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Hingham country club neighbors sue to stop new pool project

Three couples file Land Court lawsuit appealing Planning Board’s approval of a new $8 million complex.

The latest rendering of the pool planned at the town-owned South Shore Country Club.Rendering by architect Chris Rotti - RMD Collaborative

Three couples are suing to stop construction of an $8 million community pool complex at the town-owned South Shore Country Club that was slated to open next summer.

In the suit, the neighbors claim the project has insufficient parking, encroaches on easement property, and will affect their privacy and security. The suit also claims that the Hingham Planning Board ignored their concerns at public meetings.

A fourth couple had originally been part of the lawsuit, but removed themselves.

Town Administrator Thomas Mayo said the town would not comment because the matter is in litigation.

Hingham has had a public pool since it bought the country club in 1988, but it closed in 2019 for safety reasons. Officials have been working to replace the pool since 2017.

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In April 2022, Hingham’s Town Meeting voted 317 to 95 to exceed Proposition 2½ borrowing limits to pay for the project — a decision overwhelmingly endorsed in a May ballot question with a vote of 2,525 to 857. Officials estimate the owner of an average single-family home, valued at about $925,000, would pay an additional $46 a year in taxes over the 20-year life of the loan.

The Planning Board approved the site plan and a special permit for the project on Aug. 19. The neighbors appealed that decision in state Land Court on Sept. 7. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 28.

The new pool is designed to accommodate a detachable bubble so it could eventually be used in all seasons, but the Planning Board approval does not include the bubble. It does include a bathhouse, splash pad, a pool with lap lanes, and a “zero-entry” pool with a sloping entrance, making it accessible without ladders or stairs.

The pool would be built at the site of current tennis courts, which are closer to the homes of the four couples who filed the lawsuit than the closed pool. The plaintiffs in the suit — Barry and Heidi Invernizzi, Brendan and Amanda Galgay, and Christopher and Stephanie Jones — live adjacent to the South Shore Country Club on South Street and Del Prete Drive.

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South Shore Country Club dates back to the 1920s as a golf course — opening three holes at a time — and now has an 18-hole course. The pool was built in the 1950s and upgraded in the 1980s.

The 150-plus acres also house a bowling alley, restaurant, banquet space, driving range, tennis courts, and golf pro shop.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com.