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
Beacon St 94 ZBA2009-46 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Hudson St 95 ZBA 2013-78 Dec 11, 2013 PDF icon HudsonSt95.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 01/22/2014 - 6:09pm
Kidder Ave 95 ZBA2008-39 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Cross Street 95-97 ZBA 2018--05 Mar 21, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Fence PDF icon Staff Report 08/03/2018 - 11:26am
Wheatland Street 96 ZBA 2018-175 May 15, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-11-18
PDF icon Survey 5-15-18
PDF icon Plan Set 4-25-19
PDF icon Plan Set 5-30-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
07/02/2019 - 11:17am
Cross St 96 ZBA 2015-83 Oct 21, 2015 PDF icon CrossSt96.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans 11/04/15
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 11/04/15 Updated
11/16/2015 - 2:47pm
Prospect St 97 ZBA 2013-57 Sep 04, 2013 PDF icon ProspectSt97.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Perspectives
PDF icon Parking Memo
PDF icon Staff Report 09/16/2013 - 11:40am
Highland Road 98 ZBA 2016-113 Nov 02, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/19/2018 - 1:36pm
Highland Road 98 ZBA 2016-113 Nov 02, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/19/2018 - 1:38pm
Highland Road 98 ZBA 2016-113 Nov 02, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/19/2018 - 1:40pm
Central Street 98 ZBA 2016-24 Apr 06, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/18/2018 - 12:13pm
Dover St 99 ZBA 2012-01 Feb 01, 2012 PDF icon DoverSt99.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/06/2012 - 4:37pm
Dover St 99 ZBA 2012-40-R1-8/2012 Sep 19, 2012 PDF icon DoverSt99_R1-0812_.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/05/2012 - 10:40am
Dover St 99 ZBA 2012-40 Jun 06, 2012 PDF icon DoverSt99 _#2012-40_.pdf PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Proposed Facade
PDF icon Proposed Interior Plan
PDF icon Staff Report 10/26/2012 - 9:15am
Wallace St 99 ZBA 2014-68 Aug 20, 2014 PDF icon WallaceSt99.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/28/2014 - 9:27am

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