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
Allen Ct 10 ZBA 2013-12 Aug 21, 2013 PDF icon AllenCt10.pdf PDF icon Plans 8.6.2013
PDF icon Plans 8.14.2013
PDF icon Plans 11.12.2013
PDF icon Landscape Plan
PDF icon Plans 12.17.2013
PDF icon Plans 12.20.2013
PDF icon Staff Report 01/22/2014 - 5:54pm
Hersey St 10 ZBA 2014-105 Nov 05, 2014 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:56am
Assembly Row Block 10 (133 Middlesex Ave) 10 PB 2011-10-R1 (7/2011) Sep 01, 2011 PDF icon MiddlesexAve133Block10 PB 2011-10-R7-2011)(Combined Final Decision).pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/25/2014 - 4:36pm
Cleveland Street 10 ZBA 2012-47 Jul 11, 2012 PDF icon ClevelandSt10.pdf PDF icon Plot & Proposed Plans
PDF icon Existing Plans
PDF icon Staff Report 08/02/2012 - 11:58am
Beech Street 10 ZBA 2016-19 Mar 16, 2016 PDF icon Decision 09/17/2018 - 4:21pm
Smith Ave 10 ZBA 2018-62 Jun 20, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan set for 6-20-2018 PDF icon Staff Report 08/02/2018 - 6:29pm
Oak St 10 ZBA 2018-19-R-1-6-2019 Mar 25, 2020 PDF icon Oak St 10 - Staff Report Revised.pdf 03/25/2020 - 3:55pm
Florence Terrace 10 ZBA 2016-130 Jan 18, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 11:25am
Linden Place 10 ZBA 2016-152 Apr 05, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 12:11pm
Landers St 10 ZBA 2015-08 Mar 04, 2015 PDF icon LandersSt10.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/18/2015 - 1:19pm
Columbus Ave 10 ZBA 2014-46 Jun 18, 2014 PDF icon ColumbusAve10.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 07/25/2014 - 11:37am
Assembly Row Block 10 (133 Middlesex Ave) 10 PB 2011-10 Jun 09, 2011 PDF icon MiddlesexAve133-SPSR-A Block10 complete decision.pdf PDF icon Open Space Plan
PDF icon Elevations, Floor Plan & Perspectives
PDF icon LEED Checklist
PDF icon G.III_. Architectural Plans and Elevations.pdf
PDF icon Civil Plans
PDF icon DRC 5-26-11
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Staff Report 6-23-11
06/25/2014 - 4:35pm
Webster Ave 10 ZBA 2013-98 Oct 15, 2014 PDF icon WebsterAve10.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Photo Sims
PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 10:00am
Beech St 10 ZBA 2014-25 May 07, 2014 PDF icon BeechSt10.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Stormwater Report
PDF icon Staff Report 06/27/2014 - 11:30am
Monmouth St 10 ZBA 2012-08 Feb 29, 2012 PDF icon MonmouthSt10.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 03/07/2012 - 11:23am

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