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 Number Case Number First Hearing Date Decisions Other Reports Updated datesort descending
Village Terrace 2 ZBA 2018-132 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans (10.23.18) PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2018 - 12:07pm
Beacon Street 292-294 ZBA 2018-118 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-2-18 PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2018 - 12:08pm
Linwood Street 161 ZBA 2015-49-R2-10/18 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-21-18 PDF icon Staff Report 11/19/2018 - 12:09pm
Broadway 112 PB 2016-11-R1-10/18 Nov 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 11/26/2018 - 3:53pm
Dawes Street (Cambridge Crossing/NorthPoint Parcel EF) 250 PB2017-23-MA1-0818 Nov 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set PDF icon staff report 11/26/2018 - 3:57pm
Cambridge Crossing (formerly NorthPoint) Neighborhood Development Plan PB 2014-29-MA3-0818 Nov 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon application
PDF icon PB presentation
PDF icon staff report 11/26/2018 - 4:03pm
Hillside Park 7 ZBA 2018-115 Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 8-29-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/03/2018 - 3:32pm
Pearson Avenue 68 ZBA 2018-134 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Pearson Ave 68-70.pdf PDF icon Plan Set 9-10-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/04/2018 - 1:06pm
Cameron Ave 45 ZBA 2016-81-R1-(08/18) Oct 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Staff Report 12/06/2018 - 9:43am
Somerville Avenue 311 PB2018-16 Nov 08, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon plan set PDF icon staff report 12/06/2018 - 3:05pm
Oxford Street 134-136 ZBA 2018-155 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 10-10-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 10:18am
Spring Hill Terrace 7 ZBA 2018-153 Nov 28, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set 11-7-18
PDF icon Survey 9-25-18
PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 10:20am
Gilman St 27 ZBA 2018-112 Aug 03, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plans PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 10:21am
Alewife Brook Pkwy 395 ZBA 2018-40 Nov 07, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Plan Set
PDF icon Plans for November 28, 2018
PDF icon Updated Plans for November 28, 2018
PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 10:22am
Roland Street / Inner Belt Rd 56 / 0 & 20 PB 2018-18 Nov 29, 2018 PDF icon Decision PDF icon Subdivision Plan 10-10-18 PDF icon Staff Report 12/12/2018 - 11:13am

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