About the Zoning Board of Appeals

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) as a quasi-judicial body charged under the provisions of Chapter 40A of the Massachusetts General Laws. The ZBA is the Special Permit Granting Authority for:

  • Variances
  • Special Permit Applications, including Special Permits with Design Review and Special Permits with Site Plan Review
  • Appeals by aggrieved parties of administrative or enforcement decisions
  • Comprehensive Permit Petitions (MGL Chapter 40B)

 

  • Notes for Applicants

  • Board Members

  • Reports & Decisions

Development Review Standards:

  • Please be advised that, per the standards set out in Article 15 of the Somerville Zoning Ordinance, a development review application is not complete until all required community and Design Review meetings have been held, all necessary information has been submitted, and all fees have been paid. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed, will not be publicly noticed, and will not be scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff will work with applicants to discuss meeting dates and review application materials.
  • Applications for large projects may require a longer review period and evaluation by multiple City departments before being deemed complete and scheduled for a public hearing.
  • Planning staff reserves the right to ask for additional information or to change meeting dates.
  • The list of anticipated public meeting dates for this Board can be found here.

Orsola Susan Fontano, Chair

Orsola Susan Fontano is a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and also volunteers with the Elections Department, the Council of Aging, and the Art's Council. Some of her past affiliations include the Historic Preservation Commission, member of the award-winning Somerville All-American City delegation, and founding president of East Somerville Main Streets. She is self-employed, operating Up, Up & Away balloons since 1981 and managing her sister business Nefertiti Hair Salon since 1977.

Josh Safdie, Clerk

Josh Safdie, AIA, NCARB, is a Principal at KMA, an architecture and consulting practice. He serves as the co-chair of the Access Committee for the Boston Society of Architects and has received awards from the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board and the Boston Preservation Alliance for projects merging preservation and accessibility. He is also an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a contributor to Architecture Boston magazine.

Elaine Severino

Elaine Severino is a former educator and small business owner. She spent 5 years serving on the Zoning Task Force Committee that rewrote the previous Somerville Zoning laws and has served in the Zoning Board of Appeals for over 15 years. She is also a member of the Somerville Garden Club and dedicated to helping create better green spaces in Somerville.

Anne Brockelman

Anne Brockelman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C is an architect with two decades of experience in the design profession. She is an Associate Principal and Director of Sustainable Design at Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architects (PDR), a full-service architectural firm specializing in cultural and institutional projects, with a focus on higher education. Her diverse experience includes all project phases from planning, programming through construction, and various project types such as campus and facilities master plans, libraries, and academic buildings. Ms. Brockelman graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Art History and Studio Art, and holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.

Katherine Garavalgia, Alternate

 

Reports and Decisions

PLEASE NOTE: Applications made before April 15, 2011 are not included in this listing and can be found by clicking here.

Street Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated datesort ascending
Cherry St 21 ZBA#2016-25-R1-11/20 Nov 18, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon May 2017 Decision
PDF icon Cherry St 21 - Final Combined Plan Sets for May 17 2017 ZBA hearing
PDF icon As-Built Survey
PDF icon Amended Plans
PDF icon As-Built Elevations
PDF icon Staff Memo 12/17/2020 - 9:59am
Elm St 54 DRA 2020-0325 Nov 18, 2020 PDF icon Staff Memo 12/17/2020 - 9:58am
Aldersey St 9-11 ZBA 2003-25 Dec 16, 2020 PDF icon Remand Plan Set 12/11/2020 - 11:06pm
North St 200 ZBA 2017-125-R1-10/20 Nov 04, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon 2018 ZBA Approval
PDF icon Narrative & Plans
PDF icon Staff Memo 12/01/2020 - 9:30am
Grand Union Blvd (Block 5B) 455 PB2017-05-R2-09/20 Oct 15, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Appendix
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Staff Memo 10/29/2020 - 5:49pm
Somerville Avenue 337 PB 2016-09-R1-0317 Aug 09, 2017 PDF icon Decision 10/29/2020 - 10:57am
Clifton Street 9 CZC20-000043 Nov 04, 2020 PDF icon Development Narrative
PDF icon Plat Plan
PDF icon Staff Memo 10/23/2020 - 5:24pm
Clarendon Hill 00 40B#2020-0001 Jun 10, 2020 PDF icon Decision
PDF icon Decision (with Clerk Stamp)
Package icon Complete Packet - September 16 PDF icon P&Z 40B Overview (20.06.03)
PDF icon Staff Report (09.16.20)
PDF icon Sept 30 Draft Conditions
10/20/2020 - 3:35pm
Somerville Ave 453 ZBA #2019-114-R1 12/19 Mar 11, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon April 8 Drawings
PDF icon April 30 Drawings
PDF icon June 10 Drawings
PDF icon March 4 Staff Report
PDF icon Views
PDF icon April 9 Staff Report
PDF icon May 6 Staff Report
PDF icon June 10 Staff Report
10/07/2020 - 9:59am
St James Ave 34 ZBA2013-39-R1-10/2020 Oct 14, 2020 PDF icon St James Ave 34 - Narrative.pdf
PDF icon St James Ave 34 - Plans.pdf
PDF icon Staff Memo 10/06/2020 - 11:12am
Medford St 374a DRA#2020-0134 Aug 19, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Memo 09/09/2020 - 7:04pm
Prescott Street 57 ZBA 2018-150 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Corrected Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-17-18
PDF icon Plan Set 12-06-18
PDF icon Staff Report 09/02/2020 - 9:39am
Somerville Ave 365-369 DRA2020-0125 Jun 25, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Memo 08/28/2020 - 10:00am
South St 111-153 DRA2020-0272 Aug 06, 2020 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Memo 08/03/2020 - 4:28pm
Highland Ave 378 DRA2020-0039 May 07, 2020 PDF icon Use Special Permit Decision
PDF icon Minor Site Plan Approval Decision
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Trip Generation Memo
PDF icon Neighborhood Meeting #1
PDF icon Staff Memo
07/29/2020 - 12:51pm

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