View Other Items in this Archive | View All Archives | Printable Version

Board of Appeals



Applicant: Nicola Rigby White & Adam White
32 Eldridge Court
Hingham, MA 02043

Property: 32 Eldridge Court, Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 43038, Page 165

Plan Reference: Site plan entitled, "Existing and Proposed Conditions Plan," prepared by Nantasket Survey Engineering, LLC, 46 Edgewater Road, Hull, MA, dated July 27, 2016, as modified by excerpt submitted to the Board on September 21, 2016 and an architectural drawins, including elevation and floor plans, prepared by Baker Architectural Design, 94 Franklin Street, Braintree, MA, dated July 27, 2016 (A2, A2.1-A2.2, A3, A3.1)


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Nicola Rigby White and Adam White (collectively, the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-A of the Hingham Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to construct a wrap-around deck resulting in a 1.3’ side yard setback where 15' is required at 32 Eldridge Court in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on September 14, 2016 at the Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular members Joseph W. Freeman, Chairman, Robyn S. Maguire, and Joseph M. Fisher. The Applicant appeared to present the application. After discussion, the Applicant requested a continuance of the hearing to September 26, 2016 at which time the Board reviewed a revised plan that increased the proposed side yard setback from 1.3' to 9.5'. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the revised request for a Variance from the side yard setback requirements under § IV-A of the By-Law, subject to conditions contained 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 16,450 SF located on the westerly side of Eldridge Court. The site is bound to the north by the MBTA commuter rail right-of-way and to the south and west by three separate residential properties. The lot has an unusual shape with a width that is approximately three times greater at the front than the rear. Finally, the property is improved by a two-story single family dwelling (ca. 1900) and detached garage, each located askew from nearby property lines.

Plans submitted in support of the original application proposed a wrap-around deck that would be located partially over an existing patio within the southerly side yard. The Applicant represented that the location had been chosen in part based on access to an existing entryway and the potential to convert the deck to a handicapped ramp in the future. However, the Board expressed concern that the proposed structure extended too far into the side yard during the initial hearing on September 14, 2016,. Instead, members suggested that the deck be located no closer to the property line than 9.5', which represents the minimum linear measurement of the nonconforming dimension for enclosed additions to the single-family dwelling permitted by-right under Section III-I, 2. of the By-Law, the so-called "Hatfield Amendment".

The Applicant submitted a revised plan in advance of a continued hearing on September 26, 2016 that eliminated the originally proposed wrap-around portion of the deck. A note on the revised plan calculates the reduced area of incursion between the required 15' setback and the 9.5' Hatfield setback to be 76.5 SF. Section IV-C, 8. of the By-Law allows a maximum 30 SF projection into the side yard setback. As a result, the requested relief as revised would allow the proposed deck as revised to extend an additional 46.5 SF into the setback beyond that allowed by-right. The Board also noted that the Hatfield Amendment would allow the Applicant to construct a 2.5-story addition to the single-family dwelling within this area by-right, which would result in greater massing than the proposed plan.


Based upon the information submitted and received, and the deliberations and discussions of Board members during the hearing, the Board has determined that:

1. Circumstances related to soil, shape, or topography especially affect the land or structures in question: The property has an unusual shape with a width approximately three times greater at the front than the rear. This shape, in combination with the skewed position of the existing nonconforming single family dwelling and detached garage on the lot, especially affects the subject property and not more generally the zoning district.

2. The literal enforcement of the By-Laws would involve substantial hardship financial or otherwise. The lot shape and existing improvements on the lot limit by-right location of an accessory structure. A grant of a Variance in this instance will allow for a reasonable use that is consistent with a single-family use in the Residence A Zoning District.

3. A Variance may be granted without substantial detriment to the public good. The proposed project will not create any noise, traffic, or result in other similar negative impacts. There will be no harm to the public good resulting from the proposed accessory structure.

4. A Variance may be granted without nullifying or substantially derogating from the intent or purposes of the By-Law. The relief will allow construction of a deck, which is an allowed accessory use in residential districts. The proposed incursion is modest in nature, resulting in a 46.5 SF side-yard incursion beyond that permitted by right under Section IV-C, 7. If the proposed deck consisted of enclosed space, the construction would be permitted by right under the Hatfield Amendment. The granting of a dimensional variance in this instance is consistent with the purposes of the By-Law.


Upon a motion made by Joseph M. Fisher and seconded by Robyn S. Maguire, the Board then voted unanimously to grant the revised request for a Variance from § IV-A of the By-Law and such other relief as necessary to construct a rear deck resulting in a 9.5' side yard setback where 15' is required at 32 Eldridge Court in Residence District A, subject to the following conditions:
1. The rights authorized by this Variance shall expire one year from the date this Decision is filed with the Town Clerk, unless exercised or extended in accordance with the terms of M.G.L. c. 40A, § 10.
2. The Applicant shall construct the Project in a manner consistent with the approved plans and the representations made at the hearings before the Board.

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
October 5, 2016