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
Thurston St 52 ZBA2008-62 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Thurston St 103 ZBA2007-64 05/20/2010 - 7:10am
Thurston St 84 ZBA 2016-153 Feb 01, 2017 PDF icon Plans 09/20/2018 - 7:32pm
Tower Ct 5 ZBA 2012-44 Jun 20, 2012 PDF icon TowerCt5.pdf PDF icon DRC 12-8-11
PDF icon DRC 1-26-12
PDF icon DRC 3-22-12
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Staff Report 08/02/2012 - 12:19pm
Tremont St 169 ZBA 2019-17 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 01/15/2020 - 9:14am
Trull St 74b ZBA 2014-110 Dec 10, 2014 PDF icon TrullSt74B.pdf PDF icon Plan PDF icon Staff Report 02/19/2015 - 9:57am
Trull Street 57 ZBA 2019-95 Oct 02, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-28-19 PDF icon Staff Report 10/24/2019 - 11:59am
Trull Street 45-47 ZBA 2018-86 Jul 18, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 6-6-18 PDF icon Staff Report 07/23/2018 - 2:20pm
Tufts Street 27 ZBA 2018-195 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Plan Set 12-8-18
PDF icon Plot Plan 3-10-09
PDF icon Plan Set 5-29-19
PDF icon Plan Set 6-10-19
PDF icon Plan Set 8-9-19
PDF icon Revision Narrative 8-9-19
PDF icon Sun Study 8-9-19
PDF icon Plan Set 9-17-19
PDF icon Revision Narrative 9-17-19
PDF icon Plan Set 9-25-19
PDF icon Plan Set 11-13-19
PDF icon Revision Narrative 11-14-19
PDF icon Plan Set 12-4-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report 9-4-19
PDF icon 2nd Updated Staff Report 10-2-19
PDF icon 3rd Updated Staff Report 11-20-19
PDF icon 4th Updated Staff Report 12-2-19
12/06/2019 - 11:21am
Tufts Street 31 P&Z20-004 Jun 23, 2021 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Application
PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Staff Memo 07/07/2021 - 4:12pm
Tyler St 14 ZBA 2015-39 Oct 21, 2015 PDF icon Staff Report 10/05/2015 - 5:00pm
Tyler St 8 ZBA 2011-80 Nov 16, 2011 PDF icon TylerSt8.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/02/2011 - 12:19pm
Tyler St / Park St 10 / 28 ZBA 2012-26 May 02, 2012 PDF icon TylerSt10-ParkSt28.pdf PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Parking Study
PDF icon Traffic Impact Assessment
PDF icon Parking Memorandum 5-10-12
PDF icon Staff Report 05/25/2012 - 8:48am
Tyler St / Park St 14 / 30 ZBA 2015-117 Mar 16, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2018 - 7:34pm
Union Sq 15 PB 2011-13 Sep 15, 2011 PDF icon UnionSq15.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 10/12/2011 - 12:02pm

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