Town Government &
Department: Planning Board
Role of the Planning Board
The establishment of municipal Planning Boards is authorized by Massachusetts General Law, chapter 41, section 81A. Among its many diverse roles, the Planning Board is charged with the following duties, paraphrased here from the Mass. General Law:
- Adopting a master plan and official map of the city or town
- Conducting studies, and, when necessary, preparing plans of the resources, possibilities and needs of the city or town for submittal to the Selectmen for their consideration
- Serving as the local authority for the Subdivision Control Act; adopting Rules and
- Regulations governing the subdivision of land in the Town of Hingham; reviewing all preliminary and definitive plan submittals.
- Drafting and submitting zoning amendments for consideration by the municipality. When a zoning amendment has been put forward, the Planning Board holds the public hearing and may also report its recommendation to the local legislature.
- Serving, in some instances, as the special permit granting authority (i.e. Special Permit A-3, Flexible Residential Development)
- Serving as Site Plan Review Authority for all Special Permits A-2 under consideration by the Zoning Board of Appeals
- Is always the "party of interest" in administrative appeals, special permit applications, and variance petitions within the municipality and in adjacent cities and towns;
- Under Mass. Gen. L. ch. 40, 15C, the Scenic Roads Act, the Planning Board is enabled to recommend roads for municipal consideration, and empowers the planning board to oversee specified activities.
||Term Expires |
|Gary Tondorf-Dick, Chairman
|Sarah Corey, Clerk
|Walter Sullivan Jr.
Mary Savage-Dunham, Director of Community Planning
You can reach us at
210 Central Street, Hingham MA 02043
2013 Annual Report
The Hingham Planning Board is pleased to submit this annual report for 2013.
Hingham witnessed increased commercial, industrial, institutional and residential development over the past year. New residential construction as well as tenant fit-ups continued at Hingham Shipyard and in commercial districts throughout the Town. New development and reuse of existing buildings also took place on industrial properties in Town. The Planning Board (PB) conducted twenty-one Site Plan Review hearings. Two were for single family residential projects, one was for a modification to the second residential building at the Shipyard, and one was a small addition to a senior living facility. The other seventeen were for non-residential construction projects, including the new high school fields, Bradford Distillery, a new industrial building, a BMW/Mini-Cooper dealership, and improvements to Derby Academy and Old Ship Church. Seven Site Plans were reviewed in conjunction with a building permit or a Special Permit A3. In addition, the PB issued eight Special Permit A3 approvals in conjunction with requests for parking waivers or determinations in accordance with the Town's off-street parking regulations. Thirteen joint hearings were conducted between the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals regarding applications for a Special Permit A2, and the related Site Plan. Together, the Boards permitted or reviewed two Bed & Breakfasts, a Lexus dealership, a minor modification to Samuels' middle residential building at the Shipyard, a mortgage company and a caterer at 99 South Street, a veterinarian at 60 Sharp Street, a cross-fit at 3 Pond Park, the relocation of Ralph's Liquor, and modifications to Black Rock, as well as other minor projects.
During 2013 the Planning Board reviewed and endorsed eight Form A (Approval Not Required) plans for lot line changes, land swaps between adjacent parcels, and the creation of new lots in all areas of Town. Residential development on approved subdivision and infill lots, and in approved multifamily developments remained steady with activity at Fox Run, Baker Hill, Weathervane, Gardner Street, East Street, Main Street, Back River, Black Rock and Hewitt's Landing. The PB had one Scenic Road hearing for a project on Lazell Street. The PB also heard presentations on development concepts for bath-house renovations at the Bathing Beach, and a possible redeveloped rowing facility at the harbor.
In the months leading up to the 2014 Town Meeting, the Planning Board discussed and held public hearings on three proposed amendments to the Zoning By-Law (Registered Marijuana Dispensaries, Body Art, and Affordable Housing), and a petition article for a Zoning Map Change for three residential properties on South Street. The purpose of the Registered Marijuana Dispensary article was to provide permitting guidance should a RMD facility apply for a location in town. The purpose of the Body Art article was to clarify the zoning districts that the use was permitted in,, and the purpose of the Affordable Housing article was to bring the affordable housing provisions in the By-Law into conformance with the State DHCD provisions.
The Planning Board also worked with the MAPC and the community to update the Goals and Objectives in the Master Plan. Planning Board members or their designees continue to play an active role as members of several Town committees, including the Community Preservation Committee, Open Space Committee, Veterans Council, Traffic Committee, and newly formed South Hingham Study Group. As with recent previous years, 2013 was marked by productive and collaborative relationships between the Planning Board and a variety of other Town boards and committees, including the Board of Selectmen, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Historic Districts Commission, Harbor Development Committee, and the Hingham Development and Industrial Committee. 2013 also saw the departure of long time PB member Paul Healey who gave many years of service to the Town as a member of the Board. The PB also gained Walter Sullivan, Jr. as a new member, and Richard Cook as an alternate member.
William Ramsey, Chairman
Gary Tondorf-Dick, Clerk
Walter Sullivan, Jr.