Annual Report

2016 Annual Report 

The Hingham Planning Board is pleased to submit this Annual Report for 2016.

Hingham witnessed continued development and permitting activity across all sectors (commercial, industrial, institutional and residential) over the past year.  New development and reuse of existing buildings took place on commercial and industrial properties across Town. 

The Planning Board conducted twenty-two Site Plan Review hearings.  Fourteen were in conjunction with Special Permits, and eight were not. These included the redevelopment of the Lincoln Building, a series of changes at the Derby Street Shoppes, and modifications to the Hingham Shipyard residential units.  There were also approvals related to the expansion or modification of existing buildings and businesses in town.  In addition, the Planning Board reviewed thirteen Special Permit A3 approvals in conjunction with requests for parking waivers or determinations in accordance with the Town's off-street parking regulations, and one Special Permit A3 approval for a Preliminary Flexible Residential Development.  

Joint hearings were conducted between the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding applications for a Special Permit A2, and the related Site Plan and/or Special Permit A3 on an as needed basis.  Together the Boards permitted the Lincoln Building redevelopment, and a changes to Derby Street Shoppes to approve the Capital One Café, and the removal of parking spaces by Burton’s Grill.  They also permitted a major modification at the Hingham Shipyard. 

The Planning Board reviewed seven Form A (Approval Not Required) plans and endorsed six of them for lot line changes, land swaps between adjacent parcels, or the creation of new lots.  One Form A submittal was ultimately withdrawn.  The Planning Board also acted on one Definitive Subdivision and two applications for modifications to existing subdivisions.  Residential development on approved subdivision and infill lots, and in approved multifamily developments continued with activity at Baker Hill, Lewis Court, and Weathervane.  Both Lewis Court and the Baker Hill subdivisions are nearing completion.  Construction is underway at the recently approved 901 Main Street Definitive Subdivision.     

In the months leading up to the 2017 Town Meeting, the Planning Board discussed and held public hearings on five proposed amendments to the Zoning By-Law (Lot Width, Parking Design Standards, Lot Line and Lot Area Definitions, Regulation of the Sale and Consumption of Marijuana Not Medically Prescribed, and, Changes to Nonconforming Accessory Structures).  The purpose of the Lot Width article is to provide consistency in the shape of lots.  The purpose of the Parking Design Standards article is to provide clear guidelines for the Board and applicants regarding design of parking lots, as well as clear standards for shared parking and land banked parking.  The purpose of the Lot Line and Lot Area Definitions article is to provide definitions for these terms.  The purpose of the Regulation of the Sale and Consumption of Marijuana Not Medically Prescribed article is to propose a temporary moratorium on this use to allow time for the state to draft their regulations on this use.  The purpose of Changes to Nonconforming Accessory Structures is to provide a more appropriate permitting mechanism for proposed changes to nonconforming residential garages, sheds, porches, and other accessory structures by reviewing them with a Special Permit process.

As with recent previous years, 2016 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 and the Zoning Board of Appeals.  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, Development and Industrial Committee, Traffic Committee, South Hingham Study Group and the newly re-formed Harbor Development Task Force.  

Judith S. Sneath, Chairman
William C. Ramsey, Clerk
Sarah H. Corey
Gary Tondorf-Dick
Jennifer M. Gay Smith