animal Control Officer Leslie Badger, and the Bare Cove Park Committee, voted 2 to 1 to require that all dogs in the Park be on a leash not to exceed 15 feet.  A violation is punishable by a $50 fine. 

Hingham’s By-laws, article 17, require that “no owner or keeper of a dog shall permit the dog to go beyond the confines of the property of the owner or keeper unless the dog is held firmly on a leash or attended by a person exercising control of such dog.” Unless modified for a particular Town of Hingham trail or conservation area, this By-law would permit off-leash dog walking under the owner’s control in those areas.  Almost all surrounding towns require dogs on-leash when off the owner’s property. The Town’s database indicates that Hingham has a dog population of about 3,500.  The 40B developments at Avalon and on Beal Street will add to the human and canine populations in the area of the Park.

 

Dogs are allowed off-leash on substantially all trails at Wompatuck State Park (3,578 acres).  In on-leash areas of Wompatuck, such as parking lots, campgrounds, and recreation areas, a 10-foot leash is required. Stodder’s Neck (26 acres) allows off-leash dog walking.  Dogs at State parks are subject to Department of Conservation and Recreation (“DCR”) regulations. At the Whitney and Thayer Woods (824 Acres), dogs may be off-leash under voice control subject to regulations of the Trustees of Reservations.  World’s End requires dogs to be on-leash. All National Parks and Forests require dogs to be on a 6-foot leash.

A citizens’ group that seeks to reinstate off-leash dog walking in the Park, although in a more restrictive manner, is the effective proponent for this Article, which has been submitted by the Board of Selectmen at their request. This group has thoughtfully and diligently worked to propose an alternative which would allow off-leash dog walking on odd-numbered days subject to the owners’ or keepers’ control of each dog being walked and subject to a proposed set of regulations that would ultimately need to be reviewed and enacted by the Selectmen if this Article is adopted.

In summary, the proposed regulations would require anyone who wished to walk an off-leash dog in the Park on odd calendar days to obtain a Walking Permit (“Permit”) at Hingham Town Hall for each such dog.  A photo of the dog must be placed on file at the Town Clerk’s office, along with a signed acknowledgment that the applicant will abide by the rules pertaining to off-leash walking in the Park, including rules with respect to environmentally sensitive areas, control over the dog, and picking up the dog’s waste, among others.  This acknowledgment also contains a statement that the person will be responsible for injury to persons or animals or damage to public or private property caused by his/her dog.  Three violations would result in a permanent loss of the Permit.

Off-leash walking would be permitted in most areas of the Park except environmentally sensitive areas shown on a map that would be presented to Permit holders.  Some restrictions would be seasonal.  The Permit would need to be prominently displayed on the owner, keeper, or dog at all times in the Park.  Proof of rabies vaccination would be required for issuance of the Permit, and owners would need to commit to carrying a leash for each dog and having their dog under control in off-leash areas so that their dog would not disturb other Park visitors, neighbors, wildlife, or habitat. The proponents believe that the heightened educational opportunity presented by requiring every off-leash dog to have a Permit will significantly reduce the need for enforcement of off-leash behavior, as will the threat of losing the Permit after three violations.

If this Article is adopted, a review of the effectiveness of this system after one year, during which time data relating to off-leash use of the Park would be acquired, would be desirable.

At the top of the concerns that led to the mandatory leash requirement was public safety.  This concern was and is shared by the majority of the Board of Selectmen, the Police Chief, the Animal Control Officer, and the Bare Cove Park Committee.  Over the past decade, the Bare Cove Park Committee has recommended progressively more restrictive regulation of off-leash dogs at the Park due to “pack behavior” of some dogs, i.e., barking, growling, humping, jumping, digging, and running out of control, and the failure of some dog owners to pick up their dogs’ feces despite the provision of waste pick-up bags.  A history of bites, falls, and attacks on animals was a factor in the mandatory leash requirement.  Fear and anxiety (created by off-leash dogs) suffered by children, the elderly, and Park visitors, was also a factor.

Compliance with and the ease of enforcement of dog regulations have also been issues.  Compliance involves the level of voluntary willingness of dog owners to abide by dog regulations.  Lack of compliance with dog regulations by some dog owners has been a perennial subject.  The level of compliance can be increased by enforcement, but the Park is large and enforcement resources are limited.  There is one part-time ranger for the Park.  The Town has one Animal Control Officer for the entire Town.  The Police can only devote limited hours to enforcement of dog regulations at the Park.  Both the Animal Control Officer and the Police Chief believe the mandatory leash requirement provides both for the safety of the public and the greatest ease of enforcement.

Other reported factors leading to the mandatory leash requirement include damage to habitat and loss of wildlife.  Much of the Park has been designated by the DCR as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (“ACEC”).  Mandatory leashing is expected to result in the return of protected habitat and wildlife.

The proposed regulations rely on “control” to assure good dog behavior.  The ability of dog owners to employ off-leash control and the ability of their dogs to comply immediately with off-leash commands is judgmental and variable.  Enforcement of the necessary control would be difficult.

The Permit process will involve time and expense for Town personnel.  The Town probably would want to evaluate carefully the charging of a fee for the proposed Permit as it would possibly risk loss of the liability protections of the Recreational Use Statute, Massachusetts General Laws chapter 21, section 17C, unless the fee simply reimbursed the Town for the administrative and operational costs occasioned by the Permit.  If a fee could be appropriately structured, it could offset additional incremental expenses of the Town for the issuance of Permits, enforcement, and signage.  There could be different fees for residents and non-residents.  The City of Newton employs such a fee system for its dog park.

The Advisory Committee voted 7 to 5 in support of no action on this Article, with one member abstaining.  The Board of Selectmen voted 2 to 1 in support of no action on this Article.  The Bare Cove Park Committee voted 4 to 1 in support of no action on this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That no action be taken on this Article.

ARTICLE 16:  Will the Town transfer a sum of money from the Receipts Reserved for Appropriation Fund: Insurance Recovery in Excess of $20,000 for use by the School Department, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the School Department)

     COMMENT: Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44, section 53, requires the expenditure of insurance recoveries in excess of $20,000 be subject to a vote of Town Meeting prior to the final expenditure. 

East School had sun reflector shades damaged in Fiscal Year 2015. The Town received $24,022.00 from the insurance company as reimbursement to repair the sun reflector shades.  The shades will be repaired this year in Fiscal Year 2017.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

      RECOMMENDED:  That the Town transfer $24,022.00 from the Receipts Reserved for Appropriation Fund: Insurance Recovery in Excess of $20,000 for use by the School Department in Fiscal Year 2017.

ARTICLE 17:  Will the Town transfer a sum of money from the Receipts Reserved for Appropriation Fund: Insurance Recovery in Excess of $20,000 for use by the School Department, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the School Department)

      COMMENT: Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44, section 53, requires the expenditure of insurance recoveries in excess of $20,000 be subject to a vote of Town Meeting prior to the final expenditure. 

South School had a boiler crack in Fiscal Year 2016.  The Town received $43,534.61 from the insurance company as reimbursement to replace the boiler.  The new boiler was installed over the summer in Fiscal Year 2017.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED: That the Town transfer $43,534.61 from the Receipts Reserved for Appropriation Fund: Insurance Recovery in Excess of $20,000 for use by the School Department in Fiscal Year 2017.

ARTICLE 18:  Will the Town appropriate or set aside for later spending funds as recommended by the Community Preservation Committee as follows:

1)  Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation General Fund for addition to the Community Preservation Committee’s Administrative Fund;

2)  Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation Community Housing Reserve to be used by the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust for the HAHT Opportunity Funding Program;

3)  Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Hingham Historical Commission for the Conservation of Historic Town records;

4)  Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the First Parish of Hingham Association for the Old Ship Meeting House Steeple Restoration located at 90 Main Street, Map 61/Lot 124;

5)  Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the High Street Cemetery Association for the restoration of the Whiting Memorial Chapel located at 19 High Street, Map 117/Lot 018;

6)  Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Historical Commission for the repair of the New North Meeting House Tower Clock located at 1 Lincoln Street, Map 61/Lot 25;

7)  Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Historical Commission for the repair of the Congregational Church Tower Clock located at 378 Main Street, Map 90/Lot 60;

8)  Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Historical Commission for the repair of the William Fearing Building’s Tower Clock located at 298 Main Street, Map 81/Lot 61;

9)  Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Historical Commission for the repair of the Second Parish Church Tower Clock located at 687 Main Street, Map 126/Lot 47;

10) Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation General Fund for the deposit to the Town’s Conservation Fund for purchase of land, capital improvements and expenses related to such acquisitions, to make deposits or down payments toward acquisitions or creation of such interest in open space or otherwise preserve open space;

11) Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Trustees of the Hingham Bathing Beach for the Harbor Boardwalk Extension Project   located at 0 Otis Street, Map 50/Lot 51;

12) Appropriate a sum of money from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the South Shore Country Club for a Feasibility Study and Design Plans for possible replacement of the pool located at 274 South Street, Map 70/Lot 14;

or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the Community Preservation Committee)

     COMMENT:  The Community Preservation Act (Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44B) (“CPA”) is a local option statute enacted by the State Legislature in 2000 and adopted by the Town in 2001.  It enables towns to collect and expend funds (including matching funds from the Commonwealth) to maintain their character by supporting open space, affordable housing, recreation lands, and historic preservation initiatives specifically defined by the CPA.  The current Hingham CPA surcharge rate is 1.5% of real property taxes. 

The Community Preservation Committee (“CPC”) started the deliberation process this year with a budget of $1,240,113.  That includes local tax revenue from FY16 and a State grant of $201,390.  It also includes funds returned to the CPC for projects that either were completed under budget or cancelled.

In 2017, the CPC is recommending approval of funding for 12 projects for a total of $559,379.  An additional $167,250 of CPA funds will be set aside in anticipation of debt payments for the Hingham Heritage Museum.  The Museum project ($1.1MM) was approved by the Annual Town Meeting in 2013 and will require debt payments from CPA funds for no more than 5 years.  To date, $385,047 has been retained for this purpose.  An additional $360,000 of CPA funds will be set aside in anticipation of debt payments for the Lehner Property.  The purchase of this property ($5MM) was approved by the Annual Town Meeting in 2016 and will require debt payments from CPA funds for 20 years.    

The proposed funding of the 2017 projects will meet the required 2017 allocations for historic preservation, open space, and housing, and the balance remaining in the CPC General Fund will be available for future projects, including projects in these categories.

The comments of the Advisory Committee are set forth below and correspond to the numbered sections of this Article.

1)  The CPA allows up to 5% of annual CPA revenues to be reserved for operational and administrative expenses, including engineering, legal and consulting costs associated with the review of proposed projects, the administration of projects approved by annual Town Meeting, and the salaries of part-time staff.  In the past, Hingham’s administrative appropriations have averaged 3.3% of annual CPA revenues compared to the 5% allowed by the CPA.  This year’s contribution to the CPC Administrative Fund equals $50,000 and represents 4.2% of the annual CPA revenues.

The Advisory Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the CPC all voted unanimously in support of this project.

2)  The Hingham Affordable Housing Trust (“HAHT”) requests $118,011 from the Community Housing Reserve to place in the Opportunity Fund established by Town Meeting in 2014.  This fund is for the sole purpose of responding quickly to potentially short-lived opportunities to purchase sites with major potential for development / preservation of affordable housing within the Town.  Should there be a need to borrow funds or mortgage assets to complete a purchase, approval by the majority of the Board of Selectmen is required.  If, however, a potential purchase is of a smaller nature, the HAHT can act on its own and acquire the property independently in a timely manner.  Transactions involving such funding will be included in a detailed annual financial report from HAHT to the Selectmen.  The Town has placed $375,000 of CPA funds in the Opportunity Fund since the Fund was established.

In 2015, the HAHT used funds from the Opportunity Fund to purchase a condominium in Beal’s Cove Village.  When the HAHT purchases such a property, the Trust applies for an affordability restriction from the State Department of Housing and Community Development.  Once the restriction is in effect, the HAHT sells the property (for less than its purchase price) and places the proceeds back into the Opportunity Fund for future purchases.  The HAHT continues to search for properties that meet the criteria for affordable housing.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this project.  The CPC voted 7 to 1 in support of this project.

3)  The Hingham Historical Commission is seeking $6,500 in CPA funds to restore and preserve permanent Town records of births, marriages, and deaths, plus Selectmen’s records. The timeframe covers the period of 1635-1890. Foremost in need are 12 deteriorated leather-bound volumes considered to be in the poorest condition and currently unusable.

Existing degraded conditions include: a) separated bindings, due to dried out animal hide glue, and cracked leather coverings: b) faded discolored quill pen entries and Gall ink bleed-through; c) moldy, stained, torn, and flaking parchment paper resulting in page disintegration.

Recent intervention by the Town archivist, a position created from previous CPC funding, resulted in all volumes being wrapped in archival tissue paper and safely stored in archival boxes to prevent further damage.  Restoration by a document conservator will result in: 1) a documented record of before and after restoration photographs; 2) an inventory of condition assessment and treatment stability for each of the 12 volumes; 3) access to the public through the Town Clerk’s office.

The Advisory Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the CPC all voted unanimously in support of this project.

4)  The First Parish of Hingham Association requests $41,103 toward the cost of reconstruction of the Old Ship Meeting House upper steeple, which has deteriorated significantly.  Importantly, the steeple supports the historic 1731 weathervane.  Old Ship Meeting House is recognized by Hingham residents as the iconic image on the Seal of the Town of Hingham and has been a vital part of the Town’s history since its original construction in 1681, more than 335 years ago.

In March 2016, the weathervane on the steeple of Old Ship Meeting House began to lean at an angle greater than 30 degrees, and immediate action was required to prevent it from falling onto (or possibly through) the roof of the Meeting House.  As an emergency measure, the weathervane was removed, and the top of the steeple was protected from the weather, pending a complete repair and restoration.

Both the weathervane and the steeple framing are significant elements of the Old Ship historic building fabric, so the re-installation of the weathervane must be undertaken so that as much of the steeple framing as possible can be preserved.  As with all steeple work, access is a challenge and represents a significant cost in this project.

The project will preserve the steeple and restore the anchorage of the weathervane so it will meet modern engineering standards.  All work will be done in compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards as required in the Preservation Agreements that Old Ship Meeting House has with the Massachusetts Historical Commission.  The total cost of the project is estimated to be approximately $130,000.

The Advisory Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the CPC all voted unanimously in support of this project.

5) The High Street Cemetery Association seeks $40,625 to restore and preserve the Whiting Memorial Chapel.  This 1905 Gothic Revival chapel requires restoration of a portion of its original copper roof and gutters along with restoration of its exterior stone walls with these funds.

Closed for 20 years because of disrepair, this non-denominational chapel was erected by Albert Turner Whiting in memory of his parents and wife.  As one of only two stone edifices in Hingham designed in the Gothic Revival style, the building is both historically and architecturally significant.

Cemetery Association Trustees are financing additional chapel restoration efforts, including interior walls, stained glass windows, utility systems, and handicapped accessibility, through grants, fundraising, and their endowment. After project completion, estimated to cost $169,124 in total, the Trustees plan to open the chapel for public use.

The Advisory Committee voted 13 to 1 in support of this project.  The Board of Selectmen and the CPC voted unanimously in support of this project.

6) The Hingham Historical Commission requests $17,670 for repair and restoration of the New North Meeting House Tower Clock.  The clock and the building in which it resides are owned by the New North Meeting House Corporation, which has provided consent for the Town to undertake this project.  The New North Meeting House was built in 1806, and the funds for construction were raised from the sale of pews to 55 families.  The tower clock was installed in the late 1800’s and is visible when one approaches Hingham Square from any direction. The Meeting House and a working/chiming tower clock testify to the vitality of the downtown area and remind people of the value that the Town places on preserving its historic resources.

The project scope includes inspection of all parts of the tower clock and bell and includes the measures necessary to restore them to working order.  Hingham’s Keeper of the Clocks will oversee the project, and the Historical Commission Administrator will monitor the status of the project.  Restoration will be successful when the clock shows the correct time on all four faces and the striker rings the hour correctly. Regular winding, periodic oiling, and inspecting the clock for potential problems will constitute regular maintenance.  A two-year warranty on the parts and labor will allow time to uncover any problems or irregularities.

The 1889 Town Meeting Warrant contained an Article asking whether the Town should adopt measures to maintain and repair four tower clocks located in buildings throughout the Town.  Article 46 asked, “Will the Town adopt any measure to take charge of running and keeping in repair the clocks on churches at South Hingham and Hingham Centre, and on the New North Church and other public clocks in town?”  Town Meeting voted, “That the Selectmen be authorized to take charge of all the public clocks in the town and to charge the expense of keeping them in order and running to incidental expenses, provided the owners of the buildings in which said clocks are located shall give their consent thereto.”

The Advisory Committee voted 13 to 1 in support of this project.  The Board of Selectmen and the CPC voted unanimously in support of this project.

7) The Hingham Historical Commission requests $13,800 for repair and restoration of the Congregational Church Tower Clock.  The clock and the building in which it resides are owned by the Hingham Congregational Church Association, which has provided consent for the Town to undertake this project. The Congregational Church was built in 1848, and the clock in the tower started running in 1887. The clock tower and spire dominate Main Street in Hingham Centre and are especially visible on the west to east run of Main Street from Cold Corner to the church.  A working clock and bell in the church tower will enhance “Historic Hingham”.  The clock, with periods of downtime, operated until the church spire and tower caught fire after the spire was struck by lightning in August 2005. 

The project scope includes inspection of all parts of the tower clock and bell and includes the measures necessary to restore them to working order.  The church is currently undergoing major renovation, which will be completed in the spring of 2017.  Clock restoration work will begin thereafter.  Hingham’s Keeper of the Clocks will oversee the project, and the Historical Commission Administrator will monitor the status of the project.  Restoration will be successful when the clock shows the correct time on all four faces and the striker rings the hour correctly.  Regular winding, periodic oiling, and inspecting the clock for potential problems will constitute regular maintenance.  A two-year warranty on the parts and labor will allow time to uncover any problems or irregularities.

For a brief description of the responsibility for maintenance and repair of the tower clocks in Hingham, see comment for the New North Meeting House clock.

The Advisory Committee voted 12 to 1 in support of this project with one member abstaining.  The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this project.  The CPC voted 7 to 1 in support of this project.

8) The Hingham Historical Commission requests $15,170 for repair and restoration of the William Fearing Building’s Tower Clock.  The clock and the building in which it resides are owned by Dependable Cleaners (in Hingham Centre), which has provided consent for the Town to undertake this project.  William Fearing II was the original proprietor of this building, constructed in1858.  The original tower clock came from a grammar school located on School Street.  The current clock was installed in 1913 and, since then, has been an icon in Hingham Centre.

The project scope includes inspection of all parts of the tower clock and bell and includes the measures necessary to restore them to working order.  The scope also includes the re-gilding of the numerals on the clock face.  Hingham’s Keeper of the Clocks will oversee the project, and the Historical Commission Administrator will monitor the status of the project.  Restoration will be successful when the clock shows the correct time on the single face and the striker rings the hour correctly. Regular winding, periodic oiling, and inspecting the clock for potential problems will constitute regular maintenance.  A two-year warranty on the parts and labor will allow time to uncover any problems or irregularities.    

For a brief description of the responsibility for maintenance and repair of the tower clocks in Hingham, see comment for the New North Meeting House clock.

The Advisory Committee voted 12 to 2 in support of this project. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this project.  The CPC voted 6 to 2 in support of this project.

9)  The Hingham Historical Commission requests $7,500 for repair and restoration of the Second Parish Church Tower Clock.  The clock and the building in which it resides are owned by the Second Parish Church Association which has provided consent for the Town to undertake this project.  The Second Parish Church was built in 1742, and its clock is a significant presence as one travels north on Main Street from South Hingham.  Originally a mechanical clock, the chime of the clock was tied into the steeple bell.  The historically significant Second Parish Church and clock remain points of interest and are a reminder of Hingham’s early days in Glad Tidings Plain. 

The project scope includes inspection of all four clock components, i.e., three clock movements in the tower and a master clock on the first floor.  When the Church changed the mechanical tower clock to an electrical clock in the late 1990’s, the bell was not connected.  Hingham’s Keeper of the Clocks will oversee the project, and the Historical Commission Administrator will monitor the status of the project.  Restoration will be successful when the clock shows the correct time on all three faces.  The bell will not be connected as part of this project.  The clock will require minimal maintenance once its parts are replaced.  A two-year warranty on the parts and labor will allow time to uncover any problems or irregularities.

For a brief description of the responsibility for maintenance and repair of the tower clocks in Hingham, see comment for the New North Meeting House clock.

The Advisory Committee voted 13 to 1 in support of this project. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this project.  The CPC voted 7 to 1 in support of this project.

10)  Under the CPA, at least 10% of the annual revenues (including the State matching funds) must be spent or set aside for open space initiatives.  This request authorizes the transfer of $30,000 to the Town’s Conservation Fund to be spent on priorities established by the Conservation Commission, consistent with the requirements of the CPA.  These include, among other things, costs associated with the acquisition of open space, such as appraisals, down payments, and environmental studies, as well as maintenance and management of conservation land. The Conservation Fund provides the Conservation Commission flexibility to respond to unexpected open space opportunities that may arise during the year.

The Advisory Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the CPC all voted unanimously in support of this project.

11) The Trustees of the Bathing Beach seek $144,000 to extend the recently constructed brick paver boardwalk along the beach northward.  Winding among the grove area’s trees, the resulting 600-foot walkway will connect the existing footpath terminus located near the current bathhouse to the sidewalk at the northern edge of the grove.

Envisioned in the 2007 Harbor Master Plan, this project will result in an 8-foot wide hard surface/handicapped accessible walkway along Hingham Harbor, located a safe distance from Route 3A and its traffic.  Families, individuals, and Farmers’ Market attendees are increasing activity along Hingham’s waterfront.  This pathway will enhance the Harbor’s amenities, providing a safer and more enjoyable pedestrian experience.

If approved, proponents anticipate construction during fall 2017 after review and coordination with Town boards. Proponents see this walkway as another link in planned harbor improvements such as the new bathhouse/concessions/community building.

The Advisory Committee voted 11 to 2 in support of this project with one member abstaining.  The Board of Selectmen and the CPC voted unanimously in support of this project.

12)  The Country Club Management Committee (“CCMC”) of the South Shore Country Club (“SSCC”) is seeking $75,000 in CPA funds for a feasibility study to assess the comparative costs and benefits of the following options to address the deteriorating swimming pool facility structure:                              

  1. Repair or replace the existing pool basin and supporting structure
  2. Demolish the 50-year old pool facility and terminate pool operations
  3. Design and construct at a new location on SSCC premises:

a)     an outdoor pool

b)    an indoor pool

c)     an indoor/outdoor pool

d)    an indoor/outdoor pool and fitness facility.

As part of this effort, the CCMC will research and determine possible funding sources, such as fundraising, grants, municipal bonding, or public/private partnerships associated with a new pool and fitness facility, and will prepare a summary report based on all of the information obtained above. The CCMC also will recommend a plan, determined by this assessment, to be the best solution for the CCMC and the Town.                                                                                                                                                                   

Based on a structural analysis provided by an independent professional structural engineer (“PE”) retained by the CCMC, it has been determined that the existing pool facility is structurally compromised.  The PE has installed a crack-monitoring system and provides monthly reports to the CCMC on the structural fitness of the pool facility.  The useful life of the pool has not been determined but is considered to be only a few years.

The CCMC has retained an architect to prepare a preliminary conceptual drawing and layout plan for a pool facility replacement, including an indoor/outdoor pool and exercise area, at a new location at SSCC.

The feasibility study, if approved, will include but not be limited to: a) the retention of a PE to provide restoration estimates for the existing facility; b) layout and design work, site surveys, geo-tech borings, traffic and parking assessments, and other related research for a potential new facility.

SSCC operates as an Enterprise Fund, with revenues from fees, permits, leases, and sales.  Financial considerations impacting the selection of the best option will include evaluation of: a) the cost benefit of a two-month pool season vs. a year-round facility; b) capital funding sources and requirements; c) sustainable revenue potential; d) revenue stream portfolios; e) customer demand.

The Advisory Committee voted 13 to 0 in support of this project with one member recusing herself.  The Board of Selectmen and the CPC voted unanimously in support of this project.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town appropriate or set aside for later spending funds as recommended by the Community Preservation Committee as follows:

1) Appropriate $50,000 from the Community Preservation General Fund for addition to the Community Preservation Committee’s Administrative Fund;

2)  Appropriate $118,011 from the Community Preservation Community Housing Reserve to be used by the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust for the HAHT Opportunity Funding Program;

3)  Appropriate $6,500 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Hingham Historical Commission for the Conservation of Historic Town records;

4)  Appropriate $41,103 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the First Parish of Hingham Association for the Old Ship Meeting House Steeple Restoration located at 90 Main Street, Map 61/Lot 124;

5)  Appropriate $40,625 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the High Street Cemetery Association for the restoration of the Whiting Memorial Chapel located at 19 High Street, Map 117/Lot 018;

6)  Appropriate $17,670 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Historical Commission for the repair of the New North Meeting House Tower Clock located at 1 Lincoln Street, Map 61/Lot 25;

7)  Appropriate $13,800 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Historical Commission for the repair of the Congregational Church Tower Clock located at 378 Main Street, Map 90/Lot 60;

8)  Appropriate $15,170 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Historical Commission for the repair of the William Fearing Building’s Tower Clock located at 298 Main Street, Map 81/Lot 61;

9)  Appropriate $7,500 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Historical Commission for the repair of the Second Parish Church Tower Clock located at 687 Main Street, Map 126/Lot 47;

10)  Appropriate $30,000 from the Community Preservation General Fund for the deposit to the Town’s Conservation Fund for purchase of land, capital improvements and expenses related to such acquisitions, to make deposits or down payments toward acquisitions or creation of such interest in open space or otherwise preserve open space;

11)  Appropriate $144,000 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Trustees of the Hingham Bathing Beach for the Harbor Boardwalk Extension Project   located at 0 Otis Street, Map 50/Lot 51;

12)  Appropriate $75,000 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the South Shore Country Club for a Feasibility Study and Design Plans for possible replacement of the pool located at 274 South Street, Map 70/Lot 14.

ARTICLE 19:  Will the Town vote to establish the “2017 School Building Committee” for the purpose of studying, preparing, monitoring, advising and completing a feasibility study and other related projects for the Foster Elementary School which may include a renovation, remodeling or new building project for the Foster Elementary School located at 55 Downer Avenue, Hingham MA (Assessor’s Map ID 38/0/1), or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the Hingham School Committee)

 

     COMMENT:  This Article will establish a School Building Committee for the purpose of overseeing a feasibility study and any related projects for the Foster Elementary School. The Committee is authorized to study, prepare, monitor, and advise the Town during the process that may result in a renovation, remodeling, or a new school building.  The Committee will consist of a minimum of 7 members of the community to be appointed by the Town Moderator, the Board of Selectmen, and the Hingham School Committee.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article. 

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town (1) establish the “2017 School Building Committee” which committee shall consist of a minimum of seven (7) voting citizens of the Town of Hingham appointed as follows:  two members by the Moderator, two members by the Board of Selectmen, and three members by the School Committee, with the chair of said committee to be jointly designated by the appointing authorities; (2) in the event any additional members are required to serve on said committee by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”) pursuant to 963 CMR 2.10(3), then such additional members shall be appointed by the School Committee; (3) authorize said committee to do everything necessary and appropriate to study, prepare, monitor, advise, and complete a feasibility study and other related projects for the Foster Elementary School which may include a renovation, remodeling, or new building project for the Foster Elementary School located at 55 Downer Avenue, Hingham, MA (Assessor’s Map ID 38/0/1), including, but not limited to, the employment of professionals and the payment of any and all other costs incidental and related thereto as necessary to carry out said project; and (4) authorize said committee to expend up to $750,000 for the foregoing purposes from an approved appropriation.

ARTICLE 20:  Will the Town vote to appropriate, borrow or transfer from available funds, an amount of money to be expended under the direction of the 2017 School Building Committee for a feasibility study for Foster Elementary School located at 55 Downer Ave (Assessor’s Map ID 38/0/1), for which feasibility study the Town may be eligible for a grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.  The MSBA’s grant program is a non-entitlement, discretionary program based on need, as determined by the MSBA, and any costs the Town incurs in connection with the feasibility study in excess of any grant approved by and received from the MSBA shall be the sole responsibility of the Town, or act on anything relating thereto. 

(Inserted at the request of the Hingham School Committee)

     COMMENT: This Article will appropriate $750,000 to conduct a feasibility study of Foster Elementary School (“Foster”) for the purpose of a possible renovation to the existing building or a new school building.  The funds will only be used if the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”) accepts the Statement of Interest (“SOI”) submitted by the Hingham School Committee and invites Hingham to participate in the MSBA Core Program.

Foster consists of grades kindergarten through five with a current student population of 470.  The school was built in 1951 with an addition constructed in 1957 and renovations in 1974 and 2008.  The 2008 renovation was part of the 2005 Ten-Year Master Plan developed by the Facilities Study Committee to address increasing enrollment and existing building conditions.  The 2008 Foster renovation was combined with a renovation project at Plymouth River School, the purchase of modular classrooms for the former Middle School, and the construction of East School.  The Foster Project included redesign of specialized educational areas, reconfiguration of classroom and staff space, replacement of a few windows and doors, overall updating of the building with paint, carpet and lighting, and some ADA compliance issues. 

The 2005 Ten-Year Master Plan determined that Foster would require comprehensive renovations or replacement in the future.  Educational programming is affected by inadequate educational space including classroom size, shared library and technology lab space, staff work areas in hallways, and small gymnasium and cafeteria spaces.  Due to the building architecture, in addition to multiple roof systems, the technology infrastructure is problematic.  Plexiglas windows exist throughout the building resulting in poor natural light and significant heat loss. 

 

An aging 1950’s mechanical infrastructure has become the critical area of concern.  The current steam heating distribution system is deteriorating, supplying inconsistent heat throughout the building.  Most problematic have been leaks in the steam distribution system resulting in frequent repairs.  Leaks have occurred in walls, under floors, and in crawl spaces.  On occasion, the relocation of students to other parts of the building has been necessary while the system is being repaired.  The leaks are also impacting the electrical system, as steam can travel through conduit into electrical / fire alarm panels and set off alarms and cause unreliable Wi-Fi communication.  Approximately $78,000 has been spent on infrastructure issues over the last two and one-half years.

Based on Foster’s current condition and the length of time needed to potentially secure State reimbursement and local funding, the Hingham School Committee decided to submit an SOI to the MSBA.  An SOI is the critical first step in the MSBA's program to partially fund the construction, renovation, addition, or repair of municipally or regionally owned school facilities located in cities, towns, and regional school districts.  It informs the MSBA about deficiencies that impact the delivery of the district's educational program.  The School Committee submitted the SOI for the MSBA’s Core Program, which is primarily for projects that include extensive repairs, renovations, addition/renovations, and new school construction.  The deadline for submission was Friday, April 7, 2017.  As a result, the SOI was filed prior to 2017 Annual Town Meeting. 

The MSBA grant program for school building construction and renovation projects is a non-entitlement competitive program based on need and urgency.  Once the MSBA Board (“Board”) invites a district to participate in the MSBA’s grant program, a collaborative process begins to determine if the best solution is renovation, reconstruction, or a new school building.

Should the Board vote favorably on the Foster SOI, the Board will invite Hingham into the MSBA Core Program. The Core Program includes a 270-day Eligibility Period with preliminary requirements that include, among other things, formation of a School Building Committee and confirmation of community authorization and funding.  Districts that successfully complete the preliminary requirements to the satisfaction of the MSBA Board are eligible to receive an invitation to the feasibility phase which includes schematic design. An invitation to the Eligibility Period is not an invitation to the feasibility phase, and it does not guarantee an invitation to the MSBA’s capital pipeline.  The funds requested in this Article will be used only if Hingham is invited to participate in the Core Program. The cost of the feasibility study ($750,000) is an estimate based upon a comparison of 8 comparable elementary schools built under the auspices of the MSBA.  This Article gives the Town Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, the authority to borrow up to $750,000 for the feasibility study.

 

If the Board approves the completed feasibility study, it will provide a recommendation to address the problems with the school, and the Town will be eligible for a partial reimbursement of the building costs, including the feasibility study. This reimbursement, while subject to change, is currently a minimum of 31% of the total project cost with some exclusions, such as site acquisition, legal expenses, and bonding expenses.  The timeline for the process of application, review, approval, and construction can be lengthy, and, if approved, the entire project will likely extend for three to five years.  Acting at this year’s Town Meeting positions the Town to move quickly if accepted by the MSBA.  The Town has previously worked with the MSBA process to review the condition and adequacy of school buildings, most recently at the Hingham Middle School and East School, both of which qualified for MSBA reimbursement.

While the issues at Foster are significant, a renovation of the existing school cannot be ruled out.  The MSBA has expertise with school buildings in Massachusetts and will guide Hingham to a cost-effective solution.  If the results of the feasibility study, done in collaboration with the MSBA, determine that the site is not appropriate, then the Town would need to follow the MSBA requirements for considering a new site.

During the feasibility study, the Town and the School Building Committee will collaborate with the MSBA to generate an initial space summary based on the Town’s educational program, document existing conditions, establish design parameters, develop and evaluate preliminary and final alternatives, and recommend the most cost-effective and educationally appropriate solution to the Board.  The Board must approve the preferred solution for a project before schematic design begins. The amount of the appropriation in this Article includes the costs anticipated for schematic design.

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote by Town Meeting.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town of Hingham appropriate the amount of $750,000 for the purpose of paying costs of a feasibility study for Foster Elementary School located at 55 Downer Ave (Assessor’s Map ID 38/0/1), including the payment of all costs incidental or related thereto, and for which the Town of Hingham may be eligible for a grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”), said amount to be expended under the direction of the 2017 School Building Committee.  To meet this appropriation the Town Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, is authorized to borrow up to said amount under and pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44, or pursuant to any other enabling authority.  The Town of Hingham acknowledges that the MSBA has not yet invited the Town of Hingham into the Eligibility Period and that expenditures from this appropriation are subject to acceptance of the Town into said MSBA Eligibility Period.  The Town of Hingham acknowledges that the MSBA’s grant program is a non-entitlement, discretionary program based on need, as determined by the MSBA, and any costs the Town of Hingham incurs in excess of any grant approved by and received from the MSBA shall be the sole responsibility of the Town of Hingham, and further provided that the amount of borrowing authorized pursuant to this vote shall be reduced by any grant amount set forth in the Feasibility Study Agreement that may be executed between the Town of Hingham and the MSBA.

Any premium received by the Town upon the sale of any bonds or notes approved by this vote, less any such premium applied to the payment of the costs of issuance of such bonds or notes, may be applied to the payment of costs approved by this vote in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 44, section 20, thereby reducing the amount authorized to be borrowed to pay such costs by a like amount.

ARTICLE 21:  Will the Town accept the preliminary design for the Hingham Public Library building, contingent on the receipt of a State grant, and authorize the Library Trustees and the Board of Selectmen to apply for, accept, and expend any State grants which may be available for the project, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the Library Trustees)

     COMMENT:  The Trustees of the Hingham Public Library (“Trustees”) seek Town Meeting approval to proceed with a State grant application for a project that would address physical needs at the Library.  Town Meeting approval is a required component of the grant and must be received by June 17, 2017, in order for the application to be considered eligible for the grant round.  There is no funding required of the Town in order to apply for this grant, and no commitment is required of the Town to approve construction funding if the grant is offered. 

The mission of the Library, to give citizens excellent modern Library services, is greatly constrained by the building.  The current Library limitations include insufficient meeting rooms, parking, study areas, and reading space.  In addition, and perhaps most importantly, the current children’s area, located in the former Town Hall wing, is wholly inadequate to meet the needs of children and young adults and their parents.  The Trustees and staff have been evaluating these problems for many years and have identified this grant opportunity as one potential solution that addresses the inadequacies of the physical building.  Additional plans for building improvements also will be developed so that the Town will have a range of options to consider before deciding upon the best course of action at a future Town Meeting. 

The construction grant program offered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (“MBLC”) is designed to aid communities in building or rebuilding their public libraries.  Under this program, which is not offered every year but in past years has been available approximately every five years, the State could pay as much as 40% of the eligible construction costs of an accepted project.  In order to apply for this grant, the applicant must follow a standard MBLC template that outlines specific building requirements for shelving, seating, functional areas, parking, and other elements that are specific to the design and use of public libraries over a 20-year planning horizon.

The Trustees submitted the grant application by the filing deadline of January 26, 2017.  It was signed by the Trustees and the Board of Selectmen.  The MBLC reviewers will announce the grant recipients in July of 2017.  If the MBLC offers Hingham a grant, the Town may have until Town Meeting 2018 to decide whether or not to commit to the local share of funding, which would include a capital campaign by the Trustees.  It is possible that the MBLC will put the Town on a waiting list, in which case the decision about whether or not to commit to local funding would be one or two years or more in the future.  The offer of the grant does not commit or bind the Town in any way.

The Trustees have committed up to $85,000 from the Library endowment to fund the development of the architectural drawings that are part of the grant application.  The anticipated cost of the project specified in the application is $26 million, including allowances for inflation and overages.  The Town portion of this project likely would be between $15 million and $16 million.  The financial commitment from the Trustees also includes the development of separate design plans for two additional options that would improve the building at lower price points but would not be eligible for the State construction grant.

The grant application does not require local funding or Town commitment to approve construction funding later.  This is not a building project that is ready to go, and Town Meeting support in April of 2017 does not indicate that this is the preferred option of the three that will be developed for consideration.  It is, however, the only option that meets all of the MBLC requirements to be eligible to apply for State money.  If the grant application is successful, a Town vote to consider approval of local funding would occur at a future Town Meeting.

The Advisory Committee voted unanimously in support of this Article.  The Board of Selectmen voted 2 to 1 in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town accept the preliminary design for the Hingham Public Library building, contingent on the receipt of a State grant, and authorize the Library Trustees and the Board of Selectmen to apply for, accept, and expend any State grants which may be available for the project.

ARTICLE 22:  Will the Town appropriate a sum of money to be expended at the direction of the Board of Selectmen for the purpose of studying the space needs and operational requirements of Town departments, agencies, and committees, other than the School Department, evaluating the feasible options for addressing their infrastructure needs at Town Hall or elsewhere, and reporting results and recommendations from the study to Town Meeting, or act on anything relating thereto?     

(Inserted at the request of the Town Hall Study Committee)

     COMMENT:  The Town Hall Study Committee (“THSC”) is requesting $50,000 for professional services to evaluate the expanding needs of Police, Elder Services, Recreation, School Administration, and other general government functions at Town Hall that service the Hingham community.  The work will include:

1)  A traffic and parking study to assess traffic flow and parking needs for Town government business, Police, Senior Center, School Administration, Recreation, civic activity, vehicle storage, and employee parking;

2) A structural engineering evaluation of the physical plant framework/infrastructure and potential for modification and additions;

3) An evaluation that includes climate control, HVAC, electrical, water, and sewer systems.  Additionally, there will be an assessment of telecommunications and information technology functions and needs, especially data storage/retrieval/proprietorship.

This is an assessment only.  Although plans from previous studies are available, no design expense is necessary at this time.

The outcome of this study will be an in-depth analysis of requirements for square footage, logistics, and structural systems for Town offices to function for the next 20 years.  The charge of the THSC is to assess, compile, and propose options to a future Town Meeting.

In addition to a complete facility infrastructure assessment, the study will entail: 1) interviewing all department heads, representatives, or appropriate services to assess current and future office space and storage needs; 2) evaluating civic activity flow, space usage, and value to the community; 3) assessing public access to services that Town government provides; and 4) inviting and incorporating public comment into the evaluation process.

There may be other services considered for assignment to Town Hall that may be essential to the building, or centralized Town government, for which space is not currently available.  Conversely, some services currently located at Town Hall may be considered for relocation elsewhere.  Funds appropriated for this Article will be used for evaluating Town Hall.

Planning for the current Town Hall began in 1991, 26 years ago.  The facility was dedicated in 1998 as a civic center after renovation that converted the building from the former Central Junior High School.  In December 2012, the THSC was established and charged by the Board of Selectmen to study both present and future uses of Town Hall and to discuss a range of potential options.  This initiative was placed on hold when Town focus was redirected to consider negotiation, acquisition, and renovation of privately owned properties for sale, with the intention that the Senior Center and Recreation administration and activities would vacate Town Hall.  Relocation of these departments would thus create space for remaining Town Hall services to expand.  The Town was unable to acquire these properties.  The THSC was reconvened in January 2017.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town appropriate the sum of $50,000 to be expended at the direction of the Board of Selectmen for the purpose of studying space needs and operational requirements of Town departments, agencies, and committees, other than schools, evaluating the feasible options for addressing their infrastructure needs at Town Hall (or elsewhere), and reporting the results and recommendations to a future Town Meeting.  

ARTICLE 23: Will the Town raise and appropriate, borrow, or transfer from available funds a sum of money for the purchase of golf carts and utility vehicles for the South Shore Country Club, or act on anything relating thereto?                                                                            

(Inserted at the request of the South Shore Country Club Management Committee)

     COMMENT:  The South Shore Country Club (“Club”) is requesting to borrow $283,756 to purchase 70 new Club Car golf carts ($209,301), and 10 John Deere utility maintenance vehicles ($74,455) to replace aging vehicles that have exceeded their useful life.  The fleet purchase will be financed through Town debt, which will be repaid from Club operating revenues in five annual payments, commencing in Fiscal Year 2018.

In November of 2016, a change in the allowed use of bond premiums and how they are to be applied came into effect under the Municipal Modernization Act.  This Act permits the Town to lower the project’s borrowing cost through the application of any bond premium received.

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote by Town Meeting.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town appropriate the sum of $283,756 for the purchase of golf carts and utility vehicles for the South Shore Country Club.  To meet said appropriation, the Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, is authorized to borrow said sum under Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 44, section 7, or any other enabling authority and to issue bonds or notes of the Town therefor.

Any premium received by the Town upon the sale of any bonds or notes approved by this vote, less any such premium applied to the payment of the costs of issuance of such bonds or notes, may be applied to the payment of costs approved by this vote in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 44, section 20, thereby reducing the amount authorized to be borrowed to pay such costs by a like amount.

ARTICLE 24: Will the town raise and appropriate, borrow or transfer from available funds the sum of money for the purpose of completing Phase II of the development of detailed engineering drawings for repair and restoration of three Town owned wharves at the POW/MIA park, the former Mobil Station Parcel and Barnes Wharf; or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the Harbor Development Committee)

     COMMENT:  Article 31 of the 2015 Annual Town Meeting appropriated $175,000 for Phase 1 of the repair and restoration of the Town wharves, focusing first on an engineering assessment of the condition of all the wharves.  During 2016, the Harbor Development Committee elected to pursue Phase II (engineering, design, and permitting) with an initial focus on Town Pier.  The purpose of this Article is to appropriate $240,000 to fund engineering, design, and permitting for the next three prioritized Town-owned wharves / seawalls, namely POW/MIA Park, the former Mobil Station Parcel, and Barnes I Wharf.

The first two locations, although not as intensively used as the Town Pier or Barnes I Wharf, represent some of the lowest elevations and the worst seawall conditions in relation to sea level rise and resiliency improvements called for by the Kleinfelder Sea Level Rise Study.  Barnes I Wharf is also prioritized in light of the recently signed lease agreement with the Hingham Maritime Center, which calls for the Town to extend its best efforts to obtain wharf improvement permits by December 31, 2018. 

The plan is to accomplish the wharf work referenced above using a portion of available accumulated mooring fees in the General Fund.  At June 30, 2016, this reserve fund contained $487,684.  Forecasted revenue for Fiscal Year 2017 is $250,857 and for Fiscal Year 2018 is $266,348.  Expenditure of the funds for this Article would leave approximately $764,000 of accumulated mooring fees in the General Fund after collection of the Fiscal Year 2018 mooring fees.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town transfer $240,000 from available funds (accumulated mooring fees in the General Fund) for the purpose of completing Phase II of the development of detailed engineering drawings and permitting for repair and restoration of three Town-owned wharves, POW/MIA Park, the former Mobil Station Parcel, and Barnes I Wharf.

ARTICLE 25: Will the town raise and appropriate, borrow or transfer from available funds a sum of money for the purpose of constructing a new bathhouse/snack stand and multi-purpose building or take any other action relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the Trustees of the Bathing Beach)

     COMMENT:  The Town has set aside $850,000 for the proposed new bathhouse/multi-purpose building to be located at 31 Otis Street.  These funds consist of a $700,000 grant from the State Seaport Bond Council and $150,000 in Town matching funds from the Community Preservation Fund pursuant to Article 30 of the 2016 Annual Town Meeting.  The Seaport Bond grant includes a number of specific requirements, among them the inclusion of the historic and maritime-themed meeting room.  These funds revert to the Commonwealth if not expended by June 30, 2018.

The new 2,700-square foot multi-purpose building has an anticipated construction cost of $1.2 million which includes an estimate of $950,000 for the building and $250,000 for utilities (water, sewer, electric, and gas service to the building site).  As the building is in an A-2 flood zone, the building requires an oversized slab foundation to meet building requirements, but the building profile will be kept as low as possible in order to respect the site’s historic district designation.  The design has been approved by the Historic Districts Commission.

The purpose of this Article is for the Bathing Beach Trustees to borrow up to $350,000 of additional funds from the Town’s Unassigned Fund Balance.  These funds would be repaid from rent payments received from the concessionaire for the 1,000-square foot portion of the building designated for the snack shop.  The Bathing Beach Trustees received one qualified response to the RFP to operate the concession stand. The Trustees could also generate funds to offset the borrowing and operating expenses by charging for the use of the new 500-square foot maritime-themed community room to be utilized for small functions, Town recreation programs, etc. 

The existing bathhouse, which has been maintained by the Trustees, will remain in place to be used for the storage of lifeguard chairs and picnic benches and will continue as a locker facility for the lifeguards.

The Advisory Committee voted 9 to 5 in support of this Article. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town appropriate $350,000 from available reserves to be expended by the Trustees of the Bathing Beach to construct a new bathhouse / multi-purpose building located at 31 Otis Street, Hingham, MA, and to authorize the Board of Selectmen to enter into a lease for the concession facility and community function room which will provide payments to the Town in amounts to repay said aggregate appropriation on terms and conditions as determined by the Board of Selectmen.

ARTICLE 26: Will the Town raise and appropriate, borrow, or transfer from available funds a sum of money to be expended under the direction of the Board of Selectmen for the purpose of improving and resurfacing various roads within the town, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

     COMMENT:  The purpose of this Article is to appropriate $590,000 to complete funding for the design, permitting, and construction of the Downer Avenue and Martin’s Lane seawalls.  These seawalls are currently crumbling and in poor condition.  They are currently negatively affecting resident access to these neighborhoods and are considered a public safety hazard.

Article 20 of the 2016 Annual Town Meeting authorized the borrowing of up to $2,242,000 for the purpose of improving and resurfacing various roads within the Town over a five-year period.  The approved plan called for the issuance of bonds equal to the annual draws for the project.  While the use of debt is a concern, the Advisory Committee prefers to limit expending Unassigned Fund Balance on projects of this size.

It is recommended that the additional cost of the roadway improvements in this Article be added to the bond authorization granted last year, thereby increasing the entire bonding to a maximum of $2,832,000.

Roadways are a capital asset with a useful life well beyond the life of the borrowing.  The quality of the roadways is a safety concern and impacts all citizens.

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote by Town Meeting.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town appropriate $590,000 to be expended under the direction of the Board of Selectmen for the purpose of repairing and reconstructing two sections of roadway:  the Downer Avenue seawall and the Martin’s Lane seawall.  To meet said appropriation, the Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, is authorized to borrow said sum under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44, section 7, or any other enabling authority and to issue bonds or notes of the Town therefor.

Any premium received by the Town upon the sale of any bonds or notes approved by this vote, less any such premium applied to the payment of the costs of issuance of such bonds or notes, may be applied to the payment of costs approved by this vote in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 44, section 20, thereby reducing the amount authorized to be borrowed to pay such costs by a like amount.

 

ARTICLE 27: Will the Town raise and appropriate, borrow, or transfer from available funds a sum of money to be expended under the direction of the Sewer Commission to remove infiltration of ground water from the sewer system, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Sewer Commission)

     COMMENT:  Excess infiltration and inflow (“I & I”) into the sewer system from ground water (infiltration) or from unauthorized use of sewer drainage such as roof drains (inflow) causes unnecessary costs for the sewer ratepayer.  The Hingham Sewer Department is billed by the amount of water it pumps through its stations.  When ground water seeps into the sewer, the amount of water pumped through the stations increases and so do the costs.

This appropriation will fund the investigation and repair of areas where ground water is entering the sewer system.  An engineer will inspect the sewer system using cameras to determine the sections that are cause for concern.  Once the breaches are identified, the types of repairs will be identified and the repairs will be made.

This Article will be funded through borrowing.  The ratepayer will cover the costs of this borrowing.  The completion of this project, as well as the use of debt financing, should result in keeping sewer rates steady.

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote by Town Meeting.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED: That $200,000 be appropriated to be expended by the Sewer Commission for the purpose of financing sewer system improvements to prevent the infiltration of ground water or inflow of unauthorized water into the sewer system, including without limitation, the payment of all costs incidental thereto, as defined in Massachusetts General Laws chapter 29C, and, in connection therewith, the Sewer Commission is authorized to apply for grants or loans from the state or federal government for such purposes and to enter into a loan agreement, security agreement, or similar agreement under any state or federal program to fund or finance such project.  To meet said appropriation, the Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, is authorized to borrow said sum under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44, section 7, or any other enabling authority and to issue bonds and notes of the Town therefor.

Any premium received by the Town upon the sale of any bonds or notes approved by this vote, less any such premium applied to the payment of the costs of issuance of such bonds or notes, may be applied to the payment of costs approved by this vote in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 44, section 20, thereby reducing the amount authorized to be borrowed to pay such costs by a like amount.

 

ARTICLE 28: Will the Town raise and appropriate, borrow, or transfer from available funds a sum of money to be expended under the direction of the Sewer Commission for the improvement of the sewer system, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Sewer Commission)

     COMMENT:  Currently, the sewer mains serving North Hingham, including the 3A corridor and Lincoln Street, are approaching capacity.  Sewer main breaks have occurred in the areas surrounding Lincoln Street due to, among other reasons, a “water hammer”.  A water hammer occurs when two main sewer pipes feed into one sewer main at the same time causing the pressure to rise.  The convergence causes a water hammer, which can and has caused sewer main breaks.

This Article seeks $353,000 to re-route one of the main sewer pipes to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (“MWRA”) Stoddard’s Neck Pumping Station and to install a sewer force main from the Bradley Woods Station to a manhole before the Stoddard’s Neck Station.  This will have three desired results.  It will address the capacity issue that North Hingham is already facing, it will decrease the chances of a sewer force main break, and it will enable general maintenance on the existing sewer mains.

This Article represents a portion of the funding for this multi-year capital initiative to improve Hingham’s sewer system.  Avalon Communities (“Avalon”) and Broadstone Bare Cove Alliance (“BBCA”) are also funding a portion of this initiative.

$203,000 of the appropriation in this Article represents partial funding for changing the route and size of the main to gain capacity as well as fixing permeation in the existing lines.  The overall cost for this project is $327,600.  BBCA will be funding the balance of $124,600.

$150,000 of this appropriation will be used to install a new Bradley Woods Station force main.  Force mains move wastewater under pressure by using pumps or compressors versus gravity.  This will free up capacity by proactively pumping water more efficiently. The overall cost for this project is $334,000. Avalon will be funding the balance of $184,000.

This Article will be funded through borrowing. The ratepayer will cover the costs of this borrowing. The completion of this project, as well as the use of debt financing, should result in keeping sewer rates steady.

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote by Town Meeting.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.


     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town (1) authorize and empower the Sewer Commission to renovate and / or replace the Route 3A force main and piping and the Stoddard’s Neck sewer main and piping; and (2) appropriate $353,000 for the purposes of this vote.  To meet said appropriation, the Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, is authorized to borrow said sum under Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44, section 7, or any other enabling authority and to issue bonds and notes of the Town therefor.

Any premium received by the Town upon the sale of any bonds or notes approved by this vote, less any such premium applied to the payment of the costs of issuance of such bonds or notes, may be applied to the payment of costs approved by this vote in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 44, section 20, thereby reducing the amount authorized to be borrowed to pay such costs by a like amount.

ARTICLE 29:  Will the Town adopt the following registered voters’ petition Article:

In accordance with the Articles of the Constitution of the Commonwealth, the Hingham Board of Selectmen is hereby directed to petition the General Court for passage of an act relative to the Town Board of Selectmen, providing as follows:

Section 1:  Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the number of members of the Hingham Board of Selectmen shall be increased from three (3) to five (5). The Board of Selectmen shall annually elect a chairman from among its members.

Section 2:  At the first Annual Town Election to occur more than four (4) months following the passage of this act by the Massachusetts General Court, but in no event prior to the 2018 Annual Town Election, three (3) Selectmen shall be elected. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes in that election shall serve a three (3) year term, the candidate receiving the second highest number votes shall serve a two (2) year term and the candidate receiving the third highest number of votes shall serve a one (1) year term. Thereafter, as the terms of Selectmen expire, successors shall be elected for terms of three (3) years.

Section 3:  This act shall take effect upon its passage.

or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of Judy Kelley)

     COMMENT:  This Article seeks to increase the membership on the Board of Selectmen from three to five.  Because State law precludes a town from making such a change through town meeting vote, the Article would direct the Selectmen to request a special act of the Massachusetts legislature instituting the change.

The Town has considered an increase in the number of selectmen several times over the past 25 years.  On each occasion, the increase was proposed by citizen petition.  In 1992, following extensive study and lengthy debate at Town Meeting, the proposed change to five members was defeated on a voice vote. The matter was again considered and defeated in 2004 (when the increase proposed was to seven members), 2005 (five members), and 2010 (five members). After the 2010 vote, the matter was referred to a government study committee that decided not to recommend a change.  Proponents of the current Article believe it is time to again revisit this question due to the challenges posed by an ever-increasing municipal budget and population. 

Specifically, proponents argue that an increase to five selectmen would bring more diversity of opinion to the Board's deliberations, broaden representation among different groups in Town, provide better oversight of the Town Administrator, and decrease the workload for each individual selectman thereby allowing each one to concentrate on fewer topics and allowing the Board to broaden its outreach to the community.  In addition, proponents see the ability of two selectmen on a five-member board (less than a quorum) to confer outside of an open meeting to be an advantage because it would allow limited private discussion. Moreover, proponents note that if one member of a three-member board is unable to attend meetings for whatever reason, it will be more difficult to conduct Town business than if there were five members.

Proponents also point to numerous towns similar to Hingham that have gone to five selectmen.  Indeed, Hingham is one of only three communities within the benchmark list of communities to which Hingham compares itself that still has three selectmen.  The other two communities, Weston and Westwood, have smaller populations than Hingham.  Duxbury, Marshfield, Milford, and Belmont, which are not benchmark towns, are also still at three.  (Of these, only Duxbury is smaller than Hingham.) 

In contrast, opponents of the proposal argue that there is no reason to revisit this issue.  In short, they ask what is not getting done in Town with three selectmen and what has the Board been unable to accomplish that would have been different if there had been more members?  They also warn of the danger of unintended consequences if this significant change in governance is made without careful study.  In particular, opponents argue that five selectmen may have an adverse impact on the workload of Town staff and, by extension, the Town operating budget, due to a multiplicity of projects and agendas championed by additional selectmen.  Others worry that an increase to five would further enhance the power of the Town Administrator in that the Board's role would be diluted among more people.  In addition, with five, there could be less incentive to reach consensus and a greater risk of factionalism among the members of the Board, leading to less efficient meetings. 

Contrary to the view of proponents that private discussions by less than a quorum would be beneficial, opponents see significant danger of business being conducted outside of open meetings with private horse-trading between small groups of Board members and potentially a major loss of transparency.  Other concerns include whether a sufficient number of qualified candidates could be found, the effect of the increase on the Town's tradition of selectmen generally only serving two terms, and the inability of the electorate to force a quick turnover of the Board.  As far as diversity of expertise, opponents note that even five Board members cannot be experts in all subject areas, and, in any event, the expertise needed of a selectman is the ability to analyze information and make decisions, relying on staff and the knowledge of Town committees when necessary.

In reviewing the current Article, the Advisory Committee has received input from proponents, many current and past selectmen, and other citizens involved in the study of Town governance.  We have also reviewed the minutes and transcripts of the past Town Meeting and Government Study Committee deliberations.  In 2011, the Government Study Committee, with volunteer help from some members of the League of Women Voters of Hingham, analyzed Hingham and 16 benchmark towns to learn what those communities felt were the pluses and minuses of three and five-member boards.  We have had the benefit of this study data and have also looked at three towns (Milton, Norwell and Hanover) that have changed to five since 2011.  In these three towns, the change to five selectmen was made only after a government study committee examined the question and how it applied to each individual town’s particular circumstances.  If Hingham wishes to consider an increase, it would be prudent to follow the same approach, which is consistent with the process that has been used for other significant changes in Town governance.  A majority of the Advisory Committee believes it does not make sense to change the fundamentals of Town governance without careful study, including evaluations of other communities that have made the change and the views of rating agencies.  It seems unlikely, if five turned out not to work well for Hingham, that we could easily go back to three.

The Advisory Committee voted 7 to 5 to refer the question to a study committee.  Of the five voting against a study committee, four supported no action (keeping the existing number of three members), while one was in favor of increasing the Board to five members.  The Board of Selectmen did not consider referring the question to a study committee and voted 2 to 1 in support of no action on the original Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town establish a study committee consisting of a chairman and four additional members appointed by the Moderator for the purpose of considering whether the Town should increase the membership of the Board of Selectmen to five.  The committee shall report the results of its review prior to the 2018 Annual Town Meeting, and, if the committee wishes to recommend a change in the number of selectmen, it should prepare an Article in time to present to the 2018 Annual Town Meeting.

     ARTICLE 30:  Will the Town authorize, but not require, the Board of Selectmen, pursuant and subject to M.G.L. Chapter 40, Sections 3, 15 and 15A, as applicable, to grant, for the benefit of that certain parcel of land described below (the “Benefitted Parcel”), a subsurface easement for the purpose of storm water discharge through a pipe to a catch basin located on a parcel of land, known as Assessor Map 61, Parcel 91, owned by the Town of Hingham and under the care, custody and control of the Board of Selectmen, for consideration of a minimum of $1.00 and on such other terms and conditions as the Board deems in the best interest of the Town, the Benefitted Parcel being known as and numbered 6 Station Street (shown as Lot 79 on Assessor Map 61), and being particularly described in a deed, dated October 31, 2007, recorded with the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds in Book 35269 , Page 271, and a deed dated May 21, 2015, and recorded with said Registry of Deeds in Book 45607, Page 291, or act on anything relating thereto?  

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

     RECOMMENDED: The Advisory Committee will make its recommendation at Town Meeting.

ARTICLE 31:  Will the Town accept Paragraph 12 (being the second to last Paragraph) of the current version of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 41, Section 81U, which Paragraph relates to the expenditure of subdivision bonds or security, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the Planning Board)

     COMMENT: The Subdivision Control Law requires the Planning Board (“Board”) to obtain security from a developer to ensure completion of subdivisions, which security may take the form of a bond or deposit of money (among other options).  If the Board determines that the subdivision developer is in default, it may enforce the bond or take the deposit for the benefit of the Town.  Currently, in order to use the security to complete the subdivision, there must be an appropriation by Town Meeting.  Approval of this Article would modify that process and permit the Town to expend up to $100,000 of the security with Board of Selectmen approval and without going to Town Meeting.

This action would provide another tool for the Town to ensure completion of work specified in approved subdivision plans thereby addressing potential public safety issues for subdivision residents.  While not creating any new authority over subdivisions, it would give Hingham flexibility when faced with an incomplete subdivision.  The Town is not legally obligated to complete a subdivision when a developer defaults.  However, approval of this Article would make the process simpler and permit completion in a timelier manner if the Town wished to do so.

The Planning Board, the Advisory Committee, and the Board of Selectmen all voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

     RECOMMENDED: That the Town accept paragraph 12 (being the second to last paragraph) of the current version of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 41, section 81U, which paragraph relates to the expenditure of subdivision bonds or security.

ARTICLE 32:  To see if the Town will vote to amend the Zoning By-Laws of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 10, 1941, as heretofore amended, as follows:

Item 1.  Insert the following definitions in Section VI:

Lot area 

An area of land which is determined by the limits of the lot lines of land under one (1) ownership bounding that area and expressed in terms of square feet or acres. When the distance between any two (2) points of lot lines is less than fifty (50) feet, measured in a straight line, the smaller portion of the lot which is bounded by such line and lot lines shall not be considered in computing minimum lot area unless the distance along such lot lines between such two points is less than one hundred and fifty (150) feet.

Lot line, front 

The property line dividing a lot from the adjacent a single street right-of-way. In the case of a corner lot the front lot line of greater length shall be known as the primary front lot line. When a corner lot has front lot lines of equal length, the owner shall designate a single front lot line as the primary front lot line, on the applicable plan and/or application.

Lot line, rear 

The property line most nearly opposite and furthest from the front lot line or primary front lot line in the case of corner lots.

Lot line, side 

Any property line not a front or rear lot line.

CornerLotA.pngItem 2. Replace the "Yard: Corner lot" diagram where it appears in Section VI with the following diagram:

or act on anything relating thereto? 

(Inserted at the request of the Zoning Board of Appeals)

    

COMMENT:  This Article would amend the Zoning By-law by (1) defining “lot area”, (2) defining front, rear, and side “lot line”, and (3) replacing the existing diagrams of yards to match the new lot line definitions, with the goal of promoting more uniformity in the shape of new lots.  The proposed “lot area” definition would prevent the use of long “fingers” or “tails” of land in meeting the minimum lot area requirements of the Schedule of Dimensional Requirements in Section IV–A of the Zoning By-law.  Currently, all land within the bounds of a lot (except for wetlands and flood–prone areas in certain districts) counts in calculating minimum lot size.  This has allowed creation of irregularly shaped lots with odd appendages that often do not provide usable space and whose main function is to assemble the required acreage.  Both the Board of Appeals and Planning Board believe such lots run counter to the intent of the minimum lot area requirement.  The proposed lot area definition would prevent the use of such “fingers” in calculating lot area. A lot could still include such “fingers”; however, they could not be used to satisfy the minimum lot area requirement. 

The proposed lot line definitions clarify the location of front and rear lines for lots bordering more than one street (corner lots and through lots) and create the concept of “primary front lot line”.  Because yard requirements are measured from lot lines, the identity of a line as front, rear, or side can affect the placement of structures on the lot.  The proposed yard diagrams utilize the new lot line definitions and depict yards and lot lines for interior, corner, and through lots. 

                                                            

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote of Town Meeting.

During the public hearing, the Planning Board modified the Article and voted unanimously to approve the Article as revised.  The Board of Appeals unanimously supported the Planning Board’s revisions.  The Advisory Committee voted unanimously in support of this Article.  

 

RECOMMENDED:  That the Town amend the Zoning By-law of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 10, 1941, as heretofore amended, as follows: 

Item 1. Insert the following definitions in Section VI:

Lot area

The total land area of a lot expressed in terms of square feet or acres. When the distance between any two (2) points on lot lines is less than fifty (50) feet, measured in a straight line, the smaller portion of the lot which is bounded by such line and lot lines shall only be considered in computing minimum lot area if the distance along such lot lines between such two points is less than one hundred and fifty (150) feet.

Lot line, front 

The property line dividing a lot from a street right-of-way. In the case of a lot bounded by more than one street, the front lot line of greatest length shall be known as the primary front lot line. When a lot has front lot lines of equal length, the owner shall designate a single front lot line as the primary front lot line on the applicable plan and/or application.

                                                                                                                                              

Lot line, rear 

The property line most nearly opposite and furthest from the front lot line or primary front lot line in the case of lots bounded by more than one street. In some cases, there may be no rear lot line.  

Lot line, side 

Any property line not a front or rear lot line.

Item 2.  Replace the "Yard" diagrams where they appear in Section VI with the following diagram

ARTICLE 33:  Will the Town amend the Zoning By-law of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 10, 1941, as heretofore amended as follows:

Item 1:  By amending Section IV-C. 2 by deleting the existing text with the express purpose of creating uniformity in the shape of lots and inserting the following “Lot Width:  Each Lot shall have, in addition to the required frontage and area, a width of not less than eighty (80) percent of the required frontage at all points between the front and rear property lines.  Lot width is the horizontal distance between side lot lines, measured parallel to the lot frontage.”  

or act on anything relating thereto? 

(Inserted at the request of the Planning Board)

     COMMENT: The purpose of this Article is to provide for more consistency in the shape of new lots, thereby reducing the creation of irregularly configured parcels of land. The Zoning By-law currently requires that lots be laid out in a way that allows a circle with a diameter equal to 80% of the linear frontage requirement to be located tangent to the front lot line and within all other property bounds.  The By-law also requires residential lots to comply with a “lot shape factor” calculated using a formula based on the relationship of the square of the lot perimeter to the lot area.  In practice, this formula has been difficult to understand and, since it is subject to an exception, has allowed the creation of very irregularly shaped lots in locations with wetlands and other development constraints. The Article proposes to delete the shape factor provision and to replace the circle requirement with a square, the sides of which must equal 80% of the required frontage. The Planning Board believes these changes will result in more regular lots than the existing circle requirement.  In addition, the Article would require that a lot maintain a width of at least 80% of the required frontage between the street and the front of the principal structure on the parcel.  These amendments will assure that access to the principal building is available over the frontage, help public safety officials locate and reach such buildings, reduce overdevelopment of land through the creation of irregularly shaped lots, and prevent adverse development impacts to sensitive areas. 

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote of Town Meeting.

The Planning Board evaluated several alternative approaches, modified the Article in response to discussion at the public hearing, and voted unanimously to approve the Article as revised.  The Advisory Committee voted unanimously in support of this Article.  

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town amend the Zoning By-law of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 10, 1941, as heretofore amended, as follows:

By amending Section IV-C. 2 by deleting the existing text and inserting the following:

Lot Shape: 

a.     In addition to the required frontage and area, each lot shall be laid out so that a square with each side equal to eighty (80) percent of the required frontage for the zoning district in which it is located can be placed within the lot lines with at least one point on the front lot line. 

b.    In addition, at no point between the front lot line or primary front lot line and the front wall of the principal structure shall the lot have a width of less than eighty (80) percent of the required frontage. Lot width is the horizontal distance between side lot lines, measured parallel to the lot frontage. 

ARTICLE 34:  Will the Town amend the Zoning By-law of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 10, 1941, as heretofore amended as follows:

Item 1:  By amending Section V to insert a new subsection

V-J Regulation of the Sale and Consumption of Marijuana Not Medically Prescribed

1.     Purpose

This Section is intended to provide restrictions that will allow the Town adequate time to consider where and under what conditions to allow the operation of marijuana establishments and the on-site consumption of marijuana and marijuana products, to the extent that such establishments and such consumption are permitted under state laws and regulations. The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (the “Act”), the purpose of which is to control the production and distribution of marijuana in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, went into effect on December 15, 2016.  However, as the Cannabis Control Commission, to be formed under the Act, has until September 15, 2017 to adopt regulations consistent with the Act for the administration, clarification and enforcement of laws regulating and licensing marijuana establishments, a restriction on the location of such establishments in Hingham shall provide the opportunity to study their potential impacts on adjacent uses and on general public health, safety and welfare, and to develop zoning and other applicable regulations that appropriately address these considerations consistent with statewide regulations and permitting procedures.  The moratorium, of a finite duration, will allow the Town to carefully study the potential impacts of such establishments and recommend zoning bylaw amendments to address the Town's concerns in the context of Town planning goals and objectives.

2.     Definitions

The capitalized terms used in this Section and not otherwise defined in this Bylaw shall have the meaning set forth in the Act.

3.     Temporary Moratorium

For the reasons set forth above, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Zoning By-Law to the contrary or any other uses permitted thereunder, Marijuana Establishments, excluding any one or combination of the uses which may constitute a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center, shall not be permitted in any zoning district in the Town of Hingham so long as this Section is effective.  Use variances shall be strictly prohibited. 

4.     Expiration

This Section V-J moratorium shall be in effect through June 30, 2018. 

or act on anything relating thereto? 

(Inserted at the request of the Planning Board)

      COMMENT: The Massachusetts legislature passed a measure to delay for six months the implementation of key retail provisions of the newly legalized sale of recreational marijuana.  The final regulatory framework does not need to be in place before July 2018.  In addition, the Treasurer of the Commonwealth, in cooperation with the legislature and Governor’s office, must determine an appropriate level and source of funds to support the Cannabis Control Commission.  This includes the hiring of staff, the appointing of commissioners, and the design and implementation of technology and reporting systems.

Adoption of this Article will prohibit the establishment of recreational marijuana establishments in any zoning district in the Town of Hingham through June 30, 2018.  Adoption will also provide the Town with time to engage in a planning process to address the impact of recreational marijuana use in Town and to implement modifications to the Zoning By-law in a manner consistent with sound planning.  It is very likely that the Planning Board will bring an article to Town Meeting in 2018 regarding recreational marijuana in order to have a by-law in place prior to the expiration of the recommended moratorium.

Without a moratorium, once the Commission issues regulations, it could be possible for someone to open a retail marijuana shop in any Hingham zoning district where retail is allowed.

The Town had a similar moratorium when medical marijuana was legalized.  The proposed recreational marijuana moratorium has no effect on the medical variety, which is currently allowed with a special permit in two of the Hingham zoning districts.

In a similar situation elsewhere, the Attorney General has approved a “temporary moratorium as it is consistent with the Town’s authority to impose reasonable time limitations on development…. while the municipality engages in comprehensive planning.”  (West Bridgewater Special Town Meeting of December 14, 2016- Case # 8282 Warrant Article #2 (Zoning)).

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote by Town Meeting.

The Planning Board and the Advisory Committee voted unanimously in support of this Article. 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town amend the Zoning By-law of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 10, 1941, as heretofore amended, as follows:

Item 1:  By amending Section V to insert a new subsection

V-J  Regulation of the Sale and Consumption of Marijuana Not Medically Prescribed

1.     Purpose

This Section is intended to provide restrictions that will allow the Town adequate time to consider where and under what conditions to allow the operation of marijuana establishments and the on-site consumption of marijuana and marijuana products, to the extent that such establishments and such consumption are permitted under state laws and regulations. The Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act (the “Act”), the purpose of which is to control the production and distribution of marijuana in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, went into effect on December 15, 2016.  However, as the Cannabis Control Commission, to be formed under the Act, has until September 15, 2017 to adopt regulations consistent with the Act for the administration, clarification and enforcement of laws regulating and licensing marijuana establishments, a restriction on the location of such establishments in Hingham shall provide the opportunity to study their potential impacts on adjacent uses and on general public health, safety and welfare, and to develop zoning and other applicable regulations that appropriately address these considerations consistent with statewide regulations and permitting procedures.  The moratorium, of a finite duration, will allow the Town to carefully study the potential impacts of such establishments and recommend zoning by-law amendments to address the Town's concerns in the context of Town planning goals and objectives.

2.     Definitions

The capitalized terms used in this Section and not otherwise defined in this By-law shall have the meaning set forth in the Act.

3.     Temporary Moratorium

For the reasons set forth above, and notwithstanding any other provision of the Zoning By-law to the contrary or any other uses permitted thereunder, Marijuana Establishments, excluding any one or combination of the uses which may constitute a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center, shall not be permitted in any zoning district in the Town of Hingham so long as this Section is effective.  Use variances shall be strictly prohibited. 

4.     Expiration

This Section V-J moratorium shall be in effect through June 30, 2018.

ARTICLE 35:  Will the Town amend the Zoning By-law of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 10, 1941, as heretofore amended as follows:

Item 1:  By amending Section V-A.5.l by inserting “The submittal should include information on the specific design proposed for pervious or porous pavement, and details on the required maintenance should be noted on the plans and incorporated as part of the submittal.” at the end of the section after the word “Protection”.

Item 2:  By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “landscaped sections and islands in” after the word “within” the first sentence.

Item 3:  By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “designed” after “parking area” in the first sentence.

Item 4:  By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “large areas of bituminous concrete and” after “visual impact of” in the first sentence.

Item 5:  By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “All landscaped sections and islands shall contain appropriate evergreen shrubs, trees and plantings.” after the word “possible.”

Item 6:  By amending Section V-A.5.m by deleting “Trees and” from the second sentence.

Item 7: By amending Section V-A.5.m by capitalizing “Landscaped” in the second sentence.

Item 8: By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “sections” and deleting “plots” in the second sentence.

Item 9: By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “Where landscaped sections abut a residential zone or use, the landscaping shall provide a year round screening effect with plantings and berms to shield abutters from headlights. If parking areas are designed so as to face a public way, the landscaping shall provide a year round screening effect to prevent headlight glare from shining into the way and soften the visual impact of the parking field.” after the sentence ending in “adjoining properties.”

Item 10: By amending Section V-A.5 by inserting a new subsection “n. Shared Parking/Reduction in Parking Requirements - A reduction in the required number of off-street parking spaces may be granted by Special Permit A3.  Parking areas serving a clearly defined mixture of uses that do not place coincident demands on the parking area may have the parking requirements reduced by 10 percent for a lot with 50-99 spaces, and by 15 percent if the lot size is 100 spaces or greater.  Projects are encouraged to provide shared parking, cooperative parking, bicycle accommodations, landbanked parking spaces, consolidation of curb cuts and driveways, and other on-site amenities to alleviate the demand for parking and the adverse impact of impervious surfaces.

Request for reductions in off-street parking space requirements shall be accompanied with an analysis for the demand in off-street parking, parking management summary, other like use parking demand studies and/or reports, summary of parking program to reduce parking demand, and any other documentation necessary to adequately review the request for the reduction of parking requirements, prepared in accordance with the standards promulgated by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), the Urban Land institute (ULI) or other appropriate source.” 

Item 11: By amending Section V-A.5 by inserting a new subsection “o. Landbanked Off-Street Parking Areas - For projects requesting a reduced parking requirement the Planning Board may require that an area equivalent to the total amount or a portion thereof the number of reduced off-street parking spaces be preserved and identified on the Site Plan.  Each landbanked parking space shall be equal to 9' x 18'. The landbanked parking spaces shall be properly designed as an integral part of the overall parking development, and in no event shall any landbanked parking space be located within the front or side yard setbacks, unless specifically permitted within the Zoning District.  At the request of the Planning Board, the Applicant may be required to provide a parking monitoring program at specified timeframes from the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy, in order to determine if and when the "landbanked parking spaces" are needed. If, after the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the planning Board or the Applicant finds that all or a portion of the landbanked parking spaces are needed, the Applicant shall submit a written request, which states the need for the additional off-street parking spaces and a revised site plan denoting the un-landbanked parking spaces.   Frequent parking of vehicles on a street adjacent to the premises or in areas not designated as formal parking spaces shall be considered evidence of the inadequacy of the off-street spaces provided.”

or act on anything relating thereto? 

(Inserted at the request of the Planning Board)

     COMMENT:  This Article amends the Zoning By-law’s off-street parking section addressing parking lot design standards including landscaping, shared parking, and landbanked parking. Its goal is to provide clear standards for both applicants and the Planning Board (“Board”) regarding project design, submittal requirements, and review parameters.

The amendment’s revised landscaping provisions specify planting requirements for the landscaped sections of parking areas to soften visual effects, shield abutters from headlights, and prevent headlight glare from shining into public ways.

To alleviate parking demand and the adverse effects of impervious surfaces, the amendment encourages projects to provide shared parking, bicycle accommodations, landbanked parking, and other initiatives. It specifies the analysis, parking management details, and documentation required whenever proponents request reductions in off-street parking space requirements.

In addition, the amendment creates provisions for landbanked parking areas, enabling the Board to approve site plans designating and preserving land for future development of off-street parking spaces while not requiring their immediate construction.  This option provides flexibility to project proponents and the Board in cases where reduced parking may meet demand, while ensuring that all required parking spaces can be provided if needed in the future. Provisions include requirements for landbanked parking space dimensions, locations, and potential monitoring programs and criteria for determining the adequacy of the amount of off-street parking provided.

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote by Town Meeting.

During its public hearing, the Planning Board refined the amendment’s language to clarify its provisions and then voted unanimously to approve this Article as revised.  The Advisory Committee voted unanimously in support of this Article. 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town amend the Zoning By-law of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 10, 1941, as heretofore amended, as follows:

Item 1:  By amending Section V-A.5.l by inserting “The submittal should include information on the specific design proposed for pervious or porous pavement, and details of the required maintenance should be noted on the plans and incorporated as part of the submittal.” at the end of the section after the word “Protection”.

Item 2: By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “landscaped sections and islands in” after the word “within” in the first sentence.

Item 3: By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “and additional understory plantings” after “one live tree” in the first sentence, also inserting “designed” after “parking area” and deleting “so as” after “designed” in the first sentence.

Item 4: By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “large areas of hardscape and” after “visual impact of” in the first sentence.

Item 5: By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “All landscaped sections and islands shall contain a mix of evergreen shrubs, trees and plantings.” after the word “possible.”

Item 6:  By amending Section V-A.5.m by deleting “Trees and” from the second sentence.

Item 7: By amending Section V-A.5.m by capitalizing “Landscaped” in the second sentence.

Item 8: By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “sections” and deleting “plots” in the second sentence.

Item 9: By amending Section V-A.5.m by inserting “Where landscaped sections abut a residential zone or use, the landscaping shall provide a year-round screening effect with plantings and berms to shield abutters from headlights.  If parking areas are designed so as to face a public way, the landscaping shall provide a year-round screening effect to prevent headlight glare from shining into the way and soften the visual impact of the parking field.” after the sentence ending in “adjoining properties.”

Item 10: By amending Section V-A.5 by inserting a new subsection “n.  Shared Parking/Reduction in Parking Requirements - A reduction in the required number of off-street parking spaces may be granted by Special Permit A3.  Parking areas serving a clearly defined mixture of uses that do not place coincident demands on the parking area may have the parking requirements reduced by 10 percent for a lot with 50-99 spaces, and by 15 percent if the lot size is 100 spaces or greater.  Projects are encouraged to provide shared parking, cooperative parking, bicycle accommodations, landbanked parking spaces, consolidation of curb cuts and driveways, and other on-site amenities to alleviate the demand for parking and the adverse impact of impervious surfaces.

Requests for reductions in off-street parking space requirements shall be accompanied by an analysis of the demand for off-street parking, a parking management summary, other like use parking demand studies and/or reports, a summary of the parking plan to reduce parking demand, and any other documentation necessary to adequately review the request for the reduction of parking requirements, prepared in accordance with the standards promulgated by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), the Urban Land Institute (ULI) or other appropriate source.” 

Item 11: By amending Section V-A.5 by inserting a new subsection “o.  Landbanked Off-Street Parking Areas - For projects requesting a reduced parking requirement, the Planning Board may require that an area equivalent to the total area of the reduced off-street parking spaces and related landscaped areas and driveways be preserved and identified on the Site Plan.  Each landbanked parking space shall meet the dimensional requirements in the By-law.  The landbanked parking spaces shall be designed as part of the overall parking development, and in no event shall any landbanked parking space be located within the front or side yard setbacks, unless specifically permitted within the Zoning District.  At the request of the Planning Board, the Applicant may be required to provide a parking monitoring program at specified times from the issuance of the certificate of occupancy, in order to determine if and when the landbanked parking spaces are needed. If, after the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the Planning Board or the Applicant finds that all or a portion of the landbanked parking spaces are needed, the Applicant shall submit a written request to the Planning Board, which states the need for the additional off-street parking spaces, and a revised site plan denoting the un-landbanked parking spaces.   Frequent parking of vehicles on a street adjacent to the premises or in areas not designated as formal parking spaces shall be considered evidence of the inadequacy of the off-street spaces provided.”

     ARTICLE 36:  Will the Town vote to amend the General By-laws of the Town, adopted March 13, 1939, as heretofore amended, by amending Article 5A, by striking section 8 and inserting in its place the following new section 8 for the purpose of adopting procedures for the disposal of surplus supplies pursuant to MGL Chapter 30B, §15:

SECTION 8 – (A) The Town’s Chief Procurement Officer shall be responsible for disposing of all tangible supplies that are no longer useful to the Town but that have a resale or salvage value of less than $10,000.  The term “supplies” includes motor vehicles, machinery, computer equipment, furniture, and other items of personal property, but does not include real property.

(B) Upon the request of any department head, board, or committee, the Chief Procurement Officer or his/her designee may declare property to be surplus, and may approve the property for disposition, if that property is no longer useful to the Town.

(C) Any property declared to be surplus and approved for disposition shall be disposed of in accordance with the following procedures, compliance with which shall be the responsibility of the Chief Procurement Officer:

(1) The Chief Procurement Officer or his/her designee shall circulate a list of the property to be disposed of to other Town departments, including the School Department, and shall convey the property to any department that wants it;

(2) In the event that no other Town department claims the property, the Chief Procurement Officer or his/her designee shall value the property in a commercially reasonable manner.

(3)(a) If the property is valued at $10,000 or more, the Chief Procurement Officer shall comply with the requirements of M.G.L. c.30B, §15(b) through (d).

(b) If the property is valued at less than $10,000 but more than $100, the Chief Procurement Officer shall utilize any one or more of the following methods of disposition, with the intent of maximizing the return on revenue to the Town:

(i) Trade-in the property with the purchase of equipment;

(ii) Sell the property to another governmental unit that is known to be interested;

(iii) Sell the property to the highest bidder after advertising the property's availability on the Internet, at the Town Office Building, and/or in a newspaper published in the town;

(iv) Sell the property at public auction, notice of which shall conform to M.G.L. c. 30B, § 5(c); or

(v) Sell the property at private sale, except that no such private sale shall be made to any employee or elected or appointed official of the Town;

(c) If the property is valued at $100 or less, the Chief Procurement Officer may utilize any one or more of the methods of disposition specified in the preceding subsection. Alternatively, the Chief Procurement Officer may recycle or trash the property, or may donate it to a charitable organization that has received a tax exemption from the United States by reason of its charitable nature, as he/she deems appropriate.

(4) The Town shall reserve the right to accept or reject any or all offers to purchase surplus property.  All surplus property shall be sold on an “as is,” "where is" basis, with no warranty of any kind, express or implied.

(5) All monies from the disposition of supplies under this procedure shall be payable to the Town.  All revenue from the disposal of supplies under this procedure shall be deposited with the Town treasurer for deposit in the general fund.

(6) If the Town receives no offers for a surplus supply, the supply may be disposed of in any commercially reasonable manner.

or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)   

       COMMENT: The State public procurement law, Massachusetts General Laws chapter 30B, section 15(f), governs the procedures that may be used by a municipality such as the Town of Hingham to dispose of surplus "tangible suppl[ies], no longer useful to the [municipality] but having resale or salvage value . . . ."  This category of property does not include real estate, which is subject to different disposition requirements.

The State law requires that surplus supplies of an estimated value exceeding $10,000 be disposed of only through competitive sealed bids, a public auction, or "established markets".  The State law, however, also permits a municipality to adopt its own written procedures for the disposition of surplus supplies of an estimated value below $10,000.

The recommended motion would adopt for the Town of Hingham such a set of written procedures.  It would do so by repealing article 5A, section 8, of the Town By-laws, which currently authorizes the Board of Selectmen simply to dispose of surplus supplies "at public auction or private sale".  It would then replace article 5A, section 8, with a new by-law based on a model policy circulated by the State Inspector General and modified to suit Hingham's needs. Both the existing by-law and the recommended new by-law govern only the disposition of surplus supplies of "Town-side" departments.  Disposition of surplus supplies of the School Department are governed by that Department and by the School Committee.

The recommended new by-law features several provisions that are designed to ensure that the value of surplus supplies is captured by the Town in an efficient fashion.  First, the recommended new by-law requires surplus supplies to be offered to other Town departments, including the School Department.  In the event that the supplies go unclaimed by other Town departments, the recommended new by-law requires the Chief Procurement Officer (i.e., the Town Administrator) or his / her designee to determine the value of the supplies using "commercially reasonable means".

The value of the supplies governs what happens next.  If the value of the supplies is determined to be more than $100 but less than $10,000, the Chief Procurement Officer can employ a number of specified methods – including public auction, sale to the highest bidder, or private sale – to dispose of the supply, while always acting "with the intent of maximizing the return on revenue to the Town".  If, however, the value of the supplies is determined to be less than $100, the Chief Procurement Officer is authorized (but not required) to dispose of them without attempting to obtain value in exchange.  This discretion, which is limited to supplies reasonably valued at less than $100, is intended to avoid situations in which the value of staff time necessary to process a sale is likely to exceed any value that might be realized from the sale.

Other provisions of the recommended new by-law require any sales of surplus supplies to proceed without warranty, on an "as is / where is" basis, and also require any revenue generated through the disposition of a surplus supply to be deposited in the Town's General Fund.

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town amend the General By-laws of the Town, adopted March 13, 1939, as heretofore amended, by striking article 5A, section 8, and inserting in its place the following:

SECTION 8 – (A) The Town’s Chief Procurement Officer shall be responsible for disposing of all tangible supplies that are no longer useful to the Town but that have a resale or salvage value of less than $10,000.  The term “supplies” includes motor vehicles, machinery, computer equipment, furniture, and other items of personal property, but does not include real property.

(B) Upon the request of any department head, board, or committee, the Chief Procurement Officer or his / her designee may declare supplies to be surplus, and may approve the supplies for disposition, if those supplies are no longer useful to the Town.

(C) Any supplies declared to be surplus and approved for disposition shall be disposed of in accordance with the following procedures, compliance with which shall be the responsibility of the Chief Procurement Officer:

(1) The Chief Procurement Officer or his / her designee shall circulate a list of the supplies to be disposed of to other Town departments, including the School Department, and shall convey the supplies to any department that wants them;

(2) In the event that no other Town department claims the supplies, the Chief Procurement Officer or his / her designee shall value the supplies in a commercially reasonable manner.

(3) (a) If the supplies are valued at $10,000 or more, the Chief Procurement Officer shall comply with the requirements of Massachusetts General Laws chapter 30B, sections 15(b) through (d).

(b) If the supplies are valued at less than $10,000 but more than $100, the Chief Procurement Officer shall utilize any one or more of the following methods of disposition, with the intent of maximizing the return on revenue to the Town:

(i) Trade-in the supplies with the purchase of equipment;

(ii) Sell the supplies to another governmental unit that is known to be interested;

(iii) Sell the supplies to the highest bidder after advertising the supplies' availability on the Internet, at the Town Office Building, and / or in a newspaper published in the Town;

(iv) Sell the supplies at public auction, notice of which shall conform to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 30B, section 5(c); or

(v) Sell the supplies at private sale, except that no such private sale shall be made to any employee or elected or appointed official of the Town;

(c) If the supplies are valued at $100 or less, the Chief Procurement Officer may utilize any one or more of the methods of disposition specified in the preceding subsection. Alternatively, the Chief Procurement Officer may recycle or trash the supplies or may donate them to a charitable organization that has received a tax exemption from the United States by reason of its charitable nature, as he / she deems appropriate.

(4) The Town shall reserve the right to accept or reject any or all offers to purchase surplus supplies.  All surplus supplies shall be sold on an “as is / where is” basis, with no warranty of any kind, express or implied.

(5) All monies from the disposition of supplies under this procedure shall be payable to the Town.  All revenue from the disposal of supplies under this procedure shall be deposited with the Town Treasurer for deposit in the General Fund.

(6) If the Town receives no offers for a surplus supply, the supply may be disposed of in any commercially reasonable manner.

     ARTICLE 37:  Will the Town authorize, but not require, the Board of Selectmen to accept grants of easements for streets, water, drainage, sewer and utility purposes or any public purpose on terms and conditions the Board deems in the best interest of the Town, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

     COMMENT: The Town benefits from many easements over private property throughout Hingham.  From time to time, the Town, particularly its Department of Public Works, requires new easements in order to complete roadway and other public works projects.  At times, the Town receives requests from private property owners to relocate easements held by the Town on their property.  Under Massachusetts law, Town Meeting approval is required for the Board of Selectmen to accept such easements.

This Article would allow the Board of Selectmen to accept such easements during the coming year and thus to avoid potentially expensive delays and inconvenience to projects that benefit the Town.  This Article is intended solely to cover easements voluntarily granted to the Town and would not allow the Board of Selectmen to accept easements that require funds to acquire them.  Furthermore, the authority conferred by this Article is not unlimited in time; it is limited to the coming year.  If continuing authority is required, the next Annual Town Meeting may be asked to approve it. 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town authorize, but not require, for a period through April 30, 2018, the Board of Selectmen to accept grants of easements for purposes of streets, sidewalks, or pedestrian walkways, or water, drainage, sewage, or utility facilities on terms and conditions that the Board deems in the best interests of the Town.