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Board of Appeals



Applicant and W/S/M Hingham Properties, LLC
Property Owner: 33 Boylston Street
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Premises: Derby Street Shoppes
90 Derby Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 30816, Page 261


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the "Board") on the application of W/S/M Hingham Properties, LLC (the "Applicant") to modify the Derby Street Shoppes Signage Criteria, originally authorized by both a Special Permit A1 and Variance, dated February 10, 2003, as amended (the "Original Decision"), and specifically to revise the eligibility criteria for "Highway Frontage Signs" from 10,000 SF tenants to 7,000 SF tenants to allow Legal C Bar to install an additional sign at 90 Derby Street in the Industrial Park and South Hingham Development Overlay District.

The Board opened hearing on a related Special Permit A1 Modification application on April 11, 2016. During the hearing, the Board informed the Applicant that the relief could not be authorized by Special Permit. The Applicant then filed a revised application requesting a Variance Modification, which the Board heard at a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on May 2, 2016. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested relief.

The Board of Appeals panel consisted of its regular members Joseph M. Fisher, Chairman, Joseph W. Freeman, and Robyn S. Maguire. The Applicant was represented by Attorney Robert L. Devin, Derby Street Shoppes General Manager Bill Hamilton, and WS Development Project Manager Andrew Manning.

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 Original Decision for the Derby Street Shoppes included multiple forms of relief. Through variances and special permits, the Board and the Applicant crafted unique signage regulations for the shopping center. One of the signs permitted under these Criteria is a "Highway-Frontage Sign." Tenants occupying a minimum of 10,000 GFA within 150' of Route 3 are allowed to mount a wall sign with a maximum height of 42" and maximum length of 20' on a secondary building wall. The Applicant requested modification of these criteria to allow a 7,000 GFA tenant to install a Highway-Frontage Sign. The Applicant represented to the Board that Legal C Bar would be the only additional tenant that would benefit from the Modification.

As noted above in the Procedural Summary, the Board determined during the initial hearing that Highway Frontage Signs were initially allowed through variance as opposed to special permit. Footnote 4 to the Schedule of Sign Regulations under § V-B limits the maximum number of wall signs permitted for each business establishment in a multi-tenant building to one. The footnote also suggests that business establishments with more than one public entrance may install a secondary sign, but only if the secondary sign is a maximum of half the primary sign's area.


Based on the information submitted with the application and presented during the hearing, the Board found that the proposed modification to the eligibility criteria for Highway Frontage Signs would not affect the specific findings made by the Board in conjunction with its Original Decision for the Derby Street Shoppes Signage Criteria. Additionally, the Board found the Special Permit A1 Modification application to be withdrawn by the revised Application for Hearing Form 2 filed with the Town Clerk on April 14, 2016.

Upon a motion made by Robyn S. Maguire and seconded by Joseph W. Freeman, the Board voted unanimously to APPROVE the requested Variance Modification to revise the eligibility criteria for "Highway Frontage Signs" from 10,000 SF tenants to 7,000 SF tenants, allowing Legal C Bar to install an additional sign at 90 Derby Street, subject to the following conditions:

1. No additional Highway Frontage Signs, including Legal C Bar's, shall be installed unless the proposed plans and specifications are submitted to the Board for review and approval at a regularly posted public meeting prior to application for a Building Permit.

2. Highway Frontage Signs must conform to the requirements under § V-B of the By-Law, except to the extent that the regulations have been previously modified by the Derby Street Shoppes Signage Criteria.

3. Unless specifically modified by this Decision, all other conditions and limitations of the Original Decision and the Derby Street Shoppes Signage Criteria shall remain in effect.

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 County 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 27, 2016