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
Union Sq 92 PB 2015-08 Aug 06, 2015 PDF icon UnionSq92.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08/20/2015 - 9:04am
Union Sq 73-75 PB 2012-06 Apr 05, 2012 PDF icon UnionSq73-75.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
04/24/2012 - 4:35pm
Union Sq 31-33 PB 2015-09 Aug 06, 2015 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 08.2015
PDF icon Staff Report 09.2015
09/03/2015 - 1:27pm
Union Sq 2 PB 2016-07 Jun 08, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Union Sq 2 - Partners Urgent Care - Updated Staff Report.pdf 09/21/2018 - 10:06am
Union Sq 38 PB 2013-20 Nov 07, 2013 PDF icon UnionSq38.pdf PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2013 - 10:15am
Union Square 71-72 CZC2020-00039 Apr 01, 2021 PDF icon Minor Site Plan Approval
PDF icon Site Plan Approval and Special Permit
PDF icon Approved Drawings
PDF icon Narrative
PDF icon Transportation Access Plan
PDF icon Transportation Impact Study
PDF icon Drawings
PDF icon Meeting Reports
PDF icon Staff Memo
PDF icon Supplemental Staff Memo
05/11/2021 - 4:26pm
Union Square CDSP PB 2017-21 Nov 20, 2017 PDF icon CDSP decision PDF icon Revised: USQ CDSP Application
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 1 – Applicant Info
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 3 – Civic Space
PDF icon Appendix 4 – T.I.S. & Mobility
PDF icon Revised: Lot & Block Plans
PDF icon Revised: Thoroughfare Plans
PDF icon Revised: Utility Exhibits
PDF icon Revised: Appendix 2 - Neighborhood Mtg
PDF icon Preliminary Staff Report - prior to testimony
PDF icon mobility management memo
PDF icon Memo in response to 11/20/17 questions
08/07/2018 - 8:58am
Union Square 71 DRA2020-0038 Jun 10, 2020 PDF icon Plans
PDF icon Context Elevations
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Variance Narrative
PDF icon Staff Memo 06/05/2020 - 10:25am
Upland Rd 26-28 ZBA 2018-43 Jun 06, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans for June 6 2018 ZBA
PDF icon Plot Plan
PDF icon Staff Report for 6-6-2018 08/03/2018 - 11:15am
Upland Road 56-58 ZBA 2019-32 May 01, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 12-19-18
PDF icon Plan Set 4-10-19
PDF icon Sketch 4-26-19
PDF icon Plan Set 4-29-19
PDF icon Staff Report
PDF icon Updated Staff Report
05/23/2019 - 12:07pm
Vernon St 60 ZBA 2019-38 Jun 19, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set - Initial Submission
PDF icon Updated Plan Set for June 19, 2019 ZBA
PDF icon Staff Report 07/08/2019 - 9:08am
Victoria 44 ZBA 2016-32 May 04, 2016 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 09/21/2018 - 10:07am
Victoria Street 43 ZBA 2019-20 Apr 17, 2019 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans Microsoft Office document icon Staff Report 04/25/2019 - 3:15pm
Village St 19-21 ZBA 2013-53 Aug 07, 2013 PDF icon VillageSt19-21.pdf PDF icon Plans 9.12.13
PDF icon Plans 7.19.13
PDF icon Staff Report 09/20/2013 - 9:49am
Village St 19-21 ZBA 2013-53-R1(11/2015) Dec 09, 2015 PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/04/2015 - 12:22pm

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