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
Medford St 399 ZBA 2011-52 Jul 13, 2011 PDF icon MedfordSt399.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2011 - 4:15pm
Powder House Blvd 192 ZBA 2011-49 Jun 22, 2011 PDF icon PowderHouseBlvd192.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photos
PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2011 - 4:14pm
Pearl St 186 ZBA 2011-45 Jul 13, 2011 PDF icon PearlSt186.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2011 - 4:14pm
Sycamore St 67 ZBA 2011-51 Jul 13, 2011 PDF icon SycamoreSt67.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/19/2011 - 8:34am
Washington St 253 PB 2011-11 Jun 09, 2011 PDF icon WashingtonSt253.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon DRC 5-26-11
PDF icon Staff Report 06/30/2011 - 4:31pm
Holland St 167-169 ZBA 2011-46 Jun 22, 2011 PDF icon HollandSt167-169.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2011 - 11:37am
Summer St 68-70 ZBA 2011-41 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt68-70.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2011 - 11:36am
Bromfield Rd 61 ZBA 2011-42 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon BromfieldRd61.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:20am
Summer St 184 ZBA 2011-43 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt184.pdf PDF icon Attachments PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:20am
Summer St 168 ZBA 2011-44 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon SummerSt168.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:19am
Albion St 29R, Unit 1 ZBA 2011-40 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon AlbionSt29R.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:19am
Third Ave 21 ZBA 2011-39 Jun 08, 2011 PDF icon ThirdAve21.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Traffic Memorandum
PDF icon Level 1 Environmental Site Assessment
PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:17am
Porter St 23 ZBA 2011-09 May 18, 2011 PDF icon PorterSt23 _SP_ WWOP.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:17am
Porter St 23 ZBA 2011-05 May 18, 2011 PDF icon PorterSt23 _AA_ Denied.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/21/2011 - 10:16am
Elm St 187 ZBA 2011-30 May 04, 2011 PDF icon ElmSt187.pdf PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:17pm

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