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Board of Appeals



Applicant: Karen and Brian Uretzky

Premises: 8 Del Prete
Hingham, MA 02043

Title Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 41058, Page 149

Plan References: "Plot Plan of Land in Hingham, Mass," prepared by Vautrinot & Webby Co., County Road, Plympton, MA, dated January 14, 1988, revised copy received by the Board on October 5, 2015 and unstamped, undated drawings received by the Board on September 21, 2015.


This matter came before the Zoning Board of Appeals on the application of Karen and Brian Uretzky (collectively the "Applicant") for a Variance from § VI-A of the Zoning By-Law (the "By-law") and such other relief as necessary to construct a 7' x 9' portico and stairs resulting in a 15.8' front yard setback where 25' is required at 8 Del Prete Drive in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on July 15, 2015, 2015 at Hingham Town Hall. A subsequent session was held on October 5, 2015. The Board panel consisted of its regular members Joseph M. Fisher, Chairman, Joseph W. Freeman, and W. Tod McGrath. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested Variance from the front yard setback requirement under § IV-A of the By-Law.

Throughout its deliberations, the Board has been mindful of the statements of the Applicant and the comments of the general public, all as made or received at the public hearing.


The subject property consists of 20,291 SF and is improved by a single-family residence. According to the submitted site plan, more than a third of the lot is located in the Flood Plain and Watershed Protection District. A wetland resource area consisting of a pond is also located on the opposite side of Del Prete Drive.

The proposed plan calls for construction of a portico and associated stairs over the existing front doorway. During the initial hearing on July 15, 2015, members noted dimensional discrepancies between the submitted site plan and drawings. The Board directed the applicant to update the plans to accurately depict the proposed structure and continued the hearing.

The applicant filed a revised site plan and drawings that each show a covered porch (5' x 10') and stairs (1'-10" x 10'). The resulting front yard setback as measured to the stairs would be 19' as opposed to the initially requested 15.8'. The requested relief modestly increases the size of an existing front porch and adds a roof to the structure. The applicant represented during the initial hearing that the design is consistent with other homes in the neighborhood. The applicant also attained an Administrative Decision from the Conservation Department, which authorizes the proposed construction within 100' of a wetland resource.


Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, the Board has determined that:

1. Circumstances related to soil, shape, or topography especially affect the land or structure in question: The subject property is affected by varied topography such that grades at the front of the house are higher than those to the rear. The property is also constrained by its proximity to a pond across the street, which is not a circumstance shared by others throughout the district.

2. Owning to these circumstances, literal enforcement of the By-Law would involve substantial hardship: The topography of the lot and existing improvements physically limit alternative development opportunities, whereas the wetland resources area across the street creates regulatory limits on other development scenarios. It would be a hardship if the applicant were unable to improve the property to access the front entry in a safe and convenient manner.

3. Relief may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good: The proposed portico will improve the appearance of the residence in a manner similar to others in the neighborhood. The Conservation Department issued an Administrative Decision for the proposed portico on September 22, 2015. The work will include erosion controls to ensure no negative impact on the nearby wetland resource area during construction.

4. Relief may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purpose of the Zoning By-Law: The proposed porch is an allowed accessory structure and the additional incursion is relatively modest in size. The proposed construction will result in a 6' extension into the front yard setback. The total incursion will be 68 SF, or 38 SF beyond that allowed by right under Section IV-B, 7. The granting of a dimensional variance in this instance is consistent with the purposes of the By-Law.


Upon a motion made by W. Tod McGrath and seconded by Joseph W. Freeman, the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested Variance from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law to construct a front portico (5' x 10') and stairs (1'-10" x 10') resulting in a 19' front yard setback where 25' is required at 8 Del Prete Drive in Residence District A.

The Variance is granted subject the following condition:

1. The construction shall be completed in accordance with the above-referenced plan, and representations made during the public hearing.

The zoning relief granted herein shall not become effective until (i) the Town Clerk has certified on a copy of this Decision that twenty (20) days have elapsed after the decision has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk and no appeal has been filed or that if such an appeal has been filed, that it has been dismissed or denied, and that (ii) a copy thereof has been duly recorded in the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds and indexed in the grantor index under the name of the owner of record or is recorded and noted on the owner’s certificate of title.

For the Zoning Board of Appeals,

Joseph W. Freeman
October 23, 2015