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Board of Appeals



Owner/Applicant: Caitlin & Simon Colley
3 Whiton Avenue
Hingham, MA 02043

Property: 3 Whiton Avenue, Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 44314, Page 108

Plan References: 1.) "As Built Plan," prepared by Perkins Engineering, Inc., 160 Old Derby Street, Hingham, MA, dated August 16, 2016; and
2.) “Colley, 3 Whiton Ave, Deck Proposal Plans,” unsigned and undated


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Caitlin and Simon Colley (collectively, the “Applicant”) for a Variance from § IV-A of the Zoning By-Law (the “By-Law”) and such other relief as necessary to extend a deck, resulting in an approximate 200 SF incursion into the required front yard setback, at 3 Whiton Avenue in Residence District A.

A public hearing was duly noticed and held on May 21, 2019 at the Town Hall, 210 Central Street. The Board panel consisted of its regular member Robyn S. Maguire, Acting Chair, and associate members Mario Romania, Jr. and Michael Mercurio. The Applicant appeared to present the application. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board voted unanimously to grant the requested relief from the front yard setback requirement under § IV-A of the By-Law subject to conditions set forth below.

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, according to Assessor records, consists of approximately 7,000 SF or 0.14 acres of land. The submitted site plan depicts an unusual, parallelogram-like lot shape. The Property, which sits at the corner of Whiton Avenue and Downer Avenue, is located partially within FEMA Flood Zone AE (el. 10). The southern portion of the Property also falls within regulatory buffers to wetland resource areas and specifically the top of bank associated with Walton’s Cove on the opposite side of Downer Avenue from the Property. Additionally, the lot is limited by ledge and varying grades, with an approximate 10 foot grade change between the southern side of the property (el. 10) and the northern side (el. 20).

The Property is improved by a single-story, bungalow-style dwelling built in 1910. Portions of the existing dwelling and front stairs project into the Whiton Avenue right-of-way. The Applicant proposes construction of a deck along the northern façade of the house. The submitted plan depicts a 197.75 SF incursion into the required 25’ front yard setback resulting from the proposed deck extension. The Applicant represented to the Board that the deck is necessary to support a safe transition between the raised living area, which results from exposed ledge on the Property, and the backyard. Additionally, the present application is made because the Applicant failed to act prior to expiration of relief granted by the Board in September 2017 for an identical request.


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

1. Circumstances related to soil, shape, or topography especially affect the land or structures in question: The Property is unusually shaped, with a significantly narrower depth than width. The lot is also limited by variable grades and ledge. 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 location of the existing single-family dwelling on the lot, both in terms of placement and elevation, limit by-right development options. There are physical and regulatory barriers that restrict by-right location of a deck elsewhere on the property. A grant of a variance in this instance will improve access between the dwelling and the backyard and allow for a reasonable use that is consistent with other single-family uses in the area.

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 adverse effects on the neighborhood and 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 structure is an allowed accessory use 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 Mario Romania, Jr. and seconded by Michael Mercurio, the Board voted unanimously to GRANT the requested Variance from § IV-A of the By-Law to extend a deck, resulting in an approximate 200 SF incursion into the required front yard setback, at 3 Whiton Avenue 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 complete the construction in accordance with the plans submitted with the application and representations made at the hearing.

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,

Robyn S. Maguire
July 31, 2019