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Zoning Relief and Historic Preservation-Related Applications Have Moved to Citizenserve

We are pleased to announce that we have moved Zoning Relief and Historic Preservation-Related Applications to Citizenserve. offering enhanced convenience and streamlined processing.

Learn more

NEW: Planning, Zoning, & Historic Applications

For Planning and Zoning Applications

  • Transition from Smartsheet: New projects will no longer utilize the Smartsheet-based submission process. All new submissions will be made through Citizenserve. 
  • In-Progress Applications: If you have already initiated the submission process using Smartsheet, you may complete your ZBA or Planning Board review process on the same platform. 
  • Fees: All zoning-relief fees will now be assessed and paid through Citizenserve. 
  • Impacted Projects: The transition to Citizenserve affects Special Permits, Site Plan Approval, Hardship Variances, and Plan Revisions. 

For Historic Preservation Applications

  • Email and Hard Copy Submissions Phased Out: As of July 5, 2023, new applications will need to be submitted through Citizenserve. Submissions via email or hard copy will no longer be accepted. 
  • In-Progress Applications: If you have already initiated your application process via email or hard copy, you may complete the HPC review process in the same manner. 
  • Submittal Requirements & Instructions: View the submittal requirements and instructions for historic preservation applications at www.somervillema.gov/HPCSubmittalRequirements.
  • Fees: Legal ad fees will now be assessed and paid through Citizenserve. 
  • Impacted Applications/Processes: This transition affects Demolitions of buildings over 75 years old, Alterations to Local Historic District properties, and the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) process. 

General Information

  • New Users: If you are using Citizenserve for the first time, you will need to create an account. This is a one-time setup process. 
  • Existing Users: If you have an existing Citizenserve account, you may continue using your current login credentials for Zoning relief and Historic Preservation project submissions. 
  • Communication: All communications between an applicant and their assigned PPZ Staff Planner regarding Zoning relief or Historic Preservation projects will occur within Citizenserve using the software's new messaging function. 
  • Adaptation Period: Please note that as we transition to this new tool, PPZ Staff are also adapting. We appreciate your patience during this period. 
  • Centralization: The transition to Citizenserve is aimed at centralizing all Zoning relief and Historic Preservation project review documents in one online platform for increased efficiency and ease of access. 

We thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we transition to this new platform. For any queries or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Applying Online

The City of Somerville’s CitizenServe portal allows you to apply for a wide range of permits and licenses online. You will have to register the first time you apply for a permit. 

Follow these instructions to apply for your permit of license: 
 

1. On the CitizenServe portal, click on “Services” in the menu at the top of the page: 

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Screenshot of Citizenserve Portal, with the Services dropdown menu highlighted. The menu displays options for permitting, licensing, and constituent services.

 

2. From the drop-down menu, choose whether you want to apply for a permit or a license: 

 

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Screenshot of Citizenserve Portal, with the Services dropdown menu highlighted. The menu displays options for permitting, licensing, and constituent services.

3. On the next pages, you can register or log into your account and find information on the whether you need a permit or license, the information you will need to gather, and link to apply. 

 

Home and Property Permits

You can research and apply for home and property permits online using the City of Somerville’s CitizenServe portal. Among the permits you may need for projects on your home and property: 

  • Alterations to Local Historic Districts
  • Building Permits 
  • Demolition Permits 
  • Driveway/Curb Cut Permits 
  • Occupancy Licenses 
  • Tree Removal Permits and Waivers
  • Zoning Relief (Special Permits, Site Plan Approval, Hardship Variances, and Plan Revisions)
  • and more 

If you are unable to apply online, visit the Inspectional Services Division in person at 1 Franey Road. 
 

Health License & Permits

You can research and apply for health licenses and permits online using the City of Somerville’s CitizenServe portal. Among the permits you may need: 

  • Dumpster Licenses 
  • Dumpster Hauler Licenses 
  • Food Establishment Licenses 
  • Pool Licenses 
  • Body Art Licenses 
  • Electrical Licenses 
  • Farmers Market Licenses 
  • Occupancy Licenses 
  • Tanning Licenses 
  • Temporary Food Permit Licenses 
  • and more 

If you are unable to apply online, visit the Inspectional Services Division in person at 1 Franey Road. 

 

Alcohol & Restaurant Licenses

You can research and apply for alcohol and restaurant licenses online using the City of Somerville’s CitizenServe portal. Among the permits you may need for projects on your home and property: 

  • Restaurants (with alcohol) 
  • Common Victualers (restaurants without alcohol) 
  • Private Clubs 
  • Farmer Pourers (breweries, distilleries, wineries) 
  • Inns 
  • Educational Institutions 
  • Package Stores 
  • Entertainment (without on-premise food service) 
  • ...and Amendments to these licenses, and 
  • Special Alcohol Licenses 
  • Special Farmer Wineries at Farmers Markets 
  • and more 

If you are unable to apply online, visit the Licensing Commission in person in City Hall at 93 Highland Ave. 

Programs & Initiatives

In 2023, the City created the Digital Bridge Initiative (DBI). The goal of the DBI is to support existing programming and to create new initiatives.
Join us to celebrate Somerville’s open spaces, engage with the City outside of formal meetings, and of course – enjoy some pizza.

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