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.

Streetsort descending Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated date
Assembly Row Preliminary Master Plan Revision 3 0 PB 2006-59-R3(1/2016) Feb 18, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 1:41pm
Assembly Row Public Assembly Use - Assembly Sq Dr 201 PB2013-12 Jun 06, 2013 PDF icon AssemblySq201Combined.pdf PDF icon Plans - Site / Floor
PDF icon Plans - Tent 1 of 2
PDF icon Plans - Tent 2 of 2
PDF icon Staff Report 06/25/2014 - 2:13pm
Assembly Square - Grand Union Boulevard 500 (Block 5B) PB 2017-05 Apr 20, 2017 PDF icon ASQBlock5B-REVISED_Decision-CleanCopy (Combined).pdf PDF icon Index & Executive Summary
PDF icon Application & Waiver Request
PDF icon Open Space & Architectural
PDF icon Shadow Study & LEED Checklist
PDF icon Staff Report 08/06/2018 - 11:50am
Assembly Square - Grand Union Boulevard 500 (Block 5B) PB2017-05 Apr 06, 2017 PDF icon ASQ Block 5B (Combined).pdf PDF icon Architectural Drawings
PDF icon Shadow Study
PDF icon Index & Executive Summary
08/06/2018 - 11:49am
Auburn Ave 25 ZBA 2014-12 Apr 16, 2014 PDF icon AuburnAve25.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Updated Site Plan
PDF icon Parking Memo
PDF icon Auburn Ave 25 - Plot plan.pdf
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
06/27/2014 - 11:22am
Avon St 12 ZBA 2018-96 Aug 22, 2018 PDF icon Decision (WWOP) PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Plans - Updated for Aug 22, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 09/04/2018 - 3:19pm
Avon St 16 ZBA2009-35 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Avon St 59 ZBA 2011-25 May 04, 2011 PDF icon AvonSt59.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/06/2011 - 1:15pm
Avon St 26 ZBA 2013-35 Jun 05, 2013 PDF icon AvonSt26.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 06/14/2013 - 9:48am
Avon Street 28 ZBA 2018-01 Feb 14, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 12-27-17
PDF icon Plan Set 1-15-18
PDF icon Staff Report 08/07/2018 - 8:51am
Bailey Rd 65 ZBA 2019-27 Jun 05, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated for August 2019
08/26/2019 - 7:32pm
Bailey Road 99-101 ZBA 2016-17 Mar 16, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 3:48pm
Banks St. 17 ZBA 2015-107 Jan 06, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/17/2018 - 3:54pm
Banks Street 37 ZBA 2017-27 May 17, 2017 PDF icon Decision 08/06/2018 - 12:03pm
Bartlett St 15 ZBA 2019-73 Sep 12, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plot Plan PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 10-16-19
01/08/2020 - 4:25pm

Pages

Subscribe to Reports and Decisions