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Board of Appeals



Applicant/Owner: 149 South Street Realty Trust
Jack C. Hobbs, Trustee
151 South Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Property: 149/151 South Street, Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 18166, Page 38

Plan Reference: Plan entitled, "Plot Plan for 149 & 151 South Street in Hingham, Mass.," prepared by Ross Engineering Company, Inc., 683 Main Street, Norwell, MA, dated February 17, 2016


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of 149 South Street Realty Trust, Jack C. Hobbs, Trustee (the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-A of the Hingham Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) to locate three (2' x 2') condenser units within the required rear yard setback and replace an existing (4'x4') condenser unit with two (2'x2') condenser units within the required side yard setback at 149/151 South Street in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on May 18, 2016, at the Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular members Joseph M. Fisher, Chairman, Joseph W. Freeman, and associate member Jim Blakey. The Applicant appeared to present the request. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested Variance from the rear and side yard setback requirements under § IV-A of the By-Law, subject to the conditions listed herein.

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 approximately 7,566 SF located on the north side of South Street. The property abuts the MBTA railroad right-of-way to the rear, a Town-owned paper street to the west, and a single-family residence to the east.

The property was previously improved by a nonconforming structure that included both a single-family dwelling and a commercial use. In 2014, the Applicant sought and the Board granted a special permit under § III-A, 1.2 to add a second dwelling unit to the structure. During that construction project, the Applicant installed condenser units within the required setbacks. The Applicant now seeks relief to maintain three new A/C units within 0.2' - 1.5' of the rear property line shared by the MBTA. The Applicant also seeks relief to replace an existing unit with two smaller units located within 1.6' - 2.1' of the east property line.

During the hearing, members discussed impacts associated with the condenser units on the surrounding neighborhood. Each agreed that the adjacent commuter rail would not be impacted by the units; however, there could potentially be auditory and visual impacts associated with the replacement units for the residential property owner to the east. The Applicant indicated that the replacement units should be quieter than the previous nonconforming unit. He also committed to installing a fence along the easterly property line to further minimize impacts.


Based upon the information submitted and received at the hearing, the Board made the following findings:

1. Circumstances related to soil, shape, or topography especially affect the land or structures in question: Takings by both the Town and the Commonwealth resulted in an unusually shaped lot - greater in both width and depth on the easterly side of the property than the westerly. The lot is previously improved by a two-family structure, associated business use, and related physical improvements, including driveways and parking areas. These circumstances in combination especially affect the subject property and not generally the zoning district.

2. The literal enforcement of the By-Laws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. The shape of the lot and location of improvements thereon limit by right placement of the proposed condenser units. Absent relief, the Applicant would be prohibited from locating A/C units on the property. Due to the proximity of the existing uses to the MBTA commuter rail and the resulting noise impacts to the property, the Applicant would realize significant hardship without A/C units.

3. A Variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. There will be no adverse effects on the neighborhood and there will be no harm to the public good resulting from the proposed A/C units. A fence will be installed in accordance with conditions contained herein in order to minimize potential noise impacts for the adjacent single-family dwelling to the east.

4. A Variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the By-Law. The units are allowed accessory uses to the principal residential use of the Property. The granting of a dimensional variance in this instance is consistent with the purposes of the By-Law.


Upon a motion made by Joseph W. Freeman and seconded by Robyn S. Maguire, the Board voted unanimously to grant a Variance from the rear and side yard setback requirements under § IV-A of the By-Law to locate three (2' x 2') condenser units and replace an existing (4'x4') condenser unit with two (2'x2') condenser units at 149/151 South Street, subject to the following conditions:

1. The Applicant shall install the two units in accordance with the above-referenced plans, and representations made during the public hearing.

2. The Applicant shall install a fence along the east property line to screen the condenser units. The fence shall be consistent with the design of the existing fence at the rear of the property. A plan depicting the fence location and specifications shall be submitted to the Zoning Administrator prior to application for a building permit.

This decision shall not take effect until a copy of the decision bearing the certification of the Town Clerk, that twenty (20) days have elapsed since the decision has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk and no appeal has been filed, or that if such appeal has been filed, that it has been dismissed or denied, is recorded with the Plymouth Registry of Deeds and/or the Plymouth County Land Court Registry, and indexed in the grantor index under the name of the record owner or is recorded and noted on the owner’s certificate of title.

For The Board of Appeals,

Joseph W. Freeman
June 20, 2016