Feb. 13, 2020 by Carol Britton Meyer
Last December Peter Dennigan, the owner of the renovated 1873 single-family residence at 1142 Main St., went before the planning board with enthusiasm as the first step in the review process after submitting an application to the town to open a Bed & Breakfast establishment in part of the dwelling.
But instead, due to an unexpected fire code issue, Dennigan recently listed the 4,000-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom house as a furnished rental property for $7,500 a month. Here's why.
In a recent letter to the planning board and Director of Community Planning Mary Savage-Dunham, Dennigan withdrew the proposal, stating that "after consulting with the Hingham fire marshal and the state fire marshal's office with respect to fire codes, it appears that it would be necessary to install a sprinkler system covering the entire home to meet [currently updated] state fire code requirements to operate a Bed & Breakfast."
Installing such a system would require a significant investment of up to $20,000 to retrofit the entire residence for what he said would essentially be a two-bedroom guesthouse/B&B.
"Because doing so would be cost-prohibitive, there was no point in moving forward with the application," Dennigan told the Hingham Anchor.
He also stated in his letter that he admires the town's desire "to allow for the operation of B&B premises to encourage better utilization of homes in residential- and business-zoned districts, 'which because of their size are costly/difficult to maintain as private residences and to provide an economic incentive to maintain and to rehabilitate older, larger residences,'" according to the town by-law.
In Dennigan's opinion his house conforms to all of the town's "well-intended use criteria" to establish a B&B. "It's difficult to see how any application for a B&B would be successful under these fire code requirements, without considerable retrofit expense or alternatively, a home that is purpose-built."
While disappointed at the outcome, Dennigan said he's "fine with it. It is what it is. I went before the planning board and spent quite a bit of time on the proposal, but at the end of the day, it was not possible."