Back to Recent Decisions
TOWN OF HINGHAM
BOARD OF APPEALS
IN THE MATTER OF:
Applicant: TD Bank
2 Portland Square
Portland, ME 04101
Owner: Rocky Reach LLC
12 Putter Run
South Weymouth, MA 02190
Premises: 421 Lincoln Street
Hingham, MA 02043
Deed Reference: Plymouth County Registry of Deeds Book 28115, Page 39
SUMMARY OF PROCEEDINGS
This matter came before the Board of Appeals on the application of TD Bank, 2 Portland Square, Portland, ME (the “Applicant”) for a Modification to the existing Variances issued to Sea Chain, LLC, dated May 12, 2003 and subsequently re-approved on March 20, 2006, as amended through February 24, 2010, from §IV-G, 11 and §V-B of the Zoning By-Law and such other relief as necessary to allow multiple building and ground signs and an externally-illuminated 24 sq.ft. monument sign with a maximum height of 10 feet at 421 Lincoln Street (the “Property”), in the Industrial District.
A public hearing was duly noticed and held on Thursday, May 20, 2010, with a continuation held on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at the Town Hall before a panel consisting of regular members Joseph M. Fisher, Chairman, Joseph W. Freeman and W. Tod McGrath. The Applicant was represented by Attorney Robert Devin along with William Goebel of Bohler Engineering.
The Property was included as part of the Hingham Shipyard redevelopment that was initially permitted under a Mixed Use Special Permit in 2003. As part of that permit, a sign program in the form of a Variance for the entire 129.5 acre mixed-use development was also approved. On March 20, 2006 the Board re-approved the 2003 Variance as time delays attendant to other aspects of the mixed-use development rendered the property owners unable to exercise the rights granted by the Variance.
On February 16, 2010 the Board of Appeals issued a decision to Atlantic Development and Investment as the contract purchaser to allow for the construction of a 3,800 sq. ft. retail bank with attached drive-thru. At that time, the Applicant did not request any relief for building or ground signs. The Applicant is now proposing to modify the existing sign program Variance as follows:
1. two (2) Halo-illuminated “TD” shields (maximum letter height of 2’; 13.6 sq.ft. each) on the front and left sides of the building tower element (on Lincoln Street and facing R&R Marine building to the southwest);
2. one (1) Halo-illuminated “TD Bank” channel letter sign (height 3’; 33.8 sq.ft.) to the right of the front entrance (on Lincoln St);
3. two (2) Halo-illuminated “TD Bank” channel letter signs (height 2.6’; 23.5 sq.ft.), one on the right side of the building (on Essington Drive) and one on the back side of the building (facing the water);
4. two (2) “hours of operations” signs between each drive-thru lane (2.67 sq.ft. each) which include the TD Bank logo;
5. two (2) “look-up” signs between each drive-thru lane (2.67 sq.ft. each); and
6. one (1) externally-illuminated 24 sq.ft. monument sign with a maximum height of 10’.
Signs that are also proposed and do not require zoning relief (because they do not have the TD Bank logo or green stripe, and are under 4 sq.ft.) include four (4) non-illuminated freestanding directional signs (2 sq.ft. each), three (3) clearance signs at the center of each drive-thru lane (.27sq.ft. each), and two (2) drive-thru indicator signs between each drive-thru lane (2.1 sq.ft. each)
During the hearing, the Applicant’s attorney explained that the TD Bank is to be located on the Property consistent with the streetscape and Shipyard re-development. This Property is surrounded by roadway on two sides (Route 3A and Essington Drive) and newly-constructed buildings to the east. The Property is characterized by features and conditions not typical of other Industrially-zoned property within the Town, including large parking areas, a riverfront area, and a network of public and private ways featuring buildings that are visible on all sides. Attorney Devin went on to explain that a literal enforcement of the Zoning By-Law would cause a hardship to the Applicant and visitors to the Property in that the signage contemplated under the By-Law would result in signs of insufficient number to convey necessary information to pedestrian and motorists and with sizes which are disproportional to the overall size and scale of buildings.
The Board and the Applicant discussed the five (5) building signs first, as Board members were concerned with the total number of signs requested based on the size and location of the building. Based on the discussion, the Applicant subsequently agreed to reduce the number of building signs to three (3). The Applicant is proposing halo-illuminated channel letters and logo which is the type of lighting approved by the Board of Appeals for “The Launch at Hingham Shipyard”, which is Samuels and Associates’ retail/residential portion of the re-developed Shipyard.
In the existing Variances issued to Sea Chain, LLC, dated May 12, 2003, approval was granted to the previous automobile dealership, of which this Property was part, for a 50 sq.ft. ground sign 10’ in height with a 10’ setback. On November 20, 2009 the Board of Appeals issued a decision to G.B. New England 2, LLC to demolish the existing 21,000 sq.ft. automobile dealership building and construct a 13,000 sq.ft. CVS Pharmacy, directly across Essington Drive from the TD Bank building. On February 24, 2010 the Board issued a modification to the Variance decision to G.B. New England 2, LLC for signs for the CVS Pharmacy. During the discussion for the CVS Pharmacy sign application, the Board expressed their desire to place only one (1) ground sign that would encompass both the CVS Pharmacy and TD Bank entities at the entrance. Based on this discussion, G.B. New England 2, LLC requested a withdrawal without prejudice for the CVS Pharmacy ground sign only, with the idea that they would communicate with the applicant for the proposed bank building and discuss the possibility of one ground sign for both entities. Both G.B. New England 2, LLC and TD Bank’s representatives did hold discussions on a joint ground sign, but ultimately could not agree on one sign. Therefore, the Applicant has proposed an externally illuminated 24 sq.ft. monument ground sign with a maximum height of 10’. Attorney Devin stated his desire to amend the application by reducing the height of the proposed sign to 7’.
The Board discussed the fact that because the Applicant is proposing multiple building signs and the Board also approved multiple building signs for the CVS Pharmacy building, and that both buildings are prominently located along the Route 3A corridor, the need for a ground sign was not warranted.
The Board and the Applicant subsequently discussed the two (2) “hours of operation” signs between each drive-thru lane (2.67sq.ft. each) which include the TD Bank logo and the two (2) “look-up” signs between each drive-thru lane (2.67sq.ft. each) as they also include reference to TD Bank. Because these signs include the bank’s logo and name they are not considered incidental signs under Section V-B of the Zoning By-Law and need relief from the Board. Based on the overall size and location of these signs, the Board determined that they fit with the overall site design and sign proposal.
The Property is unique both historically and topographically in that it is the former site of the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard. In keeping with this historic tradition, the redevelopment project has contemplated the construction of large-scale buildings which carry forward the robust 1940’s industrial-marine architecture of the original Shipyard. Further, the unique topography of the Property results in limited site lines from most vantage points in and around the Property. The Board finds that these features and conditions are not typical of other Industrial zoned properties within the Town.
A literal enforcement of the Zoning By-Law would result in signs: (1) insufficient in number to convey information safely and effectively to pedestrians and motorists; and (2) disproportionate in area to the size and scale of the proposed building. Therefore, the Board finds that strict adherence to the letter of the Zoning By-Law in this case would cause a hardship to the Applicant, visitors to the Property, neighbors and the Town generally. More specifically, the signage contemplated under the By-Law would impede the safe and efficient flow of pedestrians and vehicles to shopping, parking and other public area destinations within the redeveloped project site, of which this Property is a part.
Additionally, the Board finds that granting the requested Modification to the Variances will enhance the public good by providing ample and visible signage, which will promote the safe and efficient flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic both on the Property and off-site, avoid traffic or environmental impacts on neighborhoods, and encourage the economic vitality of the Industrial District.
RULINGS AND DECISION
At the conclusion of the public hearing the Board of Appeals voted to GRANT the following:
1. one (1) Halo-illuminated “TD” shield (maximum letter height of 2’; 13.6 sq.ft.) on the front of the building tower element on the Lincoln Street side of the building;
2. one (1) Halo-illuminated “TD Bank” channel letter sign (height 3’; 33.8 sq.ft.) to the right of the front entrance on Lincoln Street;
3. one 1 Halo-illuminated “TD Bank” channel letter sign (height 2.6’; 23.5 sq.ft.) on the right side of building on Essington Drive);
4. two (2) “hours of operations” signs between each drive-thru lane (2.67 sq.ft. each), which include TD Bank logo; and
5. two (2) “look-up” signs between each drive-thru lane (2.67 sq.ft. each), which include the TD Bank name;
WITH THE CONDITION that these signs are to be installed according to the Site Plan (sheet 4 of 14) revised through 5/21/10 prepared by Bohler Engineering stamped by William D. Goebel, RPE and rendering plans (14 pages) prepared by Bergmeyer Associates, Inc. dated 6/4/10.
The Board also voted to DENY the relief requested for one (1) externally-illuminated 24 sq.ft. monument ground sign.
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,
W. Tod McGrath
July 8, 2010