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
Highland Road 87 ZBA 2015-69 Sep 16, 2015 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/16/2015 - 11:16am
Highland Rd 87 ZBA #2015-69 Sep 16, 2015 PDF icon HighlandRd87.pdf PDF icon Planning Staff Report 09/30/2015 - 1:51pm
Broadway 872 CZC20-000086 Mar 23, 2021 PDF icon UDC Recommendation 04/21/2021 - 2:47pm
Beacon St 88 ZBA2007-65 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Line Street 88 ZBA 2017-73 Oct 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 7-20-17
PDF icon Compiled Plan Set 10-12-17
PDF icon 3D Sun Study 10-12-17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 12:14pm
Jaques St 88 ZBA 2015-64 Sep 16, 2015 PDF icon JaquesSt88.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 11/03/2015 - 3:28pm
Marshall Street 88 ZBA 2019-03 Mar 06, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans (12.10.18)
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 03/12/2019 - 12:01pm
Josephine 88 ZBA 2015-93 Feb 17, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 12:15pm
Dover 88 ZBA 2015-82 Dec 09, 2015 PDF icon Plans 11/18/2015
PDF icon Updated Plans 12/9/2015
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
12/04/2015 - 1:38pm
Irving Street 88 ZBA 2017-56 Aug 02, 2017 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 5-23-17
PDF icon Plan Set 7-19-17
PDF icon Plan Set 7-24-17
PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 12:15pm
Winslow Ave 88 ZBA 2016-82 Sep 07, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:27am
Pearl St 88 ZBA 2012-11 Feb 29, 2012 PDF icon PearlSt88.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/07/2012 - 11:23am
Dover St 88 ZBA 2015-82-E1-2-2018 Apr 04, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:32am
Electric 88-90 ZBA 2016-104 Oct 05, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 3:21pm
Line Street and Cooney Street 88-90 and 18 ZBA 2017-73-R1-3/19 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Basement Plan 3-13-19 PDF icon Staff Report 05/22/2019 - 10:50am

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