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 Numbersort descending Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Orchard St 101 ZBA #2014-84 Jul 31, 2014 PDF icon OrchardSt101.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 9-11-14
PDF icon Plot Plan
11/06/2014 - 7:15pm
South street 101 (2 Earle; Building 1) ZBA 2018-21-E1-2/19 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision 09/13/2021 - 9:59am
South Street 101 (2 Earle; Building 1) ZBA2018-21 & PB2018-04 Apr 04, 2018 PDF icon Variance Decision
PDF icon SPSR Decision
PDF icon soil/environmental report
PDF icon site plan
PDF icon building elevations
PDF icon building plans
PDF icon site photos
PDF icon traffic impact study
PDF icon renderings
PDF icon sewer calculations
PDF icon context map
PDF icon shadow analysis
PDF icon physical model photos
PDF icon stormwater report
PDF icon narrative
PDF icon Variance Staff Report
PDF icon Preliminary SPSR Staff Report
PDF icon Final SPSR Staff Report
09/13/2021 - 9:51am
South Street 101 (2 Earle; Building 1) PB2018-04-R1-1018 Dec 13, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon previous decision
PDF icon site plan
PDF icon drawing set
PDF icon civil & landscape
PDF icon shadow analysis
PDF icon LEED scorecard
PDF icon transportation access
PDF icon mobility management
PDF icon project narrative
PDF icon staff report 09/13/2021 - 9:59am
South Street 101-153 MPSP2020-002 Sep 03, 2020 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Application
PDF icon Appendix
PDF icon 20.09.03 Planning Board Presentation
PDF icon 20.09.17 Planning Board Presentation
PDF icon 20200828 Staff Memo
PDF icon 20201009 Staff Memo
04/07/2021 - 3:18pm
Morrison Avenue 102 ZBA 2016-112 Nov 07, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 2:51pm
Heath Street 102 ZBA 2018-06 Mar 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision (WWOP) PDF icon Plan Set 12-2-18 PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:34am
Broadway 102-104 PB 2019-12 Apr 18, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 3-6-19 PDF icon Staff Report 05/22/2019 - 10:46am
Broadway 102-104 PB 2014-27 Aug 11, 2014 PDF icon Broadway102-104.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 11/24/2014 - 3:42pm
Washington Street 103 ZBA 2017-53 Jul 12, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set 08/06/2018 - 11:50am
Washington 103 ZBA 2017-53-E1-08-19 Nov 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Applicant Statement for Extension PDF icon Staff Report 01/08/2020 - 4:20pm
Pearson Avenue 103 ZBA 2017-104 Oct 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 9-11-17
PDF icon Plan Set 10-11-17
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
08/07/2018 - 12:52pm
Kidder Ave 103 ZBA 2015-92 Nov 18, 2015 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 11/13/2015 - 12:21pm
Belmont St 103 ZBA2009-05 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Thurston St 103 ZBA2007-64 05/20/2010 - 7:10am

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