Proposed By-Law Amendments

Zoning Articles for Consideration at Annual Town Meeting 2024


Article A - Update to Nursing Home Use

The intent of this article is to broaden the existing "nursing home" use under Section III-A,3.8B to (1) include a specific reference to "assisted living facilities" and (2) provide for the care of both disabled and elderly persons.  

The Planning Board voted on January 22, 2024 to recommend that Town Meeting amend the Zoning By-Law by adopting the “Update to Nursing Home Use” zoning article.

Article B - Brew Pub, Brewery, Winery, or Distillery Use

This article would create a new use for brew pubs, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that would be allowed under Section III-A by special permit in the Business A, Business B, and Industrial Park Districts. The public hearing may also include consideration of definitions of these uses under Section VI. 

Article C - Update of Floodplain Map References and Regulations

The intent of this article is revise the map references and the associated zoning map for the Floodplain Protection Overlay District to incorporate revisions on the Flood Insurance Rate Maps issued by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the Charles Watershed. The amendment also restructures the related floodplain regulations under Section III-C to be more consistent with other special regulations in the Zoning By-Law, while maintaining all language required to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.

FEMA plans to finalize revisions to the Charles Watershed maps, which would affect certain map panels of the Plymouth County Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) that are wholly or partially in the Town of Hingham, in December 2023 or January 2024. The Town must adopt the revised maps and update the corresponding language in the Zoning By-Law within six months following FEMA’s notification in order to remain in compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program.

Article D - Groundwater Protection Overlay District

The intent of this article is to replace the existing Accord Pond Watershed and Hingham Aquifer Protection District regulations under Section III-D with a new Ground Water Protection Overlay District and to amend the associated zoning map to depict the boundaries of the MassDEP approved Zone II as shown on a plan entitled “Hingham Public Water Supply Wells”, with MassDEP Approval: 9/1998. 

The Planning Board voted to request that the Select Board substitute the original Article D: Groundwater Protection Overlay District with the version provided below. The Select Board voted on January 26, 2024 to reopen the warrant to substitute the original article as requested by the Board.

Article E - Maximum Height in the Harbor Overlay District

This article would eliminate the requirement that the height of buildings in the Overlay District be measured from the Pre-Construction Grade rather than the Finished Grade. It would also allow space located between the maximum wall height of 20-feet and maximum roof peak height of 28-feet for buildings to be occupied.

The Planning Board voted on January 22, 2024 to recommend that Town Meeting amend the Zoning By-Law by adopting the “Maximum Height in the Harbor Overlay District” zoning article. 

Article F - Abandonment or Discontinuance of Nonconforming Conditions

The intent of the article is to more clearly regulate under Section III-I the reestablishment of discontinued or abandoned nonconforming buildings or structures. The proposed amendment would clarify that a conforming single-family or two-family dwelling use could be reestablished by special permit in an existing nonconforming building that has been discontinued or abandoned. The amendment would also newly allow by special permit a nonconforming single-family dwelling that has been demolished to be reconstructed within certain time and dimensional parameters. The same time parameters would also newly apply to the reestablishment of existing, dimensionally nonconforming buildings for permitted uses other than single-family or two-family dwellings. 

Article G - MBTA Communities Multifamily Housing 

The intent of this article is to create regulations that would allow multifamily development by-right within in a new overlay district (consisting of approximately 50 acres of land as shown on Assessor Map 36-0-104 (319 Lincoln Street); 36-0-108 (Hewitts Landing); 36-0-160 (111 Fitzroy Drive); 96-0-30, 97-0-2, 97-0-1 (French and Fort Hill Streets); 46-0-17 (The Cove); and 36-0-159 (152 Shipyard Drive), as required by Section 3A of the Zoning Act.  

Article Materials

Public Comment

For additional information about the By-Right Multifamily Zoning Requirements for MBTA Communities, please visit the Community Planning Department webpage: MBTA Communities. 

Article H - Special Requirements in the Official and Open Space District

This article would remove certain special requirements applicable in the Official and Open Space District that require structures and other improvements to be located 50’ - 100’ from a residential district. The article would also create exemptions, including from height restrictions, for certain recreational improvements, including but not limited to basketball hoops, goal posts, backstops, and field lighting (subject to Site Plan Review under Section I-I), provided the improvement is located not closer than 15-feet from a property line.  

Article I - Electric Vehicle Charging Parking Requirements

The intent of this article is to update provisions of Section V-A Off-Street Parking Requirements to clarify that Electric Vehicle Charging requirements are only applicable to new or reconstructed parking lots that meet minimum size requirements.

Article J - Signage Reference Correction

This intent of this article is to correctly reference an exemption for memorial signs in a footnote to the Schedule of Signage Regulations Table under Section V-B.

Article K - Personal Wireless Service Facilities

The intent of this article is to create a definition and allowances for small cell wireless facilities to be located within or on non-residential host structures. The article also newly allows cell towers to be located in the Official and Open Space District. Both types of wireless facilities would require a special permit pursuant to Section V-E.