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Board of Appeals



Applicant/Owner: Philip Austin & Katty Dos Santos
156 East Street
Hingham, MA 02043

Agent: Attorney Walter B. Sullivan
Sullivan & Comerford, P.C.
80 Washington Street
Building B, Suite No. 7
Norwell, MA 02061

Subject Property: 156 East Street (Map 64, Lot 14), Hingham, MA 02043

Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, Book 48257, Page 341

Plan Reference: “Plan of Land at 156 East Street & 220 Summer Street, Hingham, MA,” prepared by James Engineering, Inc., 125 Great Rock Road, Hanover, MA, dated February 20, 2020, revised through June 1, 2020


This matter came before the Board of Appeals (the “Board”) on the application of Phillip Austin and Katty Dos Santos (collectively, the “Applicant”) for a Finding under MGL c. 40A, s. 6 to divide the land at 156 East Street into two parcels one of which will support an existing single-family dwelling with a nonconforming front yard setback in Residence District C.

The Board heard the application at a duly advertised and noticed public hearing on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 during a meeting held via Zoom as an alternate means of public access pursuant to an Order issued by the Governor of Massachusetts, dated March 12, 2020, Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law. The Board of Appeals panel consisted of its regular members Robyn S. Maguire, Chairman, and Paul K. Healey, along with associate member Michael Mercurio. Attorney Walter B. Sullivan, Sullivan & Comerford, P.C., represented the Applicant. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Board granted the requested Finding.

Throughout the hearing, 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 is located at the intersections of East Street, Summer Street, and Kilby Street and is presently improved by a single-family dwelling (ca. 1750) and detached barn. The existing dwelling maintains a preexisting, nonconforming front yard setback of 44.8’ where 50’ is required in Residence District C.

Based on the referenced plan, the property will be divided into two lots. Lot 1 will consist of 54,544 SF of land (based on lot area as defined in the Zoning By-Law) and continue to support the existing single-family dwelling. The remaining 54, 648 SF of land will become Lot 2. With the exception of the preexisting, nonconforming front yard setback associated with the single-family dwelling and noted above, both lots will comply with minimum dimensional standards applicable in the District.

The first sentence of MGL c. 40A, § 6, ¶ 1 provides that:

a zoning ordinance or bylaw… shall apply… to any reconstruction, extension or structural change of such structure…except where alteration, reconstruction, extension or structural change to a single or two-family residential structure does not increase the nonconforming nature of said structure.

The Board considered whether the division of land into two conforming lots would increase the nonconforming nature of the existing single-family dwelling or create newly nonconforming conditions. Members determined that the new property lines would not affect the preexisting, nonconforming front yard setback. Additionally, no new conformities would result from the division. To the extent that no new or intensified nonconformities will result, the Board resolved that it need not make a Finding of “no substantial detriment” under the second sentence of MGL c. 40A, s. 6, ¶ 1.

During the hearing, abutters to the property raised questions and concerns about the potential future use of Lot 2, which is presently undeveloped with the exception of the existing barn. No concerns specific to the nonconforming front yard setback maintained by the existing single-family dwelling were raised. As a result, he Board determined that the abutter testimony was not germane to its review.


Upon a motion made by Paul K. Healey and seconded by Michael Mercurio, the Board voted unanimously to find that, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 40A, § 6, the division of the land at 156 East Street into two conforming parcels, one of which will support a preexisting single-family dwelling with a nonconforming 44.8’ front yard setback where 50’ is required in Residence District C, will not increase the nonconforming nature of said structure.

This Decision 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, as such timeframes are suspended and extended pursuant to Section 17 of Chapter 53 of the Acts of 2020.

For the Board of Appeals,

Robyn S. Maguire, Chair
September 3, 2020