Current Articles

2021 Town Meeting

2021 Annual Town Meeting Warrant Articles

Download and View the Warrant Articles (PDF)

  1. Hannah Lincoln Whiting Fund
  2. Assume Liability for DCR on Rivers, Harbors, Etc.
  3. Reports of Various Town Committees
  4. Report of the Personnel Board
  5. Salaries of Town Officers
  6. Budgets
  7. Transfer from the Stabilization Fund
  8. Disbursement of Electric Light Department Receipts
  9. Building Department Revolving Fund
  10. Department of Elder Services Revolving Fund
  11. Transfer Funds to the Reserve Fund
  12. Waterways Fund Transfer
  13. Climate Action Planning Study Funds
  14. Climate Action Planning Committee
  15. Community Preservation Committee
  16. Amend General By-law: Advisory Committee By-law
  17. Amend General By-law: Hingham Affordable Housing Trust Reporting Requirements
  18. Public Safety Facility Design
  19. Route 3A/Rotary/Summer Street Corridor Roadway Improvements
  20. Reconstruction of Town Pier
  21. Citizen Petition: Amend General By-law: Gender Neutral Terms
  22. Citizen Petition: Amend General By-law: Articles 2 and 3
  23. Plymouth River School Window Authorization to Borrow
  24. Five-Year School Bus Lease
  25. 2017 School Building Committee Additional Charge
  26. Amend Zoning By-law: Update to Floodplain Protection Overlay District
  27. Citizen Petition: Amend Zoning By-law: Accessory Dwelling Units
  28. Acceptance of Easements


      ARTICLE 1:   Will the Town choose all necessary Town Officers, other than those to be elected by ballot, including the following: 

 

One member of the Committee to have charge of the income of the Hannah Lincoln Whiting Fund for a term of three years, or act on anything relating thereto? 

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen) 

 

     COMMENT:  The Hannah Lincoln Whiting Fund was established in 1915 pursuant to the will of Ada B.W. Bacon in memory of her mother, “... to be expended in relieving the necessities of the deserving poor or unfortunate of South Hingham...."  Grants from the income of the fund are made at the discretion of a committee of three members, one of whom is elected each year by the Town.  As of December 31, 2020, the fund assets totaled $16,021.86 of which $1,021.86 was available for distribution.  The principal of $15,000 is held in trust and is not available for distribution. 

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article. 

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That Laurel Cosman, 16 Queen Anne Lane, be re-elected a member of the Committee to have charge of the income of the Hannah Lincoln Whiting Fund for a term of three years. 

 

     ARTICLE 2:  Will the Town, in accordance with, and only to the extent permitted by, Massachusetts General Laws chapter 91, section 29, as amended, assume liability for all damages that may be incurred by work to be performed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the improvement, development, maintenance, and protection of tidal and non-tidal rivers and streams, harbors, tide waters, foreshores, and shores along a public beach within the Town, in accordance with section 11 of said chapter 91, and authorize the Board of Selectmen to execute and deliver a bond of indemnity to the Commonwealth assuming such liability, or act on anything relating thereto?
 (Inserted by the Board of Selectmen) 

 

     COMMENT:  The Department of Conservation and Recreation (“DCR”), as a matter of policy, requires the Town to assume liability if it is to perform any of this type of work within the Town.  In accordance with the statute, the Town would assume liability for all damages to property sustained by any person as a result of such work performed by the DCR. 

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article. 

 

     RECOMMENDED: That the Town, in accordance with, and only to the extent permitted by, Massachusetts General Laws chapter 91, section 29, as amended, assume liability for all damages that may be incurred by work to be performed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the improvement, development, maintenance, and protection of tidal and non-tidal rivers and streams, harbors, tide waters, foreshores, and shores along a public beach within the Town, in accordance with section 11 of said chapter 91, and that the Board of Selectmen is hereby authorized to execute and deliver a bond of such indemnity to the Commonwealth assuming such liability. 

 

     ARTICLE 3:  To receive the reports, if any, of the following:  Affordable Housing Trust; Audit Committee; Capital Outlay Committee; Cleaner, Greener Hingham; Commission on Disability Issues; Community Preservation Committee; Conservation Commission; Country Club Management Committee; Council on Aging; Energy Action Committee; GAR Hall Trustees; Harbor Development Committee; Hingham Historic Districts Commission; the Historian; Historical Commission; Board of Managers of Lincoln Apartments LLC; Master Plan Committee; Memorial Bell Tower Committee; Open Space Acquisition Committee; Public Safety Facility Building Committee; Scholarship Fund Committee; 2017 School Building Committee; Senior Center Building Committee; Town Historian; Tree Preservation Study Committee; Wastewater Master Planning Committee; Water Supply Committee; Weir River Water System Citizens Advisory Board; Weir River Water System Transition and Evaluation Committee, or any other Town Committees, or act on anything relating thereto.

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

 

     COMMENT:  The Town is indeed fortunate to have many public-spirited citizens willing to work in these capacities. The quality of life and quality of governance of our community is greatly strengthened by the contributions of these citizens and their work on these committees. We thank all of these committees and their members for their excellent service.  We recommend that all these posts and committees be continued, except for the Water Supply Committee, whose work has been transitioned to the Weir River Water System Advisory Board.

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article. 

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the reports, if any, of the existing Town Committees and Commissions and the Town Historian be received; and that all of said bodies and posts of government be continued, except that the Water Supply Committee be discharged with thanks.

 

     ARTICLE 4:  Will the Town accept the report of the Personnel Board appointed under the Classification and Salary Plan, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

 

     COMMENT:  The Personnel Board was established to administer the Personnel By-law of the Town and consists of five volunteer members appointed by the Moderator to serve three-year terms.  The basic duties of the Personnel Board are set out in Section 5 of the Personnel By-Law and include oversight of the Town’s Classification and Salary Plan, maintenance and review of job descriptions, review of pay rates, and establishment of policies and procedures required to implement the Plan – all in collaboration with the Human Resources Department. The Board also conducts collective bargaining negotiations in partnership with the Town Administrator.

 

The major action in this year’s report is the presentation of an updated Classification and Salary Plan for non-union, non-contract, permanent Town employees.   This is the first update to this group of staff since 2001, culminating a two-year review of 88 job descriptions.   The Board worked with a consulting firm, GovHR, to evaluate each of these positions based on internal equity, comparison of roles in other towns, and the experience needed related to the responsibilities given.  Each job was weighted and graded for internal equity with compensation targeted at the midpoint of similar roles in our traditional group of benchmark communities. 

 

The resulting changes to the classifications have a total, year 1 financial impact of increasing total payroll by $144,169.  This additional cost is already accounted for in the forecasting of Article 4 expenses. In subsequent years, this base amount will be carried in the base payroll amount for departments in Article 6 spending.  The new Plan is effective as of June 1, 2021.

 

The report also includes the statement of several one-year successor agreements to previous collective bargaining contracts with a variety of Town staffing units that do not have updated three-year agreements, including Department of Public Works Teamsters, Local 25, the Hingham Patrolman’s Association, Police Superior Officers Union, and Hingham Library Staff Association.  All these groups, as well as all employees not covered by collective bargaining agreements, received a general wage increase of 2% during FY21.  The Personnel Board is currently negotiating new agreements with these union groups as well as with the Hingham Permanent Firefighters Association IAFF Local 2398.

 

The Board of Selectmen and the Advisory Committee voted unanimously in support of the Article.

 

     RECOMMENDED: That the report of the Personnel Board, a copy of which is on file in the Town Clerk’s Office, be accepted; that the amendments of the Personnel By-law, including the Classification and Salary Plan, and any Cost Item agreements reached by the Personnel Board in collective bargaining, which may be embodied or referred to in said report, be approved and adopted in their entirety, such approval and adoption to become effective June 1, 2021, or as otherwise specified in said report or agreements; that the Town raise and appropriate the sum of $705,306 for the purpose of this vote; and that the Town Accountant is hereby authorized and instructed to allocate said sum to and among the several Personnel Services and Expense Accounts in such amounts, respectively, as are proper and required to meet such amendments and to comply with such collective bargaining agreements as may be entered into by the Board of Selectmen on behalf of the Town.

 

     

     ARTICLE 5:  Will the Town fix the salaries of the following Town Officers:

 1. Selectmen

 2. Assessors

 3. Town Clerk

 4. Municipal Light Board;

 or act on anything relating thereto? 

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen) 

 

     COMMENT:  This Article fixes the salaries of the elected Town Officers listed above. 

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article. 

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That, subject to the proviso below, the salary from July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022, for each of the following officers shall be at the rates below stated or provided after the name of the office. 

Selectmen:  at the annual rate of $2,000 each, except that the Chair shall receive an annual rate of $2,500 for the period of incumbency. 

Assessors:  at the annual rate of $1,800 each, except that the Chair shall receive an annual rate of $2,000 for the period of incumbency. 

Town Clerk1:  in accordance with the compensation rates established in Grade 15 of the Town of Hingham Classification and Salary Plan of the Personnel By-law. (Grade 10 under the proposed new Classification and Salary Plan for adoption June 1, 2021).

Municipal Light Board:  at the annual rate of $214 each (to be paid from the receipts of the Electric Light Department). 

Provided:  that the salary of the Town Clerk shall be reduced by all retirement allowances and pensions received by such officer from the Town of Hingham. 

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_____________________

Town Clerk, when serving as a member of the Board of Registrars of Voters, shall be paid for such duties in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws chapter 41, section 19G.

    

     ARTICLE 6:  Will the Town raise and appropriate, or transfer from available funds, sums of money to defray the expenses of the Town for the twelve-month period beginning July 1, 2021, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)  

 

    COMMENT:  The Town’s FY 2022 budget seeks to address the challenges due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic (decrease in revenue, and student learning loss), as well as increased needs in the municipal and school departments. In addition to the usual revenue sources, this budget relies on approximately $5 million in one-time funds coming from several sources: 

  1. $2.4 million from Fund Balance, also known as Available Reserves or Free Cash. The proposed use of Fund Balance is to fund one-time revenue losses, which conforms to the Town’s Financial Policy. 
  2. $2.6 million in federal stimulus funds in the form of $1.2 million for FY22 from the American Rescue Plan (“ARP”), and $1.4 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (“ESSER”) Grant Program.

 

The total amount of the appropriation and transfer of Fund Balance in the Recommended Motion hereunder includes all of the above figures in order to balance the FY 2022 budget. However, it is expected that receipt of the ARP and/or ESSER funds will offset the need to use all of said appropriation and transfer of Fund Balance in the FY 2022 budget.

 

For the FY 2021 budget, 2020 Annual Town Meeting approved a budget which relied on the potential use of up to $3.3 million of Fund Balance to cover projected revenue shortfalls due to COVID-19. However, due to careful financial planning and a less than projected revenue shortfall, the full use of Fund Balance has not been necessary and the FY 2021 is expected to close with a budget surplus.

 

While at this time there is only broad guidance over the allowable uses of this federal stimulus funding, the Town expects to be able to apply all of this funding to expenses. It is expected that the total federal stimulus funds for FY 2022 will be used to fund the additional request of 36 new Full Time Equivalents (“FTE”s): 32 FTEs in the schools to address demonstrable losses due to the pandemic, and 4 in municipal departments to address necessary municipal needs. 

 

Because a portion of the FY 2022 budget relies on one-time funding sources, the Town will need to begin a collective effort to plan for how to sustainably fund the FY 2023 budget and beyond. These efforts include strategic financial planning in both the School Department and Municipal Departments, and guidance from the Town’s Master Plan. If not enough revenue can be raised (possibly from an operating override, among other sources, or from the identification of operational efficiencies), then the Town will have to contract its services.

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this budget. The School Committee voted unanimously in support of the school budget.

 

     RECOMMENDED: That the Town raise, appropriate and/or transfer for each of the following purposes, for the Fiscal Year beginning July 1, 2021 (FY 2022), the sum of money stated therefor, provided that, a one-time appropriation and transfer of Fund Balance in the amount of $4,959,009.00 is hereby made to balance the FY 2022 budget, and provided that, where a transfer appropriation is stated, the amount so indicated shall be transferred or specifically appropriated as stated; also that the authority is hereby given to turn in vehicles and equipment in partial payment for vehicles and equipment purchased in those cases where a turn-in is stated; and provided that any amount or portion thereof appropriated to a 

sub-account and included in a numbered account as set forth below may be transferred to another sub-account under the same numbered account with the approval of the Board of Selectmen and the Advisory Committee.     ARTICLE 7:  Will the Town transfer a sum of money from the Stabilization Fund and/or from available reserves for the purpose of reducing the Fiscal Year 2022 tax rate, or act on anything relating thereto? 

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen) 

 

     COMMENT:  Pursuant to prior Town Meeting votes, the proceeds from the sale of the former School Administration Building, Municipal Light Plant Building, and the former Police Station were deposited in the Stabilization Fund for future tax reduction.   This amount was augmented by the addition of bond premiums associated with the refinancing of excluded debt.   This Article would transfer a portion of the Stabilization Fund for the purpose of reducing the Fiscal Year 2022 tax rate. 

 

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote of Town Meeting. 

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town transfer the sum of $178,836 from the Stabilization Fund for the purpose of reducing the Fiscal Year 2022 tax rate.

 

     ARTICLE 8:  Will the Town appropriate, from the receipts of the Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant, money for the maintenance and operation of the Plant for the 12-month period commencing July 1, 2021, pursuant to sections 57 and 57A of chapter 164 of the Massachusetts General Laws, and provide for the disposition of any surplus receipts, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

 

     COMMENT:   The Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant (“HMLP”) is self-funding; funds collected from billing customers are used to pay all expenses incurred by the Plant.  The HMLP Board has an agreement with the Town whereby HMLP makes a payment in lieu of taxes (“PILOT”) to the Town.  The PILOT amount is calculated by multiplying the number of kilowatt hours sold by HMLP in the prior year by $0.0025, with a minimum payment to the Town of $450,000.   Based on sales for the last several years, it is estimated that this year’s payment will be approximately $500,000.   The Plant’s PILOT to the Town has the effect of reducing the Town’s tax rate. 

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

      RECOMMENDED:  That, with the exception of the Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant’s (“HMLP”) payment in lieu of taxes, which is hereby transferred to the Town’s General Fund, all funds received by the HMLP during the 12-month period commencing July 1, 2021, be appropriated to said HMLP, the same to be expended by the Manager of said HMLP under the control and direction of the Municipal Light Board, for the expenses of the Plant during said period, as defined in sections 57 and 57A of chapter 164 of the Massachusetts General Laws, and, if there should be any surplus receipts at the end of said period, such amount as is deemed necessary shall be transferred to the Plant’s net investment in capital assets and appropriated and used for such additions to the Plant as may be authorized by the Municipal Light Board during said period. 

 

     ARTICLE 9:  Will the Town limit the total amount that may be spent from the Building Department Revolving Fund, established under Article 18 of the General By-laws, to $350,000.00 during Fiscal Year 2022, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

 

     COMMENT:   The Building Department Revolving Fund is credited with all fees from plumbing, gas, and electrical inspections performed by Inspectors.  This fund is used to pay wages, salaries, and fringe benefits (as applicable) to these Building Department staff members.  This Article would limit the total amount that may be spent from this revolving fund. 

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

      RECOMMENDED:  That the Town limit the total amount that may be spent from the Building Department Revolving Fund for Fiscal Year 2022 to $350,000.

 

    ARTICLE 10:  Will the Town limit the total amount that may be spent from the Elder Services Revolving Fund, established under Article 16 of the General By-laws, to $80,000.00 during Fiscal Year 2022, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the Council on Aging)

 

     COMMENT:  The Department of Elder Services Revolving Fund is credited with all fees and charges received from Senior Center programs and pays expenses associated with providing these services and activities for the Town’s senior residents.   This Article would limit the total amount that may be spent from this revolving fund.

The Advisory Committee and Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

      RECOMMENDED:   That the Town limit the total amount that may be spent from the Elder Services Revolving Fund for Fiscal Year 2022 to $80,000.

 

     ARTICLE 11:   Will the Town raise and appropriate, or transfer from available funds, a sum of money to the Town’s Reserve Fund for use during Fiscal Year 2021, or act on anything relating thereto? 

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

 

     COMMENT:  This Article is included each year in case the existing Reserve Fund is not adequate to cover unbudgeted and unanticipated expenses for the balance of the current Fiscal Year (FY 2021).  The specific amount will be reported at Town Meeting.

 

     RECOMMENDED:  The Advisory Committee will make its recommendation at Town Meeting.

 

     ARTICLE 12:  Will the Town vote to appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money, which sum was generated from fees paid to the Town of Hingham during FY2021, from any parking license for the purpose of accessing slips or moorings, and revenues generated by the Harbormaster’s Office and/or boat excise taxes, for deposit to the Town’s Municipal Waterways Improvement and Maintenance Fund, to be used in accordance with M.G.L. c. 40, § 5G, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted by Board of Selectmen)

 

     COMMENT:   The 2019 Annual Town Meeting authorized establishment of a Municipal Waterways Improvement and Maintenance Fund (“Waterways Fund”).  The Town must have a Waterways Fund In order to be eligible for any available State or Federal harbor/coastal grants.  Under the State law, the Waterways Fund receives revenue of 50% of municipal boat excise taxes, all mooring permit fees, and any additional sums that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or the Federal Government may provide.  A Town also may deposit additional amounts into the fund.

 

This Article seeks approval to deposit the following additional waterways related revenues into the Waterways Fund for FY 2021: 

  • The remaining 50% of boat excise taxes of $35,000 (projected) and currently included in the Town’s Local Receipts
  • Revenues generated from any parking license fee for the purpose of accessing slips or moorings, if and when received, of $40,000 (projected)  
  • Revenues generated by the Harbormaster’s Office including, but not limited to, mooring/docking permit late fees, and/or boating fines of $10,000 (projected)

 

If this Article is approved, Local Receipts will be reduced by $35,000, which amount will not have an adverse impact on the FY 2021 budget.  Setting aside these waterways related revenues into the Waterways Fund will provide the Town a partial funding source for future appropriations for harbor-related expenses such as: dredging and improvement of the harbor, the breakwaters, retaining walls, piers, wharves and moorings, and the associated law enforcement and fire prevention.

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town vote to transfer the following sums generated from fees paid to the Town of Hingham through June 30, 2021: 50% of boat excise taxes (approximately $35,000) from Local Receipts, any parking license fee for the purpose of accessing slips or moorings (approximately $40,000), if and when received, and all revenues generated by the Harbormaster’s Office including mooring/docking permit late fees and boating fines (approximately $10,000) for deposit into the Town’s Municipal Waterways Improvement and Maintenance Fund, to be used in accordance with M.G.L. c. 40, s 5G.

 

     ARTICLE 13:  Will the Town vote to raise and appropriate, borrow or transfer from available    funds, a sum of money to be spent by the Town for the purposes of creating a Climate Action Plan, which will evaluate a wide range of carbon emission reduction strategies and propose measures within the Town of Hingham to achieve a zero sum of carbon emissions produced and taken out of the atmosphere (“net zero”) by the year 2040 or another target deemed feasible, or act on anything related thereto?  

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

 

     COMMENT:   This Article asks the Town to appropriate funds and authorize the development of a Climate Action Plan (“CAP”) for Hingham.  The Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant (“HMLP”) has generously committed $80,000 to fund the full cost of developing the CAP.  Therefore, there is no need for the appropriation of Town funds and No Action is recommended on Article 13.

 

Details about the Climate Action Planning process proposed are included in Article 14 which seeks to create a Climate Action Plan Committee (“CAPC”) and authorize the CAPC to evaluate a wide range of carbon emission reduction strategies and propose measures within the Town to achieve a zero sum of carbon emissions produced and taken out of the atmosphere (“net zero”) by the year 2040 or another target deemed feasible. 

 

The Advisory Committee voted unanimously that no action be taken on this Article.  Prior to the HMLP commitment to fully fund the CAP, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of the Article.

 

    RECOMMENDED:   That No Action be taken on this Article.

 

     ARTICLE 14:  Will the Town vote to establish a Climate Action Planning Committee (CAPC) charged with establishing a Climate Action Plan with such committee consisting of 12 members determined as follows: one member of the Energy Action Committee, who shall serve as Chair of the Climate Action Planning Committee; one member of Cleaner Greener Hingham, one member of the School Committee or its designee; one member of the Hingham Municipal Light Plant; one member of the Planning Board or its designee; one member of the Conservation Commission; one member of the Weir River Estuary Park Committee; one member of the Development & Industrial Commission, each of the above to be selected by their respective committee, and four residents, two selected by the Board of Selectmen and two selected by the Moderator, or act on anything related thereto? 

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen) 

 

     COMMENT:   This Article calls for the development of a Climate Action Plan (“CAP”) – a recommended strategy and series of actions to facilitate a town-wide “net zero” sum of carbon emissions produced and removed from the atmosphere by the year 2040 – and creates the Climate Action Planning Committee (“CAPC”) as the entity to develop that plan.  The CAP for Hingham will describe how the various sectors within our town can act to reach this reduction in ways that are uniquely feasible and cost effective in our town.  The CAPC will lead the process to evaluate options and recommend actions to accomplish the “net zero” goal as well as oversee the funding dedicated to developing the Plan.

 

This initiative was recommended as a two-step proposal under Articles 13 and 14 in the original release of the 2021 Annual Town Meeting Proposed Warrant Articles.  Initially, Article 13 appropriated up to $80,000 for the professional and other costs associated with developing the CAP.  Since that time, the Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant Board voted to financially support the full cost of developing the CAP.  Therefore, there is no need for the appropriation of Town funds and No Action is recommended on Article 13. 

 

Article 14 is still necessary for two reasons.  First, a vote by Town Meeting is necessary to affirm the development of a CAP for the Town, including the goal of “net zero” carbon emissions by the targeted date.   Second, a vote by Town Meeting is necessary to create the body that will conduct the actual work of developing the CAP.

 

The membership of the CAPC is designed to include representatives from designated Town Committees and Boards whose missions align with CAP goals or that are likely to be engaged in, or impacted by, the implementation of provisions in the Climate Action Plan.   In selecting Town residents, the Board of Selectmen, and the Moderator are expected to select individuals who can provide perspectives on the CAP’s impact for residents, municipal operations, and the Hingham business community.  The motion, as originally submitted, proposes 12 members of the committee. During the hearing process, a consensus developed that an 11-member Board would be more efficient and equally representative.  This reduction is accomplished by removing the Weir River Estuary Committee from the formally designated organizations holding seats on the Committee.  

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article. 

 

     RECOMMENDED: That the Town vote to establish a Climate Action Planning Committee charged with establishing a Climate Action Plan, which will evaluate a wide range of carbon emission reduction strategies and propose measures within the Town of Hingham to achieve a zero sum of carbon emissions produced and taken out of the atmosphere (“net zero”) by the year 2040 or another target deemed feasible.  Said committee shall consist of 11 members determined as follows: one member of the Energy Action Committee, who shall serve as Chair of the Climate Action Planning Committee; one member of Cleaner Greener Hingham, one member of the School Committee or its designee; one member representing the Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant as designated by the Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant Board; one member of the Planning Board or its designee; one member of the Conservation Commission; one member of the Development & Industrial Commission, each of the above to be selected by their respective committee, and four residents, two selected by the Board of Selectmen and two selected by the Moderator.

 

     ARTICLE 15: Will the Town appropriate and/or borrow or set aside for later spending funds as recommended by the Community Preservation Committee as follows: 

 

1)  Appropriate a sum of money in the amount of $700,000 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust; 

 

2)  Appropriate a sum of money in the amount of $60,000 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Harbor Development Committee and the Bathing Beach Trustees to create a new master plan for the Inner Harbor, for the area located between 0 Otis Street to 30 Summer Street; 

 

3)  Appropriate a sum of money in the amount of $15,000 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Hingham Historical Commission to clean and repair the following monuments and veterans’ memorials: 

a) Lt. Curtis Chase memorial located at Plymouth River School, 200 High Street, Map 124/Lot 32; 

b) “In Memory of All Who Served” memorial plaque located at 114 Hull Street, Map 43/Lot114;

c) William H. Newey memorial located at 114 Hull Street, Map 43/Lot114; 

d) Master Sergeants Bismark and Butch memorial gravesite located on the grounds of the Public Works facility located at 25 Bare Cove Park Drive, Map 69/Lot 44; 

e) Glacial Boulder and bronze plaque located at 59 Rockland Street, Map 41/Lot 25; 

 

4)  Appropriate a sum of money in the amount of $10,000 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Community Preservation Committee for administrative purposes; 

 

or act on anything related thereto? 

(Inserted at the request of the Community Preservation Committee)

 

     COMMENT: The Community Preservation Act (Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44B) (“CPA”) is a local option statute enacted by the State Legislature in 2000 and adopted by the Town in 2001.  It enables municipalities to collect and expend funds (including matching funds from the Commonwealth) to maintain their character by supporting open space, affordable housing, recreation lands, and historic preservation initiatives specifically defined by the CPA. The current Hingham CPA surcharge rate is 1.5% of real property taxes. 

 

The Community Preservation Committee (“CPC”) started the deliberation process this year with a budget of $1,649,213.  That includes local tax revenue from FY20 of $1,122,659 and a State match of $321,379.  It also includes $98,210 of unused funds rescinded from the CPA Administrative Fund, and unused previous State match funds of $106,965. 

 

This year, as in years past, the dollar amount of grants sought by applicants to CPC exceeded CPC’s budget.   CPC scrutinized each grant application and applied consistent CPC guidelines and criteria to determine which applications to approve and, for those approved, a grant amount that fits within the year’s budget.  In many cases, the amount of a proposed grant is less than the amount sought by an application.

 

In 2021, the CPC recommends approval of funding for four projects for a total of $785,000. Additional CPA funds will be set aside in anticipation of debt payments for two projects previously approved by Town Meeting.  CPA funds of $656,313 will be set aside for principal and interest payments on the debt incurred to purchase the Lehner Property. In previous years, $1,427,000 has been retained for this purpose.  The purchase of this property ($5,000,000) was approved by the 2016 Annual Town Meeting, using an initial payment of $500,000 from available funds, plus borrowing for $4,500,000.  While the minimum principal and interest payment required for the land purchase this year is $331,015, the CPC voted to increase the amount of principal repayment in order to accelerate the retirement schedule for this debt (originally expected to retire in 2036).  CPA funds of $140,100 will be set aside for principal and interest payments on the debt incurred to grant funds to the Hingham Historical Society toward the purchase of the Benjamin Lincoln House. The grant amount ($772,000) was approved by the 2020 Annual Town Meeting, using an initial payment of $276,669 from available funds, plus borrowing for $495,331.  While the minimum principal and interest payment required for this year is $116,403, the CPC voted to increase its payment of principal in order to accelerate the retirement schedule for this debt (originally expected to retire in 2026) and to help the CPC satisfy the required allocation towards historic preservation.

 

The proposed funding of the 2021 projects will meet the required 2021 allocations for historic preservation, open space, and housing. 

 

The comments of the Advisory Committee are set forth below and correspond to the numbered sections of this Article.

 

1)  CPC recommends a grant of $700,000 for the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust (“HAHT”), established by 2007 Annual Town Meeting.  The purpose of the Trust is summarized in the Article approved by Town Meeting, “… to provide for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the Town of Hingham for low and moderate-income households.”   Proceeds will be used to support developments underway, preserve existing housing, and to provide funds to aid purchases of market rate housing or land acquisitions to create housing that is affordable.  Often unknown opportunities to create new affordable housing units arise and require immediate responses, e.g., when a property is listed for sale.   Replenishing the “opportunity fund” will allow the Trust to respond quickly to those opportunities.  All purchases and other expenditures are subject to detailed financial reporting and Selectmen approval.  The Town has placed $1,529,811 in the “opportunity fund” since it was established, and the balance in the fund as of December 31, 2020 is $252,398.

 

While Hingham has achieved its 10% minimum affordable housing requirement until 2030, the town continues to have unmet housing needs.  HAHT continues its efforts to purchase and develop affordable housing within the Town given the increasing and high cost of housing, the higher than average percentage of renters who are cost burdened, and the gap in available housing for older and disabled residents.  CPA funding is the primary funding source for HAHT. When HAHT purchases such a property, it applies for an affordability restriction from the State Department of Housing and Community Development.  Once the restriction is in effect, HAHT sells or rents the property and places the proceeds back into the “opportunity fund” for future purchases and other expenditures.

 

HAHT is currently in various stages of the creation of multiple affordable housing units, including projects on Rhodes Circle, Central Street and Whiting Street, and exploring a potential development opportunity on Cushing Street.  It has also been working with the Town’s Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Hingham Housing Authority, and the Department of Community Development to update its Hingham Housing Needs Assessment. The goal is to proactively address local housing issues and to sponsor initiatives to meet the most pressing of these needs.  A final Housing Plan will be issued in January 2021.

 

The Advisory Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the Community Preservation Committee voted unanimously in support of this project.

 

2)  CPC recommends a grant of $60,000 for a comprehensive Strategic Master Plan for Hingham Harbor (“2021 Master Plan”), proposed jointly by the Harbor Development Committee and the Bathing Beach Trustees.  This area is bounded by Otis Street and Steamboat Wharf.  

 

Hingham’s recent investment in the harbor area began in 2003 with the development of the park at Whitney Wharf, which was completed in 2004.  At that time, the Town recognized that the area was large and encompassed many stakeholders and required a more defined vision. In 2006 Town Meeting authorized funds to develop a master plan for the area and in 2007, the Harbor Development Committee released the Master Plan for Hingham Harbor (“2007 Master Plan”).  The goals of the 2007 Master Plan were to create a contiguous, safe, attractive, and universally accessible pedestrian walkway along the harbor; increase public recreational opportunities; do visionary planning for future harbor area land uses and improvements; and identify selected projects for near-term (5-15 years) implementation.  Many of the recommendations of that plan have been implemented, including portions of a new waterfront walkway, the new bath house and snack stand, and historic signage. 

 

Hingham continues to invest in the harbor area in a variety of ways, with ongoing projects at the wharfs, vehicle, and pedestrian improvements in the 3A rotary/Summer Street area, as well as efforts to better link the downtown area to the harbor.  The proponents believe it is prudent to update the 2007 Master Plan to reflect these changes and current conditions on the waterfront.   Additionally, in 2015, the Town invested in a ‘Climate Change Vulnerability, Risk Assessment and Adaptation Study’ (“The Kleinfelder Study”) which also informs investments we make in the downtown and harbor areas and would inform this new 2021 Master Plan as well.   The scope of this plan is specific to the waterfront area from the Bathing Beach to Steamboat Wharf.  It includes: identifying additional scenic and recreational uses and amenities around a unified target vision for the look and feel of the town’s harbor front facilities; developing cost estimates for the various proposed new elements which will be used to prioritize new investments; identifying sources of funding for projects; and cost estimates for programs, operations, and maintenance.  

 

The plan will include input from relevant Town boards, departments and committees, as well as community input. The proponents have solicited three statements of qualifications and fee estimates for the project which came in at $60,000, $60,000 and $58,500 respectively.

 

The Advisory Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the Community Preservation Committee voted unanimously in support of this project.

 

3)  CPC recommends a grant of $15,000 to the Hingham Historical Commission and Department of Veterans’ Services for the restoration and preservation of military memorials and a historic town marker.  The scope of this project includes three bronze plaques, one bronze memorial sign, and one granite façade commemorating two Marine canines, none of which have been treated or maintained since they were installed more than 50 years ago.

 

The first plaque commemorates Bronze Star recipient First Lieutenant Curtis Edward Chase, who was from or last resided in Hingham, according to public records.  First Lt. Chase lost his life on May 6, 1967 in or around South Vietnam, Quang Ngai province.  The memorial plaque is mounted on a granite boulder at Plymouth River School. 

 

A memorial bronze plaque, “In Memory of All Who Served,” located on Hull Street at the Cohasset/Hingham border, will be re-affixed to its granite boulder and restored. 

 

The grant will also fund the restoration of the bronze memorial sign commemorating World War I veteran, William H. Newey, located near the aforementioned “In Memory of All Who Served” memorial.

 

In addition, the bronze plaque commemorating the March 11, 1940, gift of land to Hingham in memory of Thomas T. Bouve and Emily G. Bouve, on the south side of Rockland Street at the intersection with Glacier Lane, will be restored.

 

Finally, the memorial, located on the grounds of the Department of Public Works building, commemorating Marine canine mascots Master Sergeants Bismark and Butch, who were buried with full military honors in recognition of their loyalty and service accompanying Marine guards in several wars, will be restored.

 

Restoration of the bronze plaques will include removing degraded coating and wax and then re-patinating and re-waxing as needed.  The granite memorial will be washed with anionic detergent.  It is anticipated that the restoration work, which is planned for summer 2021 and will be done by a professional art conservator, will take roughly one week to complete.

 

The Advisory Committee, the Board of Selectmen and the CPC voted unanimously in support of this project.

 

4)  The CPA allows up to 5% of annual CPA revenues to be reserved for operational and administrative expenses, including engineering, legal, and consulting costs associated with the review of proposed projects, the administration of projects approved by Town Meeting, and the salaries of part-time staff.  In the past, Hingham’s administrative appropriations have averaged amounts below the 5% allowed by the CPA.  This year’s contribution to the CPC Administrative Fund equals $10,000 and represents 0.6% of the annual CPA revenues.

 

The Advisory Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the Community Preservation Committee voted unanimously in support of this project.

 

     RECOMMENDED: That the Town appropriate or set aside for later spending funds as recommended by the Community Preservation Committee as follows:

 

1)    Appropriate a sum of money in the amount of $155,100 from the Community Preservation Housing Reserve and $544,900 from the Community Preservation General Fund, for a total of $700,000 to be used by the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust;

 

2)    Appropriate a sum of money in the amount of $60,000 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Harbor Development Committee and the Bathing Beach Trustees to create a new master plan for the Inner Harbor, for the area located between 0 Otis Street to 30 Summer Street; 

 

3)    Appropriate a sum of money in the amount of $15,000 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Hingham Historical Commission to clean and repair the following monuments and veterans’ memorials: 

a) Lt. Curtis Chase memorial located at Plymouth River School, 200 High Street, Map 124/Lot 32; 

b) “In Memory of All Who Served” memorial plaque located at 114 Hull Street, Map 43/Lot114;

c) William H. Newey memorial located at 114 Hull Street, Map 43/Lot114; 

d) Master Sergeants Bismark and Butch memorial gravesite located on the grounds of the Public Works facility located at 25 Bare Cove Park Drive, Map 69/Lot 44; 

e) Glacial Boulder and bronze plaque located at 59 Rockland Street, Map 41/Lot 25;

 

4)   Appropriate a sum of money in the amount of $10,000 from the Community Preservation General Fund to be used by the Community Preservation Committee for administrative purposes.

 

     ARTICLE 16:  Will the Town vote to amend the General By-laws of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 13, 1939, as heretofore amended, as follows:

 

     To delete Section 2 of Part 1 of Article 14 of the Town of Hingham General By-laws and insert in its place the following new Section 2:

 

Section 2 - Prior to the commencement of each fiscal year or as soon thereafter as reasonable review of prospective appointees permits, the moderator shall appoint five members of said committee, each to serve a term of three (3) years, commencing on the first day of the fiscal year for which the appointment is made or the date of the actual appointment if made after the commencement of the fiscal year. Each member of the committee shall serve through June 30th of the year in which such member’s term expires. The committee shall choose its own officers who shall serve without pay. The committee shall cause to be kept a true record of its proceedings. 

 

     To delete Section 3 of Part 1 of Article 14 of the Town of Hingham General By-laws and insert in its place the following new Section 3:

 

Section 3 - All articles in any town meeting warrant shall be referred to and considered by the advisory committee. A public meeting may be held upon any article, and a notice of such meeting shall be given in accordance with the Open Meeting Law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, M.G.L. c.30A, §18-25 as then in effect. The committee shall report to the town meeting, in print or otherwise, such recommendations on each article as it deems best for the interests of the town.

 

     To delete Section 5 of Part 1 of Article 14 of the Town of Hingham General By-laws and insert in its place the following new Section 5:

 

Section 5 - Whenever any vacancy shall occur in the committee it shall be filled by the moderator. If any member is absent from five consecutive meetings of the committee, for other cause than illness, said member’s position shall be deemed vacant and the committee shall report such vacancy to the moderator, who shall proceed to fill the same. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy in the committee shall hold office for the unexpired term of the person whom such appointee succeeds. or act on anything relating thereto. 

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

 

     COMMENT:  This Article amends Part 1 of Article 14 of the Town of Hingham General By-laws which addresses the constitution and operation of the Advisory Committee in three ways.  First, at present, Section 2 of the By-law contemplates that the Moderator will appoint five members of the Advisory Committee annually whose terms would start on the first day of the fiscal year next following their appointment.  In other words, the By-law contemplates that appointments would be made on or before June 30, so that a member’s term could start on July 1.  In recent years, the time needed to review and interview potential members of the Advisory Committee through the Talent Bank process, as well as events such as last year’s delayed Annual Town Meeting have made it difficult to effectuate all appointments before June 30. The amendment to Section 2 establishes that a member’s term will commence on the first date of the fiscal year for which the member is appointed or the actual date of the appointment if made after the beginning of the fiscal year.  The amendment to Article 2 also eliminates the present provision for the Advisory Committee to establish a salary for the Secretary. It has not been the practice for the Advisory Committee to establish or pay a salary for the Secretary.

 

     Second, at present Section 3 of the By-law requires notice of an Advisory Committee meeting either in a newspaper published in the Town or by posting a copy of the notice in at least six places in the Town. The posting of notices for public meetings is governed by the Open Meeting Law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Massachusetts General Laws chapter 30A, sections 18-25.  The Advisory Committee complies with the posting requirements of the Open Meeting Law. The proposed amendment makes the By-law conform to existing State law relating to notice.

 

     Third, the amendment to Section 5 adds gender neutral language to that section.

 

The Board of Selectmen and the Advisory Committee voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

     RECOMMENDED: That the town vote to amend the General By-laws of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 13, 1939, as heretofore amended, as follows:

 

     To delete Section 2 of Part 1 of Article 14 of the Town of Hingham General By-laws and insert in its place the following new Section 2:

 

Section 2 - Prior to the commencement of each fiscal year or as soon thereafter as reasonable review of prospective appointees permits, the Moderator shall appoint five members of said Committee, each to serve a term of three (3) years, commencing on the first day of the fiscal year for which the appointment is made or the date of the actual appointment if made after the commencement of the fiscal year.  Each member of the Committee shall serve through June 30th of the year in which such member’s term expires.  The Committee shall choose its own officers who shall serve without pay.  The Committee shall cause to be kept a true record of its proceedings. 

 

     To delete Section 3 of Part 1 of Article 14 of the Town of Hingham General By-laws and insert in its place the following new Section 3:

 

Section 3 - All Articles in any Town Meeting Warrant shall be referred to and considered by the Advisory Committee.  A public meeting may be held upon any article, and a notice of such meeting shall be given in accordance with the Open Meeting Law of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, M.G.L. c. 30A, s. 18-25 as then in effect.  The Committee shall report to the Town Meeting, in print or otherwise, such recommendations on each article as it deems best for the interests of the Town.

     To delete Section 5 of Part 1 of Article 14 of the Town of Hingham General By-laws and insert in its place the following new Section 5:

 

Section 5 - Whenever any vacancy shall occur in the Committee it shall be filled by the Moderator.  If any member is absent from five consecutive meetings of the Committee, for other cause than illness, said member’s position shall be deemed vacant and the Committee shall report such vacancy to the Moderator, who shall proceed to fill the same. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy in the Committee shall hold office for the unexpired term of the person whom such appointee succeeds. 

 

     ARTICLE 17:  Will the Town vote to amend the General By-laws of the Town, adopted March 13, 1939, as heretofore amended, in order to update financial and other reporting requirements of the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust by replacing the reference to “Annual Town Meeting” with “the Board of Selectmen” in Article 39, Section 2,a.(16) of the Town of Hingham General By-laws, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust)

 

     COMMENT:  The establishment of the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust (“Trust”) was approved by vote under Article 21 of the 2007 Annual Town Meeting that accepted Massachusetts General Laws chapter 44, section 55C.  Article 39 of the Hingham General By-laws governs the Trust, and states that the “purpose of the trust is to provide for the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the Town of Hingham for low- and moderate-income households.”

 

Article 39 originally required the Trust to develop an allocation plan to be presented annually to Town Meeting for how it would allocate and use its funds.  This process proved to be overly cumbersome, and this requirement was amended by vote under Article 30 of the 2013 Annual Town Meeting.  The goal of the Amendment was to improve the ability of the Trust to accomplish its mission, while still providing adequate checks and balances regarding its funds and activities to the Town.  Instead of providing for an allocation plan, the Trust was required to 1) provide Town Meeting with a detailed and comprehensive accounting and description of its activities every year; 2) work with the Town Accountant and the Town’s independent auditors to develop accurate financial reporting with adequate oversight and financial controls; and 3) report to the Board of Selectmen and the Advisory Committee in the fall of each year on the past year’s activities and proposed activities for the upcoming fiscal year. 

 

In recent years, the Trust operations have significantly increased, resulting in more extensive and complex financial reporting. This Article proposes that the Trust provide the required detailed and comprehensive financial accounting and description of its activities directly to the Board of Selectmen, instead of to Annual Town Meeting.   The reporting requirements and the transparency will remain the same.

 

No other Town committee is required to submit a similarly complex financial report to Town Meeting.  The usual practice of Town committees, also followed by the Trust, is to prepare a written report for inclusion in the Annual Town Report.  The Trust will continue to provide an annual report of its activities to Annual Town Meeting through the Annual Town Report. 

 

The Advisory Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust voted unanimously in support of this Article. 

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town vote to amend the Affordable Housing Authority By-law of the Town, adopted March 13, 1939, as heretofore amended, by amending Article 39, Section 2(a)(16), by replacing the reference to “Annual Town Meeting” with “the Board of Selectmen.” 

 

     ARTICLE 18:  Will the Town vote to raise and appropriate, borrow or transfer from available funds, a sum of money to be expended by the Board of Selectmen to be used to pay the expenses for design, architectural, engineering, owner’s project manager and other professional services to complete the design and to issue construction bid documents and to obtain construction bids for a new Public Safety Facility to be located at 335 Lincoln Street, Hingham, Massachusetts, or act on anything relating thereto.

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

 

      COMMENT:  This Article asks Town Meeting to approve $1,600,000 to fund preparation of design documents and the hiring of an Owner’s Project Manager (“OPM”) in connection with a future Public Safety Facility building to be located at 335 Lincoln Street. In November 2020, following the recommendation of the Public Safety Building Committee after completion of a Feasibility Study, Special Town Meeting authorized the Board of Selectmen to purchase the 335 Lincoln Street property. The Town acquired the property the following month as the potential site for a Public Safety Facility that would combine the operations of the Police Headquarters and the North Fire Station.   Approval of this Article will authorize funding for the next step in the development process.

 

The Town has had several initiatives over the past five years to address the needs of key municipal departments, as our population has grown and changed in demographics.  In particular, the Fire Department, the Police Department, and the Senior Center have outgrown their current facilities, making it more difficult to provide appropriate services.  The North Fire Station (“North Station”) is the primary station serving northwest Hingham.  The Town has long recognized the deficiencies of this facility, which has had minimal upgrades since it opened in 1942.  2015 Annual Town Meeting formed a Fire Station Building Committee and approved design work to renovate North Station.  That committee determined that renovating the current station was not feasible given the site constraints – specifically, its size and the nature of the soil under the site.  2016 Annual Town Meeting approved additional monies for new site selection.  The Police Headquarters are also housed in an inadequate facility.  In 1998, the Police Department moved to its current location in Town Hall into space that was added onto the building in 1967, when it was a school.  In 2011, 1,500 square feet of Police Department space was taken over by the South Shore Regional Emergency Communications Center (“SSRECC”), which provides regional emergency dispatch service for Cohasset, Hingham, Hull, and Norwell.  

 

The proposed Public Safety Facility will house both Police Headquarters and a satellite station of the Fire Department, replacing the current North Station.  The Fire Department Headquarters will remain at 339 Main Street.  SSRECC will remain at Town Hall.  

 

This project also affects the needs of the Senior Center.   2020 Annual Town Meeting authorized funds to redesign the Senior Center, incorporating space at Town Hall currently used by the Police Department.  The work on the Senior Center cannot begin until the Police Department has vacated its current location.  

 

The Advisory Committee believes that the Town will benefit from continuing the work of the Public Safety Building Committee to further investigate the programmatic needs of the Departments and develop an appropriate design of the new facility.  This phase also allows for additional public input and feedback.  

 

The State requires the use of an OPM for projects of this size.  The Town will benefit from the services of a third-party OPM, who will report directly to the Public Safety Building Committee.  The services of the OPM will be used through the completion of the construction and bid documents phase of the project.  It is anticipated that approximately 20% of the OPM fees will be paid during the design phase.  This Article requests authorization of the total OPM fee in order to ensure continuity through the life of the project if future Town Meetings approve future phases.   

 

The requested amount covers only costs for design documents and the OPM.  It does not include costs for construction bid documents.  If funds are appropriated under this Article and design work is completed on schedule, an additional request for construction document funds is anticipated to be submitted for consideration to the 2022 Annual Town Meeting.

 

The Advisory Committee recommends funding this Article through use of both unrestricted and restricted fund balance.  1997 Annual Town Meeting restricted the use of proceeds from the sale of the Hersey House (the former location of the Town’s Senior Center) to the renovation of Town Hall, which included incorporating the Police Department and the Senior Center into Town Hall.  However, by the time Hersey House was sold in 2011, the Town Hall renovation had long since been completed, and the sale proceeds of $1,250,000 have been held in restricted fund balance ever since.  Town Counsel has determined that Massachusetts law permits Town Meeting to apply these restricted funds for the purposes of this Article, as the intent of the original restriction was for improvements to Town Hall for the betterment of the Town’s senior population.  The remaining $350,000 for this Article would come from unrestricted fund balance. As noted above, only a portion of the OPM fee will be applicable to this stage of the project.  Fund balance will only be used as expenses are incurred. The Advisory Committee believes that using the restricted and unrestricted fund balance as described will not preclude or delay other projects under consideration by the Town, such as the Foster School project and Route 3A improvements.  

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article. 

 

      RECOMMENDED:  That the Town authorize the use of $1,250,000 of restricted fund balance from the proceeds of the sale of the Hersey House and up to $350,000 from unrestricted fund balance to pay the expenses for design, architectural, engineering, Owner’s Project Manager, and other professional services to complete the schematic design and design development documents for a new Public Safety Facility to be located at 335 Lincoln Street, Hingham, Massachusetts.

 

     ARTICLE 19:  Will the Town raise and appropriate or transfer monies from available funds for civil engineering services to design and to develop plans and specifications for the Route 3A/Rotary/Summer Street corridor roadway improvements and all incidental costs, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the 3A Task Force) 

 

      COMMENT: This Article seeks $200,000 to complete the anticipated engineering and construction administration services for the Route 3A / Rotary / Summer Street corridor.  The approximate project limits run along the Route 3A roadway from the intersection of Otis Street and Broad Cove Road through the 3A Rotary (located where Summer Street, Chief Justice Cushing Highway, and Green Street meet), and continue up Summer Street to the intersection at George Washington Boulevard and Rockland Street.  This section of Route 3A is in the State layout and falls under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (“MassDOT”). The project is in the State Transportation Improvement Program (“TIP”) under which the Town is responsible for design costs with the State paying for construction.   MassDOT estimates the project construction cost at $15,300,000.  If this Article is approved by Town Meeting, construction is scheduled to begin in 2025.

 

This Article requests funding to complete the design for a project that was approved at two previous Town Meetings. The 2015 Annual Town Meeting appropriated $400,000 for Phase 1 design expenses for the project and the 2019 Annual Town Meeting approved spending $195,000 for additional Phase 1 and Phase 2 design expenses to address an increase in the project area and design enhancements.  Additionally, in 2018 the Town tested a “road diet” program with $24,197 in funds from the Town Engineering Department.  The additional $200,000 requested by this Article will fund the final design work and bring the total amount contributed by the Town to $819,197.

 

MassDOT identified both the 3A Rotary and the Summer Street / North Street intersection as high crash locations in a 2013 Safety Survey.  The crash rate at both locations exceeds the State crash rate average. The injury to accident rate along the Summer Street section was approximately 30-35% in 2015 and that estimate remains accurate.

 

Studies undertaken in connection with the project recommended improvements that include updated signals, improved signage, lane markings, yield markings, sidewalk improvements, curbing, redesign, traffic islands, redesign alternatives for the Rotary, and design changes at the intersection at Water Street, North Street, and 3A.  These changes are intended to introduce pedestrian and bicycle accommodations while also establishing traffic calming measures.  In 2018, a “road diet” test was undertaken which eliminated one lane from the Rotary along Summer Street to Rockland Street at George Washington Boulevard in both directions.  This test was successful in moderating traffic flow and is part of the current design plan.  The overall plan and supporting documentation is available for viewing on the Route 3A Task Force web page of the Town website (https://www.hingham-ma.gov/823/Project-Design-Plans).

 

In addition to resolving significant traffic and safety issues, the modifications contemplated by this Article will support improved pedestrian access along this corridor, essential to a vital harbor - downtown - neighborhood link.  The modifications will also serve to enhance the recreational, educational, and commercial opportunities in this area. 

 

Positive action on this Article will increase the Town’s financial contribution to this project to $819,197 or approximately 5.4% of the total project construction cost of $15,300,000.  The State will pay the entire construction cost of $15,300,000.   The Town will have the option to appropriate funds at a future Town Meeting to make aesthetic and/or use enhancements that can be added to the project at the Town’s cost. 

 

Failure to pass this Article means the project will not be fully designed and it will be removed from the TIP list for 2025 and from the MassDOT list of scheduled projects, as only projects meeting their design schedules can be on the TIP.  The Town would also lose this opportunity to significantly increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety and access to the harbor while also improving the flow and safety of vehicular traffic along this section of road, a stated priority in the Town’s Master Plan. 

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.  

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town appropriate an amount not to exceed $200,000 from available reserves for civil engineering services to finalize development of plans and specifications for Route 3A / Rotary / Summer Street corridor roadway improvements and all incidental costs. 

 

     ARTICLE 20:  Will the Town raise and appropriate, borrow or transfer from available funds, a sum of money to be expended by the Board of Selectmen for the repair/reconstruction of the Town Pier Wharf, to address safety issues and sea level rise, or act on anything related thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the Harbor Development Committee)

 

     COMMENT: This Article seeks funding to reconstruct and raise the height of Town Pier Wharf as part of a long-range plan, to both repair the deteriorating Town-owned wharves and protect Hingham’s shoreline and Route 3A infrastructure.  The project will elevate the wharves to address sea level rise, storm surges, and extreme high tides.  The repairs will also mitigate safety hazards created by the poor condition of the wharf.  Town Pier Wharf is the largest, most heavily used wharf and is the only publicly available boat pier in Hingham. No substantial work has been performed on Town Pier Wharf in living memory.  The project is estimated to cost a maximum of $5,650,000 less any grant awards, as detailed below.

 

In March 2015, the Town began developing an action plan for the harbor waterfront. The initial plan included a risk assessment and adaptation study of climate change vulnerability.  Over the next two years, the Town gathered data, including a topographic and bathymetric study, visual structure assessment, and geotechnical investigations of the three harbor wharves in need of repair/reconstruction: Town Pier, Veterans Park, and Barnes wharves.  Design criteria for these wharves were established based on sea level rise forecasts for 2030.  The selected target elevation was 16.2 feet above the mean low water mark, 11 feet North Atlantic Vertical Datum (“NAVD”).  

 

In April 2018, the Harbor Development Committee (“HDC”) presented the Board of Selectmen with design alternatives, which were approved several months later.  Over the next two years, the Town worked with the civil engineering firm Beals + Thomas on resiliency design and permit coordination.  Since the permitting process is at a different stage for each of the three wharves in need of repair/reconstruction, Beals + Thomas and the HDC recommended that the Town reconstruct one wharf at a time.   This approach also facilitates staggered grant application opportunities, the award of which would offset total project costs.  Town Pier Wharf is the most significant Town-owned wharf due to its size and the harbor access it provides boaters and walkers.  Additionally, it needs the most repair/reconstruction.  This project will be a bellwether informing the design and permitting of future work on Veterans Park and Barnes wharves.

 

The Town Pier Wharf seawall elevation is currently 7.2 feet NAVD.  The targeted seawall height of 11.0 feet NAVD is 3.8 feet higher than the existing wall, and approximately 1 foot higher than the combined anticipated sea level rise and storm surge, which is the static height or still-water level of the ocean during a storm, associated with the 100-year (1% probability) storm in 2030.  The current design is modular, allowing for an additional course of granite block to be added to the seawall which will increase its’ height by 1.5 feet (to 12.5’ NAVD), if needed in the future.  The new seawall and associated revetment (retaining wall) have estimated useful lives of 85 and 60 years, respectively.

 

Permit level design is complete for Town Pier Wharf.  

Local, State and Federal permit applications are near completion.  It is expected that final permitting will take approximately 6 to 9 months.  If this Article is approved by Town Meeting, construction could begin in earnest in the Winter of 2021-2022 and would take approximately 4 to 6 months to complete.  It is anticipated that the Town would issue bonds in early FY 2023.

 

Several organizations offer grant opportunities for projects of this nature.  These include:  the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs via two programs - the Dam and Seawall Repair or Removal Program (which offers grants of up to $3,000,000 for coastal protection projects) and the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program (which offers grants of up to $2,000,000), the Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council, and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management’s Coastal Resilience Grant Program, to name a few.  However, to be eligible for any grants, the Town must have approved the project to demonstrate that the Town is able to meet its share of any funding requirements.  If the project is not approved at this Annual Town Meeting, the Town will not be eligible for current grant offerings, and the Town cannot be certain of similar grant opportunities in future years.  Additionally, project costs will likely increase, and there is interest rate risk given that the current favorable borrowing rate environment could change.

 

These types of grant opportunities are unique to harbor capital projects.  The Town will apply for all available grants, with the intent to minimize the overall project cost to Hingham. The Town has received significant grants for previous harbor projects, such as dredging of the harbor and the bathhouse/snack shack. While past performance does not guarantee future success, the Town has a track record of maximizing available external funding sources.

 

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote by Town Meeting.

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

      RECOMMENDED:  That the Town appropriate an amount of up to $5,650,000 to be expended by the Board of Selectmen for the repair/reconstruction of the Town Pier Wharf, to address safety issues and sea level rise.  To meet said appropriation, the Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, is authorized to borrow said sum under Massachusetts General Law chapter 44, section 7, or any other enabling authority and to issue bonds or notes of the Town therefor. 

 

Any premium received by the Town upon the sale of any bonds or notes approved by this vote, less any such premium applied to the payment of the costs of issuance of such bonds or notes, may be applied to the payment of costs approved by this vote in accordance with Massachusetts General Law chapter 44, section 20 thereby reducing the amount authorized to be borrowed to pay such costs by a like amount.

 

     ARTICLE 21:  Will the Town vote to amend the General By-laws of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 13, 1939, as heretofore amended, as follows: 

 

To delete the words "board of selectmen" and "selectmen" wherever they appear in the Town of Hingham General By-laws and insert in their place the words "select board", "members of the select board" or "select board members" and "member of the select board" or "select board member", respectively. 

 

To delete the word "chairman" wherever it appears in the Town of Hingham General By-laws and insert in its place the word "chair''. 

 

To delete the words "he", "she" and "his", "hers" and "him", "her" wherever they appear in the Town of Hingham General By-laws and insert in their place the words "they", "their" or "them." 

 

To delete the word "He" where it appears in Section 2 and 3 of Article 6 (Town Clerk) of the General By-laws of the Town of Hingham and insert in its place the words "The Town Clerk". 

 

To insert the following new provision as Section 4 of Article I of the Town of Hingham General-bylaws: 

 

Under the Town of Hingham General By-laws, the Select Board shall be the entity historically known as the Board of Selectmen. The Select Board shall have and exercise all legal rights, authority, duties and responsibilities vested in a board of selectmen by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by vote of the Town of Hingham Town Meeting and by the Town of Hingham General By-laws. 

 

To insert the following new provision as Section 5 of Article I of the Town of Hingham General By-laws: 

 

In all currently active Town of Hingham communications and documents, such as policies, rules and regulations, where reasonably practical, and in all future Town of Hingham communications and documents, the words "board of selectmen", "selectmen" and "chairman" shall be deleted and replaced with words "select board", "members of the select board" or "select board members" and "member of the select board" or "select board member" and "chair", respectively. 

 

It is the intent of this provision that gender-neutral terminology shall be used in all current and future Town of Hingham communications and documents, and that with respect to currently active Town communications and documents where it is not reasonably practical to change terminology that is not gender-neutral, such documents shall be interpreted to impute gender-neutral terminology. 

 

To insert the following new provision as Section 6 of Article I of the Town of Hingham General By-laws: 

 

Wherever words of one gender appear in the Town of Hingham General By-laws such words shall be construed to include the other gender. 

 

And further, 

 

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to file a petition with the General Court in accordance with Article LXXXLX, Article II, Section 8 (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 2, Section 8), of the Articles of Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, as follows: 

 

Section 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law or by-law of the Town of Hingham to the contrary, the Town Administrator Special Act, Chapter 260 of the Acts of 2016, is hereby amended to delete the words "board of selectmen" wherever they appear in said act and insert in their place the words "select board". 

 

Section 2. Notwithstanding any general or special law or by-law of the Town of Hingham to the contrary, the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Hingham shall be referred to as the Select Board of the Town of Hingham and individual members of said Select Board shall be referred to as a member of the Select Board of the Town of Hingham, 

 

Section 3. This act shall take effect upon its passage. 

 

or act on anything relating thereto? 

(Inserted at the request of registered voters Elizabeth Reed O’Reilly and others – Citizens Petition)

 

     COMMENT:  This Article is a Citizen’s Petition proposed by citizens and prepared and supported by the League of Women Voters of Hingham (“LWV”).  The goal of the Article is to change the name of the Board of Selectmen to the Select Board and to make the language in the Hingham General By-laws (“By-laws”) gender-neutral and to use gender-neutral language in all the Town’s current and future communications.  The proponents intend to submit an Article with gender-neutral Zoning By-law changes to the 2022 Annual Town Meeting.

 

The rationale for using gender-neutral terms is to be more welcoming and equitable to all people in the Town and to recognize that all persons (binary and non-binary) are part of our community. Such language is a form of non-discriminatory expression, since it does not distinguish societal roles or opportunities based on specifically identified gender roles.   Proponents argue this will assist in making Hingham a more diverse and open community where all people are valued and respected.

 

Under the Article, all references in the By-laws to Board of Selectmen would be changed to Select Board.  This is a change that many other towns and municipalities have already made. More than 90 communities in Massachusetts have changed their executive board from Board of Selectmen to Select Board. In fact, the Massachusetts Selectmen’s Association changed its name to the Massachusetts Select Board Association in January 2020.  At least 13 of our benchmark communities have changed their Board of Selectmen to Select Board, including Scituate and Cohasset. Hull is considering this change this year at its Annual Town Meeting.  

 

There is no gender-neutral pronoun for a single person in the English language.  This Article would delete the words "he", "she" and "his", "hers" and "him", "her" wherever they appear in the Town of Hingham General By-laws and, if a gender term was necessary, insert in their place the words "they", "their" or "them."  All references to Chairmen would be changed to Chair.  In recent years, many of the major writing style guides, including the Associated Press Stylebook, the Chicago Manual of Style, the Modern Language Association, and the American Psychological Association, have recognized and accepted the use of gender-neutral terms in the English language in the manner proposed by this Article.  The National Council of Teachers of English also has endorsed the use of gender-neutral language as is proposed by this Article.

 

Although gender-neutral terms are becoming more acceptable, the use of plural pronouns for singular persons can be uncomfortable for some people.  However, this usage is now considered to be a correct use of the English language. Sometimes the language is changed to either identify the position itself (police officer or fire person) or make plural the language before using “they,” ‘their”, and “them” as a singular pronoun.  In other cases, it is not necessary to reference gender in the By-laws, and the proposed recommended motion makes that option available in this revision process.

 

The new provision in Article 1, Section 4 states that the Select Board is the previously known and referenced Board of Selectmen.  The Article also authorizes the Board of Selectmen to petition the General Court to permit these gender-neutral changes in all general or special laws applicable to the Town of Hingham. 

 

The Article also proposes adding a provision to the By-laws.  Article 1, Section 5, would require all current and future communications, policies, and documents, where reasonably practical, to use gender-neutral terms.   Proponents of the Article maintain this provision makes clear the Town’s commitment to diversity and the use of gender-neutral language.  Town Committees, Boards, and Departments would be responsible for reviewing and modifying current communications, policies, and documents to include gender-neutral terms, as resources and time permit.  There is no time frame stated for when this review must be completed.   This Article does not require communications, policies, and documents that are no longer applicable to the Town to be reviewed or modified.  This review process is limited to reviewing communications, policies, and documents as to gender-neutral language; it does not authorize substantive changes that otherwise require the approval of Town Meeting.

 

Article I, Section 6, would be added to the By-laws to clarify that when words of one gender appear in the By-laws, it is construed to include all genders.  The original proposed provision references the other gender, but the Advisory Committee has changed the language slightly in the recommended motion to include all genders.

 

It is unclear exactly what the financial costs of implementing this Article would be.  There would be staff time in revising the By-laws, updating and reviewing all Town policies, procedures, and documents, and updating the Town’s website to comply with gender-neutral communications.   Volunteer time could be required to review Committee and Boards of the Town with respect to revising their documents, policies, and procedures.  There are also other one-time expenses such as new business cards, stationery, and signs for Town Hall.  It also is possible in certain situations there could be legal expenses in finalizing revisions.

 

The Town of Milton has amended its By-laws to be gender-neutral using the same language proposed in this Article.  Milton’s changes were approved by the Attorney General’s Office.  The proposed changes in this Article have been reviewed by Town Counsel.

 

At its hearing on this Article, the Board of Selectmen requested that the Advisory Committee consider recommending that the Article, if approved, result in a grammatically correct final version of the Hingham General By-laws and that the Board of Selectmen would review the General By-laws once the revisions were made.  That review process is contained in the recommended motion set forth below.

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of the Article.  

 

     RECOMMENDATION:  That the Town vote to amend the General By-laws of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 13, 1939, as heretofore amended, as follows: 

 

To delete the words "board of selectmen" and "selectmen" wherever they appear in the Town of Hingham General By-laws and insert in their place the words "select board", "members of the select board" or "select board members" and "member of the select board" or "select board member", respectively. 

 

To delete the word "chairman" wherever it appears in the Town of Hingham General By-laws and insert in its place the word "chair''. 

 

To delete the words "he", "she" and "his", "hers" and "him", "her" wherever they appear in the Town of Hingham General By-laws and replace with a gender-neutral reference, if necessary.

 

To delete the word "He" where it appears in Section 2 and 3 of Article 6 (Town Clerk) of the General By-laws of the Town of Hingham and insert in its place the words "The Town Clerk". 

 

To insert the following new provision as Section 4 of Article I of the Town of Hingham General By-laws: 

 

Under the Town of Hingham General By-laws, the Select Board shall be the entity historically known as the Board of Selectmen.  The Select Board shall have and exercise all legal rights, authority, duties and responsibilities vested in a board of selectmen by the Constitution and General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by vote of the Town of Hingham Town Meeting and by the Town of Hingham General By-laws. 

 

To insert the following new provision as Section 5 of Article I of the Town of Hingham General By-laws: 

 

In all currently active Town of Hingham communications and documents, such as policies, rules and regulations, where reasonably practical, and in all future Town of Hingham communications and documents, the words "board of selectmen", "selectmen" and "chairman" shall be deleted and replaced with words "select board", "members of the select board" or "select board members" and "member of the select board" or "select board member" and "chair", respectively. 

 

It is the intent of this provision that gender-neutral terminology shall be used in all current and future Town of Hingham communications and documents, and that with respect to currently active Town communications and documents where it is not reasonably practical to change terminology that is not gender-neutral, such documents shall be interpreted to impute gender-neutral terminology.  This provision does not prohibit the use of a personal pronoun or title with respect to a specific individual whose gender is known.

 

To insert the following new provision as Section 6 of Article I of the Town of Hingham General By-laws: 

 

Wherever words of one gender appear in the Town of Hingham General By-laws such words shall be construed to include all genders. 

 

And further, 

 

To ensure that the above revisions to the By-laws are correct grammatically, the Board of Selectmen is hereby authorized to review the revised By-laws once they are completed and to make any additional grammatical changes and to file a completed version of the revised By-laws with the Town Clerk. 

 

And further, 

 

To authorize the Board of Selectmen to file a petition with the General Court in accordance with Article LXXXIX, Article II, Section 8 (M.G.L.A. Const. Amend. Art. 2, Section 8), of the Articles of Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, as follows: 

 

Section 1.    Notwithstanding any general or special law or by-law of the Town of Hingham to the contrary, the Town Administrator Special Act, Chapter 263 of the Acts of 2016, is hereby amended to delete the words "board of selectmen" wherever they appear in said act and insert in their place the words "select board". 

 

Section 2.   Notwithstanding any general or special law or by-law of the Town of Hingham to the contrary, the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Hingham shall be referred to as the Select Board of the Town of Hingham and individual members of said Select Board shall be referred to as a member of the Select Board of the Town of Hingham, 

 

Section 3. This act shall take effect upon its passage. 

 

     ARTICLE 22:  Will the Town vote to amend the General By-laws of the Town, adopted March 13, 1939, as heretofore amended, by amending Article 2 and Article 3, respectively, for the purpose of establishing the requirement of a standing resolution to be presented for adoption at the annual regular Town Meeting of the Town, and procedure therefore, recognizing by a roll call the names of employees, appointed volunteers and elected officials of the Town deceased since the prior year annual regular Town Meeting, and expressing the Town’s lasting appreciation of their efforts and contributions to the good of the Town. 

 

(I) by inserting in Article 2 after Section 9 thereof the following: 

 

Section 10. 

(a) There shall be a standing resolution presented for consideration and action of each annual regular Town Meeting to recognize by roll call the names of persons who were employed by, an appointed volunteer to, or elected official of the Town and are deceased since the prior annual regular Town Meeting, with an expression of lasting appreciation by the Town for their efforts and contributions to the good of the Town. 

(b) The Town Clerk shall compile into a written list the information required for the resolution's roll call based on public information known or made known to the Town Clerk since the last annual regular Town Meeting. The list shall include each such person's most recent (i) first and last name and (ii) position of employment, volunteer appointment or elected office held with the Town. This list shall be incorporated into the resolution, which shall be included in the next Town Report. 

(c) The language of the resolution shall be substantially as follows: 

 

Resolved: That the Town of Hingham hereby recognizes those persons once employed by, an appointed volunteer to or an elected official of the Town and are deceased since the last annual regular Town Meeting, to be hereafter specifically identified though a roll call of a list compiled by the Town Clerk; and that the Town hereby expresses its lasting appreciation for their efforts and contributions to the good of the Town (roll call list to be inserted here). 

 

and  

 

(2) by inserting in Article 3 after Section 4 thereof the following: 

 

Section 4A. The resolution required by Section 10 of Article 2 of these by-laws shall be presented by the Moderator at the first session of annual regular Town Meeting, and prior to consideration of any other warrant article. The Moderator shall recognize the Chair of the Board of Selectmen, or the Chair's designee, for the purpose of reading the resolution aloud to Town Meeting and further recognize the Town Clerk, or the Town Clerk's designee, for the purpose of reading aloud to Town Meeting the resolution's incorporated compiled roll call list. Upon the conclusion of the reading of the roll call the Moderator shall present the resolution for a vote by Town Meeting. 

 

or act on anything relating thereto? 

(Inserted at the request of registered voters Tom Patch and others – Citizens Petition)

 

     COMMENT:   The proposed article seeks to amend the General By-laws of the Town, seeks to require the Moderator to recognize the Chair of the Board of Selectmen at the first session of the Annual Town Meeting to read a list of names of former employees, Town volunteers, or elected officials who have died subsequent to the end of the prior year’s Annual Town Meeting and for the Town Meeting to vote upon a resolution to be read by the Town Clerk expressing the appreciation of the Town for the service of those on the list.   The list is to be compiled by the Town Clerk from names known or made known to the Town Clerk.  The list is to include the first and last name of the deceased and the position(s) held by the person as an employee, volunteer, or elected official.

 

Current practice at the Annual Town Meeting is to read a list of deceased municipal employees who died in the prior year.   The list is easily ascertained from retirement records of the Town.  Current practice does not include school employees as they are in a different retirement system to which the Town does not have ready access.

 

There is no dearth of expressions of thanks to the many citizens who serve the Town in a volunteer capacity.   Those expressions are routinely made at the meetings of the Town’s Boards and Committees, in the Annual Town Report, and in the Warrant itself.  The Advisory Committee has no disagreement whatsoever with the proposition of giving thanks to the many volunteers, appointed and unappointed, who not only serve the Town’s schools and municipal boards and committees but also to the coaches, scout leaders, Food Pantry workers, library, and Senior Center volunteers, as well as the Historical Society and those who serve in our veterans and religious organizations and others who volunteer their time, energy and treasure in so many ways to make our community what it is.   The Advisory Committee thanks the proponents for their time, work, and community spirit in seeking to think about the provision of additional thanks to the families of deceased Town employees, elected officials, and appointed volunteers but recommends No Action on the proposed By-law amendments for the following reasons.

 

None of our benchmark communities has a by-law such as the proposed By-law and no similar by-law in the Commonwealth has been brought to the attention of the Advisory Committee.   Hingham has many customs, traditions, and ceremonial acts embedded in our public life.  With respect to the Annual Town Meeting those ceremonies include an invocation by a religious leader, the pledge of allegiance, the recognition of honored guests, remarks by our member of Congress, and the reading of a list of municipal employees who have died in the preceding year.  The Advisory Committee does not see the need for a by-law or by-laws to mandate the performance of such ceremonial acts.  As presently constituted, Articles 2 and 3 of our General By-laws do not address such ceremonial acts.  Rather, they address the mechanics and parliamentary governance of the Town Meeting.

 

The proposed by-law amendments would place additional work on already busy Town employees and will involve the expenditure of additional time at the opening of the Annual Town Meeting before the actual work of the Annual Town Meeting, namely, voting on the warrant articles, begins.  When we think of the numerous volunteers who have served the Town over the course of many decades and in many cases their movement to out-of-state retirement communities, people will invariably be left out.  The proposed by-law amendments do not require the Town Clerk to track the location of all volunteers but only to compile a list of those deceased employees, elected officials, and appointed volunteers known or made known to the Town Clerk.  At best only a partial list can be prepared.  The many important non-appointed municipal and community volunteers are not included, such as the numerous volunteers at the Senior Center, our schools, or the Library as a small example.

 

The proposed by-law amendments would require those citizens at the Town Meeting to vote on the resolution of thanks.   The Advisory Committee believes that there may be unintended consequences of this procedure, such as, last minute identification of additional names at the Town Meeting or perhaps expressions of displeasure with decisions made by a deceased person when involved on a Town Board or Committee.

 

The Advisory Committee believes that a general expression of thanks by either the Moderator or the Chair of the Board of Selectmen to the families of deceased persons who volunteered in any aspect of Hingham’s Community life, to be made in a manner and words selected at their discretion, would be an appropriate manifestation of thanks without a reading of names and without the requirements of the proposed by-law amendments.

 

The Board of Selectmen and the Advisory Committee voted unanimously that No Action be taken on this Article.

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That No Action be taken on this Article.

 

     ARTICLE 23:  Will the Town vote to appropriate, borrow or transfer from available funds, an amount of money to be expended under the direction of the 2017 Hingham School Building Committee for a windows replacement project at Plymouth River School located at 200 High Street, Hingham, MA 02043, which would replace necessary doors, windows and make other repairs or replacements as necessary to meet MSBA requirements, which proposed repair project would materially extend the useful life of the school and preserve an asset that otherwise is capable of supporting the required educational program and for which the Town has applied for a school construction grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”).  The Town acknowledges that the MSBA’s grant program is a non-entitlement, discretionary program based on need, as determined by the MSBA, and if the MSBA’s Board of Directors votes to invite the Town to collaborate with the MSBA on this proposed repair project, any project costs the Town incurs in excess of any grant that may be approved by and received from the MSBA shall be the sole responsibility of the Town, or act on anything related thereto?     

(Inserted at the request of the School Committee)

 

     COMMENT: This Article seeks to raise and appropriate a to-be-determined amount for the replacement of the windows at the Plymouth River Elementary School (“PRS”).  A portion of the funds so raised and appropriated is anticipated to be reimbursed by grant monies from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (“MSBA”) and a $1,000,000 mitigation payment already received from a developer, Broadstone Bare Cove Alliance (“Broadstone”).

 

PRS is one of Hingham’s four elementary schools.  Built in 1968, PRS is a single story, 59,300 square foot building sitting on 40 acres of mostly wooded land.  The majority of the existing PRS windows are steel framed and single pane.  As a result of deterioration over the last 50 years, most of the steel frames are rusted and many windows are boarded over, restricting natural light into classrooms.  The thermal performance of the single-paned windows is very poor, increasing the expense of heating the all-electric building and creating drafts that impair the learning process.  Many of the windows either have damaged screens or lack screens altogether.

 

In 2008, the Town invested $3,500,000 in renovations to PRS to extend the building’s useful life.  The scope and magnitude of the renovations triggered mandatory Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) upgrades and the cost of these important ADA modifications precluded replacement of all the windows at that time.  Only the “storefront” windows at the main entrance to the school and cafeteria were able to be replaced within the 2008 budget.  Nearly 9,000 square feet of glass windows still need to be replaced.

 

The cost of the entire window repair project is currently being estimated.  However, the ultimate cost to the Town is expected to be offset by a combination of (i) a to-be-determined amount of reimbursement grant funds from the MSBA’s Accelerated Repair Program (“ARP”); and (ii) a $1,000,000 mitigation payment already received from Broadstone related to their recently completed multi-family housing development, The Cove, 350 Beal Street, Hingham, adjacent to Lynch Field.  

 

The MSBA’s Accelerated Repair Program is primarily for the repair and/or replacement of roofs and windows/doors. The Program focuses on the preservation of existing assets by performing energy-efficient and cost-saving upgrades, which will result in direct operational savings for school districts.  In order to maximize the impact of this Program, districts are required to use pre-selected consultants.  In addition, districts are required to adhere to an accelerated project schedule.

 

The Town submitted a Statement of Interest (“SOI”) to the MSBA in February 2020, which resulted in this project being accepted into the Accelerated Repair Program.  Acceptance is the beginning of the ARP process, however, not the end.  Recently, the MSBA assigned an Owner’s Project Manager (“OPM”) to the project.   The OPM is currently working with the Town to refine the estimated cost of the project.  The Town plans to submit its proposal with final costs to the MSBA this summer and anticipates favorable action by the MSBA, approving reimbursement for a percentage of MSBA-eligible expenses, shortly thereafter.

 

If approved by the MSBA, cost reimbursement is on a “pay-as-you-go” basis and is anticipated to be at least 31.5% of MSBA-eligible expenses.  

 

MSBA regulations require that the Town vote to authorize the full cost of the project.  If approved, MSBA reimbursement will ultimately offset a meaningful portion of that total cost. 

 

Should the MSBA ultimately not approve the proposed PRS project this year, this article would permit the Town to complete this project without the MSBA reimbursement using Town funds and the $1,000,000 mitigation payment.

 

It is anticipated this project will start and finish in the summer of 2022, so as to not impact student activity at PRS. 

 

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote at Town Meeting.

 

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

    RECOMMENDED: The Advisory Committee will make its recommendation at Town Meeting after it has received an estimate of the cost of the project.

 

     ARTICLE 24:  Will the town authorize the School     Department to enter into a lease of up to five years for the purpose of leasing new school buses for regular transportation, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the School Committee)

 

     COMMENT:   The purpose of this article is to give the Hingham School Committee the authority to enter into a five-year lease for school buses for regular transportation.  Regular transportation includes all student transportation not related to transporting special education students.  The School Administration has demonstrated significant savings in leasing the buses for the longer term of five years, rather than purchasing these vehicles.  Massachusetts General Laws chapter 30B, section 12 prevents the Town from entering into contracts for more than three years without Town Meeting approval.

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town authorize the School Department to enter into a lease for the purpose of leasing new school buses used for regular transportation.  

 

     ARTICLE 25:  Will the Town authorize, but not require, the expansion of the role of the 2017 School Building Committee to pursue, oversee and execute the replacement of windows, doors and related infrastructure with respect to Plymouth River Elementary School pursuant to and in conjunction with Hingham’s invitation into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) Accelerated Repair Grant Program, or act on anything relating thereto?

(Inserted at the request of the School Committee)

 

     COMMENT: 2017 Annual Town Meeting established a School Building Committee for the purpose of overseeing a feasibility study and any related projects for the Foster Elementary School.  This article seeks to expand the purview of this committee to include the oversight of replacing windows, doors, and related infrastructure at Plymouth River Elementary School in line with the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (“MSBA”) Accelerated Repair Grant Program.  The MSBA partners with Massachusetts communities to support the design and construction of educationally appropriate, flexible, sustainable, and cost-effective public-school facilities.  The main goals of the Accelerated Repair Program are to improve learning environments for children and teachers, reduce energy use, and generate cost savings for districts.  Hingham was accepted into the MSBA Accelerated Repair Grant Program on December 20, 2020.

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town authorize, but not require, the expansion of the role of the 2017 School Building Committee to pursue, oversee, and execute the replacement of windows, doors, and related infrastructure with respect to Plymouth River Elementary School pursuant to and in conjunction with Hingham’s invitation into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s Accelerated Repair Grant Program.

 

     ARTICLE 26:  Will the Town amend the Zoning By-Law of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 10, 1941, as heretofore amended as follows:

Item 1:  By amending Section III-C, 1 by inserting “The exact boundaries of the District shall be defined by the 1%-chance base flood elevations shown on the Plymouth County FIRM and further defined by Flood Insurance Studies.” after the second sentence that ends in (NFIP;

 

Item 2:  By amending Section III-C, 1.d by deleting “and” at the end of the sentence; 

 

Item 3:  By amending Section III-C, 1  by deleting “All regulations in the Hingham Zoning By-Law applicable to such underlying districts shall remain in effect; except that, where the provisions of this Section III-C impose additional regulations, those additional regulations shall govern.” and inserting “ 

  1. to avoid the loss of utility services which if damaged by flooding would disrupt or shut down the utility network and impact regions of the community beyond the site of flooding; and
  2. to eliminate costs associated with the response and cleanup of flooding conditions.

 

All regulations in the Hingham Zoning By-Law applicable to such underlying districts shall remain in effect; except that, where the provisions of this Section III-C impose additional regulations, those additional regulations shall govern.  The floodplain management regulations found in this Floodplain Protection Overlay District section shall take precedence over any less restrictive conflicting local laws, ordinances or codes.

Disclaimer of liability- The degree of flood protection required by this bylaw is considered reasonable but does not imply total flood protection.”;

 

Item 4:  By amending Section III-C, 10 by deleting the existing text and inserting new Sections 10-18 as follows “

 

  1. The Town of Hingham requires a permit for all proposed construction or other development in the floodplain overlay district, including new construction or changes to existing buildings, placement of manufactured homes, placement of agricultural facilities, fences, sheds, storage facilities or drilling, mining, paving and any other development that might increase flooding or adversely impact flood risks to other properties.  The Town of Hingham hereby designates the position of Building Commissioner to be the official floodplain administrator for the Town/City.   Whenever an application is made for a Building Permit on a lot of land which the Building Commissioner believes may contain a Floodplain Protection Overlay District boundary, said Commissioner shall require the applicant for such permit to provide as part of such application a plan, certified by a registered land surveyor, of the lot showing the exact location of the Floodplain Protection Overlay District boundary.

 

  1. If the Town/City acquires data that changes the base flood elevation in the FEMA mapped Special Flood Hazard Areas, the Town/City will, within 6 months, notify FEMA of these changes by submitting the technical or scientific data that supports the change(s.)  Notification shall be submitted to:

FEMA Region I Risk Analysis Branch Chief

99 High St., 6th floor, Boston, MA  02110

 

And copy of notification to:

 

Massachusetts NFIP State Coordinator

MA Dept. of Conservation & Recreation, 251 Causeway Street, Boston, MA  02114

 

  1. Variances to building code floodplain standards:  If the State issues variances to the flood-resistant standards as found in the state building code, the Town of Hingham will request from the State Building Code Appeals Board a written and/or audible copy of the portion of the hearing related to the variance, and will maintain this record in the community’s files.  The Town of Hingham shall also issue a letter to the property owner regarding potential impacts to the annual premiums for the flood insurance policy covering that property, in writing over the signature of a community official that (i) the issuance of a variance to construct a structure below the base flood level will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance up to amounts as high as $25 for $100 of insurance coverage and (ii) such construction below the base flood level increases risks to life and property. Such notification shall be maintained with the record of all variance actions for the referenced development in the floodplain overlay district.

 

  1. Variances to local Zoning By-Laws related to community compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)- A variance from these floodplain bylaws must meet the requirements set out by State law, and may only be granted if: 1) Good and sufficient cause and exceptional non-financial hardship exist; 2) the variance will not result in additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, or fraud or victimization of the public; and 3) the variance is the minimum action necessary to afford relief.

 

  1. Hingham’s permit review process includes the use of a checklist of all local, state and federal permits that will be necessary in order to carry out the proposed development in the floodplain overlay district.  The proponent must acquire all necessary permits, and must submit the completed checklist demonstrating that all necessary permits have been acquired.

 

  1. In A Zones, in the absence of FEMA BFE data and floodway data, the building department will obtain, review and reasonably utilize base flood elevation and floodway data available from a Federal, State, or other source as criteria for requiring new construction, substantial improvements, or other development in Zone A as the basis for elevating residential structures to or above base flood level, for floodproofing or elevating nonresidential structures to or above base flood level, and for prohibiting encroachments in floodways.

 

  1. Within Zones AO and AH on the FIRM, adequate drainage paths must be provided around structures on slopes, to guide floodwaters around and away from proposed structures.

 

  1. In A1-30, AH, AE Zones, V1-30, VE, and V Zones, all recreational vehicles to be placed on a site must be elevated and anchored in accordance with the zone’s regulations for foundation and elevation requirements or be on the site for less than 180 consecutive days or be fully licensed and highway ready.

 

  1. Definitions: 

 

DEVELOPMENT means any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to building or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations or storage of equipment or materials. [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

FLOOD BOUNDARY AND FLOODWAY MAP means an official map of a community issued by FEMA that depicts, based on detailed analyses, the boundaries of the 100-year and 500-year floods and the 100-year floodway.  (For maps done in 1987 and later, the floodway designation is included on the FIRM.) 

FLOOD HAZARD BOUNDARY MAP (FHBM.) An official map of a community issued by the Federal Insurance Administrator, where the boundaries of the flood and related erosion areas having special hazards have been designated as Zone A or E. [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

FLOODWAY. The channel of the river, creek or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than a designated height. [Massachusetts State Building Code, Chapter 2, Section 202]

 

FUNCTIONALLY DEPENDENT USE means a use which cannot perform its intended purpose unless it is located or carried out in close proximity to water. The term includes only docking facilities, port facilities that are necessary for the loading and unloading of cargo or passengers, and ship building and ship repair facilities, but does not include long-term storage or related manufacturing facilities. [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59] Also [Referenced Standard ASCE 24-14]

 

HIGHEST ADJACENT GRADE means the highest natural elevation of the ground surface prior to construction next to the proposed walls of a structure. [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

HISTORIC STRUCTURE means any structure that is:

(a) Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places (a listing maintained by the Department of Interior) or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as meeting the requirements for individual listing on the National Register;

(b) Certified or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as contributing to the historical significance of a registered historic district or a district preliminarily determined by the Secretary to qualify as a registered historic district;

(c) Individually listed on a state inventory of historic places in states with historic preservation programs which have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior; or

(d) Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in communities with historic preservation programs that have been certified either:

(1) By an approved state program as determined by the Secretary of the Interior or

(2) Directly by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.

[US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

NEW CONSTRUCTION. Structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of the first floodplain management code, regulation, ordinance, or standard adopted by the authority having jurisdiction, including any subsequent improvements to such structures. New construction includes work determined to be substantial improvement.  [Referenced Standard ASCE 24-14]

 

RECREATIONAL VEHICLE means a vehicle which is:

(a) Built on a single chassis;

(b) 400 square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection;

(c)  Designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable by a light duty truck; and

(d) Designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.

[US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

REGULATORY FLOODWAY - see FLOODWAY.

 

SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREA. The land area subject to flood hazards and shown on a Flood Insurance Rate Map or other flood hazard map as Zone A, AE, A1-30, A99, AR, AO, AH, V, VO, VE or V1-30. [Massachusetts State Building Code, Chapter 2, Section 202]

 

START OF CONSTRUCTION. The date of issuance for new construction and substantial improvements to existing structures, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, placement or other improvement is within 180 days after the date of issuance. The actual start of construction means the first placement of permanent construction of a building (including a manufactured home) on a site, such as the pouring of a slab or footings, installation of pilings or construction of columns.

 

Permanent construction does not include land preparation (such as clearing, excavation, grading or filling), the installation of streets or walkways, excavation for a basement, footings, piers or foundations, the erection of temporary forms or the installation of accessory buildings such as garages or sheds not occupied as dwelling units or not part of the main building. For a substantial improvement, the actual “start of construction” means the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor or other structural part of a building, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the building. [Massachusetts State Building Code, Chapter 2, Section 202]

 

STRUCTURE means, for floodplain management purposes, a walled and roofed building, including a gas or liquid storage tank, that is principally above ground, as well as a manufactured home. [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

SUBSTANTIAL REPAIR OF A FOUNDATION.  When work to repair or replace a foundation results in the repair or replacement of a portion of the foundation with a perimeter along the base of the foundation that equals or exceeds 50% of the perimeter of the base of the foundation measured in linear feet, or repair or replacement of 50% of the piles, columns or piers of a pile, column or pier supported foundation, the building official shall determine it to be substantial repair of a foundation.   Applications determined by the building official to constitute substantial repair of a foundation shall require all existing portions of the entire building or structure to meet the requirements of 780 CMR. [As amended by MA in 9th Edition BC]

 

VARIANCE means a grant of relief by a community from the terms of a flood plain management regulation. [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

VIOLATION means the failure of a structure or other development to be fully compliant with the community's flood plain management regulations. A structure or other development without the elevation certificate, other certifications, or other evidence of compliance required in §60.3(b)(5), (c)(4), (c)(10), (d)(3), (e)(2), (e)(4), or (e)(5) is presumed to be in violation until such time as that documentation is provided. [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]”;

 

or act on anything relating thereto?   

(Inserted at the request of the Planning Board)

 

     COMMENT:  This Article proposes changes to the Floodplain Protection Overlay District provisions of the Zoning By-law in order to remain in compliance with federal regulations. Changes are proposed to the Zoning Map as well as the text of the Zoning By-law.  

 

The Floodplain Protection Overlay District was established in 1969 in response to the creation of the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) and allows property owners to obtain federally subsidized flood insurance.  Participation in the NFIP requires that communities regulate activities in flood hazard areas as shown on flood insurance rate maps (“FIRM”) prepared by FEMA.   Failure to adopt regulations meeting FEMA’s minimum standards can result in a community being removed from the program and property owners losing eligibility for flood insurance.

 

Section III-C of the Zoning By-law implements the floodplain protection program and has been periodically revised to keep pace with the current FIRM.  The most recent substantial revision occurred in 2012, and several minor revisions have been made since that time. FEMA now has completed a comprehensive reevaluation of flood hazards in Plymouth County, resulting in a new FIRM.   The new FIRM will become effective in Hingham on July 6, 2021.  This Article proposes to adopt the new FIRM in order to stay compliant with FEMA regulations.  

 

FEMA also has recently revised its regulations for the NFIP to mandate that communities adopt certain additional requirements. In order to help Massachusetts municipalities achieve compliance, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (“DCR”) Flood Hazard Management Program has developed a model floodplain By-law.   Thus, this Article further proposes to adopt the required provisions into the Zoning By-law using language from the DCR model by-law as a guide.  Specifically, the new provisions would: state that the boundaries of the Floodplain Protection Overlay District are defined by the 1%-chance base flood elevations on the FIRM; update the list of purposes for the overlay district; provide that the overlay district regulations take precedence over less restrictive conflicting local by-laws; include a warning that compliance with the overlay district regulations does not imply total flood protection; designate the Building Commissioner as the Town’s official floodplain administrator; impose requirements on the Town to notify state and federal agencies of any new data relating to base floodplain elevations; add provisions relating to variances from floodplain requirements; update permit procedures; and describe how to determine base flood elevation and flood rate information when data from FEMA is unavailable.  The amendment also would adopt various definitions that FEMA requires be included.

 

The updates to the map and changes to the text of Section III-C of the Zoning By-law are required for the Town to maintain eligibility in the NFIP.  If the Town does not adopt these changes, it could be removed from the program, thereby ending availability of federally subsidized flood insurance for Hingham residents.

 

Approval of this Article requires a two-thirds vote of Town Meeting.  

 

During the public hearing, the Planning Board modified the language as originally proposed to remove items not applicable to Hingham, to address the change in the zoning map, and for purposes of clarity. It then voted unanimously in favor of this Article. The Advisory Committee made several clarifying changes in the language of the Planning Board recommendation and voted unanimously to approve this Article.

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town amend the Zoning By-law of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 10, 1941, as heretofore amended as follows:

 

Item 1:  By replacing Section III-C, 1 in its entirety with the following:

 

“1. The Floodplain Protection Overlay District shall be shown on a map entitled “Zoning Map Part B Floodplain Protection Overlay District.”  The district includes all special flood hazard areas within the Town of Hingham at or below 10 feet above Mean Sea Level (MSL) as well as all special flood hazard areas designated as Zone A, AE, or VE on the Plymouth County Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the administration of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).   The exact boundaries of the District shall be defined by the 1%-chance base flood elevations (BFE) shown on the Plymouth County FIRM and further defined by Flood Insurance Studies.  The map panels of the Plymouth County FIRM that are wholly or partially within the Town of Hingham are panel numbers 25023C0016J, 25023C0017J, 25023C0018J, 25023C0019J, 25023C0038J, 25023C0081J, 25023C0082J, 25023C0083J, 25023C0084J, and 25023C0102J, dated July 17, 2012, and 25023C0091K, 25023C0092K, 25023C0101K, 25023C0103K, 25023C0104K, and 25023C0111K, dated July 6, 2021. The applicable FIRM and Flood Insurance Study (FIS) reports are incorporated herein by reference and are on file with the Town Clerk, Building Department, and Conservation Commission.  The Letters of Map Revision are on file with the Conservation Commission.

The Floodplain Protection Overlay District is established as an overlay district to all other districts for the following purposes:

 

a. to protect public health, safety and general welfare;

 

b. to protect human life and property from hazards of periodic flooding;  

 

c. to prevent the occurrence of public health emergencies resulting from water quality contamination and pollution due to flooding;

 

d. to preserve natural flood control characteristics and the flood storage capacity of the floodplain; 

 

e. to regulate development in floodplains in a manner that, at a minimum, meets the requirements of FEMA for participation in the NFIP;

 

f.  to avoid the loss of utility services which if damaged by flooding would disrupt or shut down the utility network and impact regions of the community beyond the site of flooding; and

 

g. to eliminate costs associated with the response and cleanup of flooding conditions.

 

All regulations in the Hingham Zoning By-Law applicable to such underlying districts shall remain in effect; except that, where the provisions of this Section III-C impose additional regulations, those additional regulations shall govern.  The floodplain management regulations found in this By-Law shall take precedence over any less restrictive conflicting local bylaws or regulations.  The degree of flood protection required by this By-law is considered reasonable but does not imply total flood protection.”

 

Item 2:  By amending Section III-C to insert the following at the end thereof:

“11.      General Provisions Governing Floodplain Protection Overlay District

a.    Designation of Floodplain Administrator.  The Town of Hingham hereby designates the position of Building Commissioner to be the official floodplain administrator for the Town. 

 

b.  Requirement to Submit New Technical Data.  If the Town of Hingham acquires data that changes the base flood elevation in the FEMA mapped Special Flood Hazard Areas, the Town will, within 6 months, notify FEMA of these changes by submitting the technical or scientific data that supports the change(s).  Notification shall be submitted to:

FEMA Region I Risk Analysis Branch Chief

99 High St., 6th floor, Boston, MA  02110

or other current address

 

And copy of notification to:

 

Massachusetts NFIP State Coordinator

MA Dept. of Conservation & Recreation, 251 Causeway Street, Boston, MA  02114

or other current address 

 

c.  Variances to Building Code Floodplain Standards. If the Commonwealth of Massachusetts issues variances to the flood-resistant standards as found in the State Building Code, the Town of Hingham will request from the State Building Code Appeals Board a written and/or audible copy of the portion of the hearing related to the variance, and will maintain this record on file with the Floodplain Administrator. The Town of Hingham shall also issue a letter to the property owner regarding potential impacts to the annual premiums for the flood insurance policy covering that property, in writing from the Floodplain Administrator that (i) the issuance of a variance to construct a structure below the base flood level will result in increased premium rates for flood insurance up to amounts as high as $25 for $100 of insurance coverage and (ii) such construction below the base flood level increases risks to life and property. Such notification shall be maintained with the record of all variance actions for the referenced development in the floodplain protection overlay district.

 

d.  Variances to Zoning By-Law Related to Compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  A variance from this By-law must meet the requirements set out by State law, provided, however, that such variance may only be granted if the Board of Appeals also further finds: 1) good and sufficient cause and exceptional non-financial hardship exist; 2) the variance will not result in additional threats to public safety, extraordinary public expense, or fraud or victimization of the public; and 3) the variance is the minimum action necessary to afford relief.

 

e.  Permits Required for All Proposed Development in the Floodplain Protection Overlay District.  The Town of Hingham requires certain permits for all proposed construction or other development in the floodplain protection overlay district, including new construction or changes to existing buildings, placement of manufactured homes, placement of agricultural facilities, fences, sheds, storage facilities or drilling, mining, paving, and any other development that might increase flooding or adversely impact flood risks to other properties.  Those permits may include the special permit required under this By-law, an order of conditions under the Hingham Wetland Regulations, and/or such other permits as may be required from time to time under any other local bylaw or regulation.

 

f.   Permit Checklist. The permit review process for work in the floodplain protection overlay district includes the use of a checklist of all local, state and federal permits that will be necessary in order to carry out the proposed development in the floodplain protection overlay district in the form maintained by the Floodplain Administrator.  The applicant must acquire all necessary permits and, prior to start of construction on the property, must submit the completed checklist to the Floodplain Administrator demonstrating that all necessary permits have been acquired.

 

g.  Unnumbered A Zones.  In A Zones, in the absence of FEMA BFE data and floodway data, the Building Commissioner will obtain, review, and reasonably utilize base flood elevation and floodway data available from a Federal, State, or other source as criteria for requiring new construction, substantial improvements, or other development in Zone A as the basis for elevating residential structures to or above base flood level, for floodproofing or elevating nonresidential structures to or above base flood level, and for prohibiting encroachments in floodways.  The Building Commissioner can require that the applicant pay for resources (including a base flood elevation certificate) to determine the base flood elevation when a development is being proposed.

 

12.   Definitions: In accordance with NFIP requirements, for the purposes of this
 Section III-C, the following terms shall have the meaning set forth herein.

 

DEVELOPMENT means any man-made change to improved or unimproved real estate, including but not limited to buildings or other structures, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, excavation or drilling operations, or storage of equipment or materials. [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

FLOODWAY. The channel of the river, creek, or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than a designated height. [Massachusetts State Building Code, Chapter 2, Section 202]

 

FUNCTIONALLY DEPENDENT USE means a use which cannot perform its intended purpose unless it is located or carried out in close proximity to water. The term includes only docking facilities, port facilities that are necessary for the loading and unloading of cargo or passengers, and ship building and ship repair facilities, but does not include long-term storage or related manufacturing facilities. [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59] Also [Referenced Standard ASCE 24-14]

HIGHEST ADJACENT GRADE means the highest natural elevation of the ground surface prior to construction next to the proposed walls of a structure. [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

HISTORIC STRUCTURE means any structure that is:

(a) Listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places (a listing maintained by the Department of Interior) or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as meeting the requirements for individual listing on the National Register;

(b) Certified or preliminarily determined by the Secretary of the Interior as contributing to the historical significance of a registered historic district or a district preliminarily determined by the Secretary to qualify as a registered historic district;

(c) Individually listed on a state inventory of historic places in states with historic preservation programs which have been approved by the Secretary of the Interior; or

(d) Individually listed on a local inventory of historic places in communities with historic preservation programs that have been certified either:

(1) By an approved state program as determined by the Secretary of the Interior or

(2) Directly by the Secretary of the Interior in states without approved programs.

[US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

NEW CONSTRUCTION.  Structures for which the start of construction commenced on or after the effective date of the first floodplain management code, regulation, ordinance, or standard adopted by the authority having jurisdiction, including any subsequent improvements to such structures.  New construction includes work determined to be substantial improvement. [Referenced Standard ASCE 24-14]

 

RECREATIONAL VEHICLE means a vehicle which is:

(a)   Built on a single chassis;

(b)  400 square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection;

(c) Designed to be self-propelled or permanently towable by a light duty truck; and

(d) Designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.

[US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

REGULATORY FLOODWAY- see FLOODWAY.

 

SPECIAL FLOOD HAZARD AREA. The land area subject to flood hazards and shown on a Flood Insurance Rate Map or other flood hazard map as Zone A, AE, A1-30, A99, AR, AO, AH, V, VO, VE or V1-30.  [Massachusetts State Building Code, Chapter 2, Section 202]

 

START OF CONSTRUCTION.  The date of issuance for new construction and substantial improvements to existing structures, provided the actual start of construction, repair, reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, placement, or other improvement is within 180 days after the date of issuance.  The actual start of construction means the first placement of permanent construction of a building (including a manufactured home) on a site, such as the pouring of a slab or footings, installation of pilings, or construction of columns.

 

Permanent construction does not include land preparation (such as clearing, excavation, grading, or filling), the installation of streets or walkways, excavation for a basement, footings, piers or foundations, the erection of temporary forms or the installation of accessory buildings such as garages or sheds not occupied as dwelling units or not part of the main building. For a substantial improvement, the actual “start of construction” means the first alteration of any wall, ceiling, floor, or other structural part of a building, whether or not that alteration affects the external dimensions of the building.  [Massachusetts State Building Code, Chapter 2, Section 202]

 

STRUCTURE means, for floodplain management purposes, a walled and roofed building, including a gas or liquid storage tank, that is principally above ground, as well as a manufactured home.  [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

SUBSTANTIAL REPAIR OF A FOUNDATION.  When work to repair or replace a foundation results in the repair or replacement of a portion of the foundation with a perimeter along the base of the foundation that equals or exceeds 50% of the perimeter of the base of the foundation measured in linear feet, or repair or replacement of 50% of the piles, columns, or piers of a pile, column or pier supported foundation, the building official shall determine it to be substantial repair of a foundation.  Applications determined by the building official to constitute substantial repair of a foundation shall require all existing portions of the entire building or structure to meet the requirements of 780 CMR.  [As amended by MA in 9th Edition State Building Code, and as it may be later amended]

 

VARIANCE means a grant of relief by a community from the terms of a flood plain management regulation.  [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]

 

VIOLATION means the failure of a structure or other development to be fully compliant with the community's flood plain management regulations.  A structure or other development without the elevation certificate, other certifications, or other evidence of compliance required in US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 60, §60.3(b)(5), (c)(4), (c)(10), (d)(3), (e)(2), (e)(4), or (e)(5) is presumed to be in violation until such time as that documentation is provided.  [US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 44, Part 59]”

 

Item 3:  By replacing the current map "Zoning Part B: Floodplain Protection Overlay District" with an updated map with the same title that (1) shows the updated floodplain information on the following panels: 25023C0091K, 25023C0092K, 25023C0101K, 25023C0103K, 25023C0104K, and 25023C0111K, (2) replaces the date with May 2021, and (3) in the footnote, replaces the phrase “Flood zone designations are based on 2012 Flood Insurance Rate Maps”, with the phrase “Flood zone designations are based on 2012 and 2021 Flood Insurance Rate Maps”.

 

     ARTICLE 27:  Will the Town amend the Zoning By-law of the Town of Hingham, adopted March 10, 1941, as heretofore amended as follows:

 

V-K    Accessory Dwelling Units

 

  1. Purpose

Consistent with the Master Plan Goals and 

Objectives adopted March 20, 2017, the purpose of permitting accessory dwelling units in connection with single-family dwellings is to:

 

  1. Provide accessory dwelling units without adding to the number of buildings in the Town or substantially altering the appearance of the dwelling and for the purpose of enabling owners of single-family dwellings, including those with existing, separate, detached accessory structures situated on the same lot, to share space and the burdens of homeownership with family members (as defined.in this Section V-K) while also protecting the stability, property values and residential character of the surrounding neighborhood.
  2. Provide housing units for family members with diverse housing needs including, without limitation, family members with mental and physical disabilities.
  3. Enable the Town to monitor accessary dwelling unit construction for code compliance.

 

  1. Definitions

 

  1. An "accessory dwelling unit" is a second self-contained dwelling unit either (i) within a single- family dwelling (an "attached accessory dwelling unit''), or (ii) within an existing, separate, detached structure situated on the same lot as the principal dwelling (a "detached accessory dwelling unit''), which second dwelling unit is subordinate in size to the principal dwelling and otherwise complies with the provisions of this Section V-K.
  2. For the purposes of this Section V-K, a "family member" shall be a person related to the owner by blood, adoption or marriage, and may also include domestic help and caregivers.
  3. A "principal dwelling" for the purposes of this Section V-K is a single-family dwelling exclusive of the area that constitutes the accessory dwelling unit.
  4. A single-family dwelling with an accessory dwelling unit shall not be deemed to be a two-family dwelling.

 

  1. Eligibility Requirements

 

The Board of Appeals may only issue a Special 

Permit Al for an accessory dwelling unit that meets the following minimum eligibility requirements:

 

  1. As of the date that the application for a special permit is filed with the Board of Appeals, the total number of accessory dwelling units in the Town shall not exceed two and one-half percent (2.5%) of the total single-family dwelling units in the Town (the "ADU cap''). The ADU cap shall be determined by a fraction represented as follows: the numerator shall be the total number of accessory dwelling units allowed by special permit pursuant to this Section V-K plus the number of accessory dwelling unit permit applications pending approval before the Board of Appeals and the denominator shall be the total number of single-family dwelling units existing in the Town as classified in the Hingham assessors' records.
  2.  The applicant shall, at the time application is made for the special permit, be the owner of the lot and single-family dwelling thereon forin which the accessory dwelling unit is proposed and must certify in such application that (i) the owner currently occupies the single-family dwelling or will occupy the principal dwelling or accessory dwelling unit as his or her primary residence immediately upon issuance of the special permit and (ii) that the other unit shall be occupied by a family member.
  3.  The area of the lot on which the existing single-family dwelling is located shall not be less than five thousand (5,000) square feet or, in the case of new construction (which shall be limited to attached accessory dwelling units), shall comply with the applicable minimum lot size for the single-family zoning district in which the single­ family dwelling is proposed.
  4.  The application must be accompanied by written confirmation from either (i) the Board of Health that the requirements of the Massachusetts Title 5 septic system regulations and the Hingham Board of Health Supplemental Rules and Regulations for septic systems have been or can be met or (ii) the Sewer Department that there exists available capacity in the applicable sewer district, in either case, to support the total number of bedrooms proposed for the lot inclusive of the accessory dwelling unit.
  5.  Only one accessory dwelling unit shall be permitted per lot, either as an attached accessory dwelling unit within a single-family dwelling or as a detached accessory dwelling unit in an existing, separate. detached structure,and per lot so that the total number of dwelling units per lot shall not exceed two.
    1.  In Residence District D and in Business Districts A and B accessory dwelling units are only permitted in preexisting nonconforming single-family dwellings. 

 

  1. Dimensional and Design Requirements

 

The Board of Appeals may only issue a Special Permit Al for an accessory dwelling unit that meets the following dimensional and design requirements:

 

  1. The architectural character of a detached single-family dwelling shall be maintained.
  2. All stairways accessing an accessory dwelling unit above the ground floor of a   single-family dwelling or otherwise in an existing separate detached structure shall be enclosed within the exterior walls of the single-family dwelling or existing, separate, detached structure.
  3. The maximum area of an accessory dwelling shall be the lesser of 750 square feet or 350% of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling. For this calculation, the gross floor area shall be as defined in Section VI of this By-law.
  4.  An accessory dwelling unit shall not be created by any extension of a non-conforming building dimension, including the front, side or rear yard setback.
  5. Any new entrance for anfhe attached accessory dwelling unit or principal

      dwelling shall be located to the side or rear of the single-family dwelling.

  1.  Water and sewer utilities serving the accessory dwelling unit shall not be metered separately from the principal dwelling except to the extent required or if such utilities serving a detached accessory dwelling unit have previously been separately metered: provided, however, that any separately metered utilities shall be in the name of the owner of the principal dwelling.   

g)   Additional or modified landscaping, fences or other buffers may be required to protect abutting properties from potential negative visual or auditory impacts of the accessory dwelling unit.

h)   The parking requirement for an accessory dwelling unit is one space per bedroom in addition to the minimum required parking spaces for a single-family dwelling.

i)    An accessory dwelling unit may not have more than two (2) bedrooms.

 

  1.  General Conditions

 

Any special permit issued pursuant to this Section 

V-K shall be subject to, and shall incorporate the following conditions:

  1. The owner of the single-family dwelling shall occupy either the principal dwelling or the accessory dwelling unit as the owner's primary residence. Temporary absences of the owner for a period of not more than nine months in the aggregate in any twelve month period and active military service of the owner for any length of time shall not be deemed a violation of this requirement provided that the dwelling units may only be occupied by family members of the owner during the owner's absence.
  2. The owner shall recertify annually, by submission of a notarized letter to the Building Commissioner that the owner will continue to occupy either the primary dwelling or the accessory dwelling unit as the owner's primary residence, except for a bona fide temporary absence as provided above in subsection 5.a.
  3. Upon the sale or other conveyance or transfer of a single-family dwelling which has been issued a permit for an accessory dwelling unit, if the new owner wishes to maintain the special permit for the accessory dwelling unit use, such new owner must, within thirty (30) days of such transfer, submit a notarized letter to the Building Commissioner certifying that the new owner will occupy one of the dwelling units as the new owner’s primary residence and comply with the other conditions of the accessory dwelling unit use.
  4. Neither the principal dwelling nor the accessory dwelling unit may be sold or otherwise conveyed or transferred separately from the other.

.

or act anything related thereto?

(Inserted at the request of registered voters Raymond C. Estes and others – Citizens Petition)

 

     COMMENT:   This is a Citizens Petition.  The intent of this Article is to modify the Zoning By-law, Section V-K, entitled Accessory Dwelling Units, to allow detached as well as attached accessory dwelling units (“ADUs”).

 

The current By-law permits only an accessory dwelling unit that is attached to a principal dwelling.  It defines an accessory dwelling unit as “a second self-contained dwelling unit within a single-family dwelling which second dwelling unit is subordinate in size to the principal dwelling and otherwise complies with the provisions of this Section V-K.”  The By-law specifies that the applicant for a special permit for an attached accessory dwelling unit must certify that the applicant is the owner of the principal dwelling unit; that it is the applicant’s primary residence; and that the attached accessory dwelling unit will be occupied by family members.

 

The proposed modification would permit an accessory dwelling unit in a separate detached structure on the same lot as a principal dwelling.  The major change is that the amendment would permit two dwelling unit structures on one lot.   Other significant changes include that the amendment would (1) increase the minimum square footage of an allowed accessory dwelling unit (ADU) from 30% to 35% of the square footage of the principal dwelling unit or 750 square feet, whichever is less; (2) allow a new front entrance to a detached ADU while retaining the restriction that an attached ADU could only add an entrance on the rear or side of the attached ADU; and (3) allow separate water and sewer utilities metering for a detached ADU.

 

Section V-K allowing attached accessory dwelling units was added in 2018.  Before the adoption of the attached ADU amendment to the Zoning By-law, a Study Committee, formed by the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board, did extensive research and review of the issues associated with attached and detached ADUs.  No By-law change resulted directly from that Study Committee’s work.  Subsequently, however, after a further review of the Study Committee’s work and further investigation, the Planning Board proposed an amendment permitting attached ADUs, but not detached ADUs.  Among the reasons cited by the Planning Board for limiting its proposal to attached ADUs was its conclusion (which had also been the conclusion of the Study Committee) that the impacts of detached ADUs are significantly greater on residential neighborhoods than attached ADUs and need to be approached more cautiously.  The Planning Board concluded that giving the Town time to observe the impacts of attached ADUs would provide more insight into the impacts of detached ADUs.   Since the ADU By-law became effective in 2018, 13 ADUs have been permitted in Hingham. 

 

As the existing ADU By-law states, accessory dwelling units enable owners of single-family dwellings to share space and the burdens of homeownership with family members.  They also provide housing units for family members with diverse housing needs including, without limitation, family members with mental and physical disabilities.  A By-law permitting ADUs enhances the Town’s ability to monitor ADU construction for code compliance.

 

The Planning Board conducted five public hearings on the Article.  Each of these hearings was attended by the principal proponent of the Citizens Petition, Raymond C. Estes.  Mr. Estes worked closely with the Planning Board, as did other citizens.  They provided further information as requested by the Board, including a review of the by-laws of benchmark towns, and answered all questions forthrightly.  Mr. Estes was transparent as to his motivation and candidly acknowledged that the proposed modifications to the existing By-law are necessary to accommodate the possibly unique circumstances of his own situation. The Board publicly acknowledged the efforts of Mr. Estes and thanked him for his work and candor.  But it also recognized that a zoning change having Town-wide impact should not be crafted based solely on facts that are intended to benefit a particular parcel without consideration of possibly broader impacts and necessary mitigation.

 

The Planning Board was unanimous in the view that allowing detached ADUs in Hingham has merit and should be considered, but more study, discussion and input is required.  Illustrative of the questions to be considered are those raised by Board members during the Board’s several hearings, including the following:

 

(1) Should detached ADUs be permitted in structures which do not comply with existing zoning setbacks?  Buildings within zoning setbacks are located very close to abutting neighbors.  Given that activities, lights, and sounds within a dwelling are generally more intensive than those in structures used for accessory purposes (e.g. a garage, home office), there may be greater impacts on abutters from a detached ADU than an attached ADU.

(2) Should detached ADUs be permitted within an entire detached structure or in only a portion of the detached structure?   For example, the most common detached ADU found in most communities is an ADU above an existing garage.  Other examples might be conversion of a pool house (or a portion thereof) to an ADU.  In addition, many older properties in Hingham have barns that may be converted.   Allowing a detached ADU to occupy an entire detached structure (subject to the square footage limitation) would create an entirely separate second home on the property.  The pros and cons of such a change requires further review.

(3) Should detached ADUs be permitted in newly constructed detached structures and/or if a homeowner elects to turn its existing detached structure (e.g., garage) into an ADU, should that homeowner be permitted to then build another detached structure for a garage?   The potential for the construction of multiple detached accessory structures on the property may cause overbuilding, particularly on smaller lots.  The potential impact across residential zoning districts should be explored.

(4) Are the existing requirements of Section V-K, and enforcement mechanisms with the Zoning By-law generally, sufficient to ensure substantial compliance by property owners of the “family member” restriction on the occupancy of detached ADUs?  The Board members expressed concern that enforcement will fall to abutters who, if adversely affected, will have to report on a neighbor, thereby placing an unfair burden on abutters.

 

The Board further noted that the current ADU By-law has only been in effect for a short time, including, a year of lockdowns resulting from the pandemic.  Thus, the Board has had only a very limited opportunity to observe the impacts of allowing attached ADUs.  Moreover, there has not been significant public interest in this Article.  There may be more interest in the community, particularly among groups who may benefit from a further amendment.  The Board observed that a principal benefit of the original ADU By-law is to allow families to provide housing for other family members, particularly those with special housing needs.  The Planning Board strongly endorsed a broader discussion that provides for input from representatives of the subgroups who may benefit most directly from expanding the availability of ADUs.

 

The Advisory Committee agrees with the premises of the existing ADU By-law that accessory dwelling units may enable owners of single-family dwellings to share space and the burdens of homeownership with family members; that they may provide housing units for family members with diverse housing needs including, without limitation, family members with mental and physical disabilities; and that a permitting process enhances the Town’s ability to monitor ADU construction for code compliance.   The Advisory Committee also agrees with the reasoning of the Planning Board that detached ADUs raise issues and concerns different from those of attached ADUs and may have more significant impacts on neighbors and neighborhoods.   Accordingly, the Advisory Committee recommends that a Study Committee as described by the Planning Board should be established.

 

The Advisory Committee voted unanimously in support of the Recommended Motion.

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town establish a committee, to be known as the ADU Study Committee, for the purpose of reviewing the merits of this Warrant Article and/or the merits of amending the provisions of the Hingham Zoning Bylaw, Section V-K, or other applicable provisions of the Zoning By-law, to allow detached accessory dwelling units and/or to amend any other provisions of the Zoning By-law reasonably related to the creation of accessory dwelling units (either attached or detached), and to submit a written report to the Planning Board setting forth whether the Committee recommends in favor of any such amendment(s) and the reasons for such recommendations.  If any amendments are recommended, the Committee shall include in its report its proposed changes.  The Committee shall consist of seven members as follows: one member of the Planning Board (or its designee) who shall be the Chair of the Committee, one member of the Council on Aging (or its designee), one member of the Commission on Disabilities (or its designee), one member of the Zoning Board of Appeals (or its designee), one member of the Historic Districts Commission (or its designee), one resident of the Town appointed by the Board of Selectmen, and one resident of the Town appointed by the Moderator who shall not be members of the foregoing Boards.  The Committee shall endeavor to issue its report to the Planning Board within one year of its formation, but in no event later than October 1, 2022.  Upon receipt of such report, the Planning Board shall hold at least one public meeting in advance of the December 1 deadline for submission of zoning amendments as set forth in Article 2, Section 7 of the Hingham General By-laws, to determine if the Planning Board will elect to submit, or to support the submission of, one or more zoning amendments based on the report of the Committee. 

 

     ARTICLE 28:  Will the Town authorize, but not require, the Board of Selectmen to accept grants of easements for streets, water, drainage, sewer and utility purposes or any public purpose on terms and conditions the Board deems in the best interest of the Town, or act on anything relating thereto? 

(Inserted by the Board of Selectmen)

 

     COMMENT: The Town benefits from many easements over private property throughout Hingham.   From time to time, the Town, particularly its Department of Public Works, requires new easements in order to complete roadway and other public works projects.  At times, the Town receives requests from private property owners to relocate easements held by the Town on their property.  Under Massachusetts law, Town Meeting approval is required for the Board of Selectmen to accept such easements.  This Article would allow the Board of Selectmen to accept such easements during the coming year and thus avoid potentially expensive delays and inconvenience to projects that benefit the Town. This Article is intended solely to cover easements voluntarily granted to the Town and would not allow the Board of Selectmen to accept easements that require funds to acquire them.  Furthermore, the authority conferred by this Article is not unlimited in time; it is limited to the coming year.  If continuing authority is required, the next Annual Town Meeting may be asked to approve it. 

 

The Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in support of this Article.

 

     RECOMMENDED:  That the Town authorize, but not require, for a period through the end of Fiscal Year 2022, the Board of Selectmen to accept grants of easements for purposes of streets, sidewalks, or pedestrian walkways, or water, drainage, sewage, or utility facilities on terms or conditions that the Board deems in the best interests of the Town.